I came across a forum of standup comedians sharing this advice from Comedian Ari Shaffir on some basic tips of how to succeed as a creator: https://youtu.be/ThD8nQA9Vpw
It’s a 4 hour very rambly (he was a bit high) podcast but I found some interesting tidbits in there.
Part 1: https://mrsteinberg.com/indie-creators/
Part 2: https://mrsteinberg.com/indie-creators-part-2/
Part 3: https://mrsteinberg.com/indie-creators-part-3/
Part 4: https://mrsteinberg.com/indie-creators—part-4/
How do you deal with an overconfidence situation with a consecutive amount of sets that go good, and then you’re saying the old guys are telling you what you do good, and what’s the best, and what they like the most?
It’s kind of like that hype fear, like, OK, everybody’s saying I’m good, I’m saying I’m good, I’m saying I’m good. Why am I not getting this other stuff? Being humble will make you better than anything else, knowing that you’re not good. Every six months to a year, I would go by, and I would look back at where I was, and go, man, I sucked back then. But now I’m good. And then another year would pass by, and I’d be like, I was way off. But now I’m good. And then another year would pass by, and I’m like, why do I keep doing this? I was terrible back then, again. And then eventually I realized where I am right now, and I feel good, I feel like I’m good, me, a year from now, will look back on me and say, you were making a lot of mistakes there. And so then just knowing that is like, I’ll try to be as good as I can, but also know that I’m not that talented yet, I don’t have the fucking technique down, and I will get better at it. Yeah. So when older guys look at you, they’re going to look at someone who’s a beginner. This would be in anything, in anything, not just in comedy. So take yourself out of it. Do that mushroom thing where you take yourself out of it. If someone would look at it, like if some, Patrick Ewing used to teach young guys at Georgetown how to be the center, because he just knew more. He had faced Akim Olajuwon 50 times. And Shaquille O’Neal, he just knew how to do this better than them, and they would listen to him. And he would just say, I’m going to be the center. And they would listen to him. And they felt like they were good. They were really good. They were starting centers at Georgetown. That was Alonzo Morning at the Kembe Motombo. They would listen to the old guy. So the old guys, when they look at you, they will look at someone who is a beginner, and they will see a lot of mistakes. And you guys feel really funny. And you are, but you’re making these mistakes that they can see really easily. So if any of those people give you some advice, look at it twice before you reject it. Really think about it. When Owen Smith passes by you on stage after you bring him up, and after you finish and you bring him up, if he says something in my ear, if he goes, hey, whatever he said, I am listening to that every single time. Because that guy has proven to only give me constructive criticism. Every time for years. And he gives me stuff that I never thought of that angle. He doesn’t tell you what to write or jokes. He just tells you directions to go. And it’s so helpful. Your friends will do that for you if you ask them for it. But if you just want them to tell you you’re good, they’ll do that too. They’ll see someone who’s not open to getting constructive criticism. And they won’t give it to you.
With the Monsters Tour, what were some of the things you did right and some things you guys did wrong? Because a lot of people at my experience level are starting to do their own little produce.
We didn’t have any draw. No one would come to see us. It was pre-Twitter, I believe. So we probably had a few fans through the whole week. But mostly, there was no way to reach them. Just Facebook fan page. So without a draw, no one’s going to come basing the idea of we’re doing something crazy and different. So if you put it on a tour, put it on for the joy of just going on a tour and doing these shitty gigs for the sake of doing them. Outside of LA and New York, there is more time to get, like longer sets to get. Here, it’s what’s normal? Seven? Six? What’s open mics? Three. Three? Three to seven. Three to five, yeah. So it’s nice once it’s so short. It’s nice sometimes to stretch your legs and be able to do 20, 25, and put all your material together and see how it builds, do segues and stuff. And learn how to build a set. But the more you do that, the better you’ll get. So yeah, take the opportunity to get yourself the experience a little bit. As long as you’re breaking even here, my thought was always, if I can go MC at a DC improv, $50 a set, and my flight costs me $300, and I can do six shows, why would I not go there? So it’s break even. Do six shows there in four days, 15 minutes a show, 30 minutes on Friday and Saturday, because it’s two sets, and I’ll break even there. I’m living poor here, so what’s the difference where I am as long as I get the material? Not forever, but for like a week or two, I try it. But no, if it fails, then there’s nobody to do it. How do you feel about text blasts and email blast shows where the club just kind of blows it out to whoever’s been there just to pull money from the club? Yeah, those make for shittier shows, but that’s not really what you guys got to worry about. So now let me tell you a few things that some people wrote me when I asked for this.
