Get Out There

March 30th, 2007

“My brother wants to become a comedian and I just wanted to know how do you get yourself out there so important people know that you tell funny jokes.”

Sister

Liam’s Answer

Most comedians will tell you that the key ingredients to comedy success are hard work, perseverance and dedication. Go to the try-out nights at your local comedy venue. Get heckled and jeered. Learn from the experience and don’t invite your parents to any more gigs. Rehearse your material. Revise your material. Perform as often as you can. Work your way up the comedy ladder.

There’s more to it than that. There’s a secret ingredient: black mail.

You want top billing at your local comedy night? Just take photos of the owner serving drinks to an underage girl (there is a time when little sisters come in handy after all).

You want a good review? Just take the reviewer out after the show, get them drunk and offer them the negatives of the photos and the penguin.

You want your own show the Comedy Central? Get Dave Chappelle to retire and hand his slot to you by threatening to reveal hi secret love-child with Ellen DeGeneres.

Comedy is a dirty, nasty game. The smiles are just to hid the grimaces of pain from the knives in your back.

Chris’s Answer

You have nailed the problem of fame. To get famous, people need to know you and what you do, but before anyone will pay attention to you, you need to be famous.

There are a great many ways you can become famous, but the easiest way is to be the first to do something. Everyone knows Charles Lindbergh was the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic, that Sir Edmund Hillary was the first person to reach the summit of Mt Everest, and Neil Armstrong was the first person to walk on the moon.

Unfortunately, all the easy stuff is done, and you don’t want to become famous as the first person to die from third degree burns with attempting to light his own farts at the opening ceremony of an Olympic Games. That won’t lead to a comedy career for two reasons. 1) You’ll be dead, and 2) You’ll never be able to top it with anything funnier.

Instead, you need to do something that’s memorable, worthwhile and groundbreaking. I suggest your brother finds a cure for cancer. At his Nobel prize acceptance speech, while the world is watching and hanging on his every word, he can launch into a few jokes about airplane food, do a few impersonations from the Simpsons, and finish up with a kick-ass routine on what a shitty disease bowel cancer is (or was).

He will have to be careful though. Fame doesn’t necessarily follow you from one thing to another. Just because you’re famous in your family for getting drunk at large gatherings and telling rude jokes doesn’t mean you can transfer this to a successful career as a comedian. Just look at Russell Crowe, who leveraged his fame as an actor into to an unsuccessful recording career, or George W Bush, who leveraged his fame as Governor of Texas into a career as an unsuccessful President.

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