By: Danny Rouhier
You've heard them. You've been at a show when they are bitching about not being able to get on stage. You've heard them complaining about how a certain guy books his show and how it isn't fair. You know who I'm talking about. It's the guys who think they are entitled to something simply because they've told their co-workers and friends 'I do comedy'.
The people I'm talking about are not necessarily bad people. My argument is that they just don't realize how selfish and short sighted it is to bitch about how someone books their show or complain about not being able to get up. Someone might post a counter to this about how comics need an opportunity to get better and it isn't fair if the bookings they want constantly are going to the more established comics while they are left to wonder why.
To quote Jack Nicholson from the Departed: 'No one gives it to you. You gotta take it.'
[hit the jump, bitch]
Let me be clear about something. Performing comedy is, inherently, a dependent art form. In order for one to perform somewhere successfully, a comic is dependent on several factors (booking, venue, audience). At no time, from a guy who is going on for the first time all the way to Brian Regan/Bil Burr, is a comic entitled to anything. He/she should consider it a blessing every single time all the right things happen to allow for a successful performance. It's even more of a blessing once all those external factors allow you to make a living doing something as trivial as standing on a stage, speaking into a microphone at a glorified diner/bar. Comedy clubs make money by selling food and booze. It's nice when they take an active interest in the comedy community by developing and showcasing talent, but it certainly isn't the norm. We as comics need to remember that there are more ways than ever for people to spend their entertainment dollar. We often overestimate the market for live comedy. It's way too easy for consumers to get their entertainment from a myriad of mediums for us to presume that people will just show up at the venue we will be performing at without any work being put in.
Having recently left the DC scene and moved to New York City, there are a number of differences. The most glaring departure I have seen thus far is that the majority of comics up here seem to understand the idea that you have to create your own breaks. If you want stage time, start a show. Your level of involvement is up to you. You can do 0 work, have your show last a couple months, get it canceled and start anew. You can put in a ton of work, build it as best you can, still have it canceled and move on. The point here is that I bet that most of the guys who are pissed off at what they perceive as a small group getting all the work, haven't done near as much work as they think they have. How many shows have you started? Have you gotten a room going so that you can exchange stage time with someone else who has a room? Have you put in work pounding the pavement finding a a great venue where you can eventually get comics some $ for performing? Have you taken it upon yourself to stop waiting for someone to give you something and gone out after it yourself?
No one is responsible for getting you stage time. It's up to you. Instead of bitching about not being able to get on a show, go make a better show. Take responsibility for your own destiny and stop bitching.