I own a company called Jittery Citizens. We specialize in providing comedy training to individuals and to companies. The question I get asked most in this line of business is: ”What does it take to make it in the industry?”
The answer is easy…it’s all about your willingness to pursue your dreams at any cost. How willing are you to do whatever it takes to make it as a comedian?
Here are 3 Character traits that you can adopt in order to become a professional comedian.
1. Confidence and Belief in your own talent
Being funny and making people laugh is one of the most competitive jobs in the world. With the advent of Netflix and “the comedy special” 10 of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of comedians are doing whatever it takes to get their one hour recording in the hand of network executives.
So how do you set yourself apart from the rest of the lot?
It starts with a total belief that what you are saying and the way in which you are saying it is important enough for people to want to listen to you and moves them enough for them to laugh. If you don’t have this, you may fade into the sea of average comedians in our saturated industry.
So how do you get this confidence?
Years and years of hard work, practice and patience.
You need to work at your 10 000 hours in comedy.
Take courses, find a mentor, write every day and perform as in as many shows as humanly possible.
You’ve heard of the term “dying” or “bombing” on stage.
In comedy, when the audience doesn’t laugh at a your jokes, you literally wish the floor would swallow you up whole instead of surviving for the eternity that becomes a 5 minute set..
Although “dying” feels so terrible, it is here that the real growth and learning occurs.
You will learn so much more about comedy by dying in front of a room and doing whatever it takes to win the audience back, than if you are winning all the time.
If you can win back a room, you can achieve anything.
The willingness to “work a joke” night after night, knowing that the audience may not find you funny and you may be performing to crickets, is the sort of determination you need to make it in this industry.
It is through constant failure and the willingness to get back up there night after night despite it, that makes for a successful comedian.
3. No need for approval from others
If we are caught up constantly needing the approval and praise of others, we are unlikely to ever truly express ourselves.
Worrying about what others think of ourselves is such a limiting space to operate from.
If we are writing comedy fearing what other people may say or think about us or not wanting to explore a topic in case we may offend someone, is just so limiting.
In order to stand out, we need to find our uniqueness and show that to the rest of the world.
Great comedy has a solid point of view behind it and if we are always concerned with what other people think we may not want to expose our beliefs because of a fear of rejection.
This sort of negative thinking and useless worrying keeps us small.
There is no way to make it in this industry without having strong opinions that you can express fully.
Being silly and showing up as who you really are is key to being a successful comedian.
So whether you believe you were born with an innate talent to make others laugh, ask yourself 4 questions:
Are you willing to put in the work?
Do you believe you have what it takes to be funny for a living?
Will you get up night after night to work on material?
Are you willing to let go of a need to have the approval of others?
If the answer to all of these questions are ‘yes’ you probably are ready pursue this type of career.