How long you been doing it?

September 12, 2010 at 2:58 pm 1 comment

At some point, when two comics are getting to know each other, one will inevitably ask the other one, “How long you been doing it?”  It’s kind of like asking someone what their major is or what they do for a living.  It’s a getting-to-know-you type of question.  But, of course, it’s wrought with judgment thusly:

If the comedian really sucks, and they’ve been doing it 10 years, you think to yourself, “Holy shit, 10 years and you still suck? What happened? I’m so glad I’m not you.”

If the comedian is amazingly excellent and they’ve been doing it five months, you think to yourself, “Holy shit, five months and you’re already that good already?  Damn you!” And no matter how good they are, no matter how they shred an audience into strips, if they’ve only being doing it five months, they’re still considered a newborn.  There’s a kind of paying-your-dues that they still have to endure. Where is the cut-off for earned industry respect?  I’m not entirely sure.

The thing that I always want to ask is:  How intensive was the time that you’ve been doing stand-up?  Assuming natural talent is equal, if you’ve gotten on stage once every six months for the last 10 years, yeah, you might still suck.  And if you’ve been getting up three times a night for the last five months, yeah, you might be really really good. A better question is: How many times have you been on stage in the time you’ve been doing stand-up?  I’m not sure if every comedian knows that number but I know mine (and I have no idea how it compares, incidentally).

I’ve been doing it just over three years — still a baby in the eyes of the industry.  But the very first time I ever got on stage alone to tell original jokes to a live audience was one night two years before that.  Should I count that?  If that’s the case, I can legitimately answer five years.  But I don’t count that. I count the day I said, “I want to be an stand-up comedian,” and quivered on stage for the first time — and then started getting up regularly.

One time, I asked a comedian how long she’d been doing it and she simply answered, “I don’t answer that.”  On the one hand, that’s a little snotty, but on the other hand, she was saying that her comedy should speak for itself.  If she’s good, she’s good, and it shouldn’t matter how long she’s been doing it.  It’s a good point.  But I still wanted to know, y’know, to judge her and stuff.

Advertisements

Entry filed under: Carrie's life, Observations, The business, Tricks of the trade.

How the show goes. Have car, will drive.

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Brian Baron  |  September 12, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    As an older person thrusting myself in to this scene, 2 yrs ago, time in the field seems to be a commensurate with level of talent. It is also dependent on where each artist finds their audience . I don’t know if being on the road is where I want to spend my time, but that is also “paying dues”. If we narrowed the definition to just “stand-up” then time is really the only measurement, because you don’t go from “I’m gonna do stand up comedy” to headlining or getting paid without making a conscience decision to work thru the “system”. So if someone wont be honest about how long they have been at it, it tends to mean they have either become complacence about where they are or are comfortable with their level of talent.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Come see me!

Next shows:

Thursday, December 1st
9:30
Ed Sullivan On Acid Comedy Show
The Duplex
61 Christopher St
New York, NY

Sunday, December 11th
8:30
Jazz on the Park

Categories

Recent Posts

September 2010
S M T W T F S
« Aug   Oct »
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  

%d bloggers like this: