Jealousy, bitterness, and life after the Half Hour

Two recent thoughtful pieces by comics reflecting on standup:

What Jealousy And Bitterness Can Do For Your Comedy Career by Andy Sandford.

There is very little value in everyone knowing what level you deserve to be on as soon as you have reached that level. You shouldn’t want to get seen by industry people just because you “can” hold your own with the big dogs…it is much better to get as good as you possibly can under the radar so that when you do get seen, you blow everyone’s mind and are more than ready for whatever big break that might come your way. No one owes you anything for your hard work. The only benefit of your hard work is how good it has made you. This is why “years” in stand up almost means nothing. People progress at different rates, and sometimes someone has a breakthrough many years in; or maybe it just took a while for people to be able to appreciate their style. If you have the time to make a note of every thing that some undeserving peer got, then you have the time to put a little more effort into your act, which is the only thing that speaks for you, or should speak for you.

And Ben Kronberg wrote this Facebook post about the year he's had following his Comedy Central Half Hour.

I did a Half Hour last year and am agent-less and manager-less. I booked less colleges this year than I ever have. The guy at the St. Louis funny bone won't return my emails along with a slew of other bookers and gatekeepers who seem to only want to deal with agents or at least not me. I feel the disparity between the singular success and the longevity it should be contributing to. It's like getting married, having a great wedding with lots of love and hugs and gifts, but you get home and you still have all your flaws and insecurities, and the constant nag of that thing that should make it all right, but doesn't...But it's really just the thoughts that sting. The reality is beautiful. I got to perform in Korea and am recording my first album and my mom got to watch me perform the other night. I've used Facebook to correspond and get gigs I never would have known about or thought possible. I'm a comedian. I'm a fucking comedian. I am a lucky fuck to even be able to do this ridiculous thing. WE are lucky fucks. Wake up everyday and look at yourself and say: "I am a lucky fuck." Cuz you are.

Both are solid pieces worth a read.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This probably goes without saying, but Pressfield's argument for looking at yourself and your craft Territorially, rather than Hierarchically, was huge in helping me deal with my feelings of jealousy towards my fellow comics.

[Paraphrasing] We learn to work competitively in school, where the person with the fattest ass or highest marks takes the cake. When the numbers get too big, however, our ability to make sense of where we stand compared to everyone else falls apart.

He argues that we should create Territorially, in that we focus on mastering the craft and on channeling our muse.

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