Madrigal said this. He said, watching good comics is just as important as doing sets, which I’ll sort of agree with.
What’s the argument? I don’t know about just as important as practice, but watching them is definitely good. Watching good comics, what they do, you will learn from them from being around them. You will get better just by being in their presence. That’s what hurt me about that guy, Irwin Mike, in Northern Virginia, when he wasn’t that good, because he wasn’t used to seeing good comics. That’s how I felt about it. He was used to seeing shitty comics. So his bar was here, and my bar was the best comics in the world are here. Bill Burr, all these guys, I get to watch them every day. I was like, that’s who I want to be. So if I fall short of that, I’m still above this bar. So watching them definitely helps. But if it’s time to go do a set in the belly room, if I can go to a set in the belly room and stop watching Burr was there. Jim Jeffery said he does these inputs to do more material because he did a TV show that Anthony Card was on. And after he got done with his set, the guy that was the producer of Rock Right Now, if you can’t use Anita, it was the same exact material you did 10 years ago when you were on the show. They could have did any of it. Yeah, same show. Yeah. Don’t let your material own you. It’s so easy. At that level, too, there’s guys, there’s headliner guys who do the same hour, exact, start, finish. It owns them. But guys like Don Moreira keep writing. He’ll have some jokes that are old, but he’ll keep writing and adding to the fucking body of work.
So here’s what Al said. Set realistic goals and go get them. Realistic goals.
I’ll agree with that. Stuff you can do. I want to write a script. Or I want to write a bit about this. Or I want to try to get into some one night a week room, but not the best in the world. Realistic goals. And then that’s what you have to strive for, getting into that. So it’s like, no, what do I have to do to get it? And then you get it. Cool, next goal. What do I want to do? You know what I mean? Whatever it is. Write an outline for a script or something. Or shoot a YouTube video. No crazy explosions or anything. Just a realistic goal. You can get there. And it’ll make you get somewhere. It’s like, I have to have this in mind instead of just like, I don’t know, keep doing comedy until something hits. That’s harder.
Here’s another one that my friend wrote. It was have sex with audience members, not other comedians.
But here’s the deal. You’re going to fuck other comedians. You’re going to. The only advice I can give you is this. When you break up with other comedians, handle it well. You will get yourself into a lot of trouble. No one else will care when you broke up with that person. They won’t want to take a side. They don’t give a shit. They didn’t care that you were going on in the first place. They might have wanted to fuck her. You know what I mean? Now you’re fucking her for like six months or a year. And suddenly when you break up, you want everyone else to treat her like crap. Like, why? She was just a friend in our scene. They’re not going to. They get bored and annoyed when you start asking them to do it. So when you break up, do your best. Once you know it’s broken up, just be friends with that person, even if it’s uncomfortable. Let’s just be cool so nobody has to worry about this. And then a few months later, your feelings will go away completely, and you’ll just be friendly with them. And then you can fuck some other female comic. They’re water on her face. They’re water on her face. Yeah, don’t do that. It just gets you in trouble. So just fucking try to. I wouldn’t say don’t date Thomas. That’s who you’re around. Everybody dates people from work. You see the same people over mics. You start hitting it off, you get feelings for somebody, just fucking go for it. Why not? Just know it’s going to end. That’s why they have no interoffice romances at workplaces. Because not when it’s working, that’s fine. It’s when it breaks up. That’s when everybody gets in trouble. That’s when every comedy club manager gets fired, when they’re dating a waitress, when they break up, when they start fucking another waitress, and they all get mad at them. Break up well. That’s my only advice on that. Or only date female comics that aren’t good joke writers, just in case after. I’m not going to matter. Still, all right.
Now this my agent wrote me, my personal appearance agent. He said he gets packages every day from up and coming comics telling him why I should sign them.
Some people put whole packages together with color head shots and DVDs and letters. And these are from people who have 15 or 20 minutes. A personal appearance agent is not going to represent you if you have that much time. You have to at least get to where you are killing for an hour. And then you can worry about that stuff. But otherwise, they’re not going to do me. What can he do? He’s good. What can he do for you? Get your feature work? He’s not going to. Nobody’s going to waste their time getting you $500 worth of work for $50 for themselves. That is a phone call. It’s the same amount of phone call time it takes to get Pablo Francisco booked for $20,000, which he will get two grand for. So the same amount of time he’ll get $50 for you. It’s not going to happen. That’s stuff you’ve got to do on your own. So don’t overshoot your mark. Kind of know where you are and who you are. Take the acting classes now. Start working on the writing now. Because at some point, when somebody says, yeah, I’d love to represent you for literary agency or acting, you already better be a good actor. You can’t be like, cool, let me get into an acting class, and I’ll talk to you in three years. Do that shit now. If you can’t afford it, you can’t afford it. But you can afford to write a script. You can write it on your computer. Absolutely. If you don’t have a computer, library. There’s not that much that can hold you back. Anything that is, if you don’t have a computer, let’s just say, well, those guys all have final drafts and a computer. That’s just a hurdle. And nobody gives a fuck. All they care about is Aziz Ansari has three scripts. They don’t care what he had to overcome. So go to the library and write it. Do whatever you can now. So when they ask you, actually ask you for a clip or something to show them, you can actually show them. That’s another thing. I don’t know how it is now, but when I started, you had to send them tapes. Somebody was like, that was really good. Send me a tape. And I would never have a tape ready. I would always have to, OK, I’ll make one. And then it wouldn’t come out good enough. You can’t tape anything in here. You can’t record anything there. It’s just so shitty. But what I should have done was just have a good tape. So when somebody says, hey, that was really good, I’ll be cool, I’ll run it off for you and send it to you tomorrow. And then make a better one later. So as after six months passes and you see that guy was a shitty comic, you don’t want to send that tape out anymore, or that clip out anymore, make another one. So just keep updating it. If you’re in a good room, fucking set up a camera. And you can have something. You don’t have to make it public and have everyone see it, but when somebody says, I’d love to see some of your stuff, when you become friends with those people, when they do like you, and they say, yeah, send me something. I’d love to talk to you about comedy, then you can show them you have it ready. You have head shots done. You have a script that you already wrote, or a packet, or an idea that you’re like, here’s what I can already take you. I’ve been working on my own. Because you’re going to have to work on your own anyway. So get that shit done ahead of time. There’s another thing.
Agents and managers will say this. It was so frustrating to me. They’ll see you. They’ll think it was funny. They’ll say, that was great. Let’s stay in touch.
Let’s talk. And I always want to be like, what the fuck does that mean? Do you want me to call you in a week? What does that mean? Are you going to come see me once a month? Tell me what you want me to do. And it means this. It means that they’re not ready right then to be like, I have to sign you. I don’t want anyone else to do anything with you. But it means like, dude, I like what you have. I like what you did on stage. Let’s continue to be friendly with each other. And as you start having something going on, I’ll start trying to help you with it. But until you do, there’s nothing they can do. You know what I mean? I can’t call a plumber if I’m homeless. It won’t matter. There’s nothing you can do for me. But once you have a sink that you’re not renting, that you actually own, that’s when you can get a plumber. That’s when he can help you. It’s the same as them. So just stay in touch with them. That means call them every few weeks or a month. And just say, hey, what’s up? How you doing? Talk about something in common, like a fucking sport that you guys have in common. I used to know this guy that I always talked to him about Bakersfield, about corn. Because he was from Bakersfield, and he knew them then. It was an easy way to talk, just some way to have conversation. And then you can slip in. And by the way, I wrote this script. I have some showcase coming up. I’m trying to get to Montreal. And let them decide if they want to, oh, let me make a call for you. That’s what it means, stay in touch. They’re not going to keep looking at you and try to pluck you up and put you on a star. That doesn’t happen. So yeah, if they say stay in touch, try not to get frustrated by that. Try to stay in touch. Not like your best friends, but you do that theme, right? Yeah, I mean, I don’t have an agency or anything. But you’re friendly with people. You’ve been putting movies. But yeah, they come around and they say, hey, man, let me know when you’re on again. And I’ll just email them. Not every day. Yeah, but we have a good show. We have a good show. A good one? I’ll say, hey, I’m at the factory. Form a list of these people. When you meet somebody who you know can help you, ask somebody, who was that guy? Oh, he’s head of CAA. Let’s just say something like that. Or whatever you need at your level, like, really? Hopefully you’re already cool with them. Write down their name on a piece of paper at home and keep track of who they are. And then email them if they give you their card. Put it in there and try to remember what they look like. So next time you see them, you don’t just go like, oh, hey, man, they don’t remember them, which is what I always did. Just say, hey, Matt, how you been? And they’ll be friendly with you. Know that shit. That’s what Whitney did every time. I guarantee she had some board that she would like, OK, this person is that. They work there. And she just picked the picture up. And she would memorize it. So when she saw them, she’d be cool around them. And then they want to work with you. What? Just the sign up note. Mike is out. So if someone needs that, you can sign up. When do they pick it? Is it the order? No, it’s 6 to 6.20. OK. Just a head bell. All right. Good idea. All right, let me get the rest of these notes that people wrote me. OK, here’s what he said, though, about the 1,520 minutes. People are spending money in the wrong places. You don’t need to make it. Yeah, why not? Just go get the list and bring it in here. No, put it back outside. You can’t do that, right? It’s still like 50 people. Yeah, he said you’re spending money on doing the wrong thing, getting this packet together with everything really nice, professionally done. It’s like, if you have 15 minutes, you’re just wasting that money. Get Final Draft instead.
And this is what he said, too, which I’ll sort of half agree with, stop showcasing before they’re ready. It moves you to the bottom of the list.
You tank it in front of the whole industry. So if you do some great showcase, and I’m sure I got some of that, that just will happen. Nothing is like your final break, either way. That’s another thing. But if you do some shitty showcase in front of everyone’s there from the Montreal Comedy Festival, and all these managers and agents are there, yeah, they’re not going to think you’re good for a while. And you’re like, no, it’s just a bad set. Too bad. They’re just not going to think you’re good for a while. You’re going to have people thinking that. You’re also going to kill, better than you normally do, in front of somebody, and they’re going, wow, that was really good. Don’t tell them, oh, I don’t normally do this well. Just, you know, some people are going to think you’re better, some people are going to think you’re worse, because of what you did. So if you go up in front of them, being a one or two year comic when there are seven and eight year comics on the show, even though you think you’re as good or better than them, because that’s normal for you to think that, try to be somewhat realistic and go, if I go on here, I will look like the most rookie guy. And is that something you want to do in front of all those people? Now generally, I don’t think it moves you to the bottom of the list. I think generally they just go, ugh, and then they’ll forget about you pretty instantly. So luckily there’s that. For shitty people, they don’t remember. But they write notes down. They write your name down, what material you did and how good you were. And then when somebody calls them, this is my friend Rachel Rushdust, who works at the CIA now, who never represented me, but she goes, if somebody calls her and says, what do you think about Dean Del Ray? She’ll be like, give me a second. She’ll go to her fucking file and she’ll open up the Dean Del Ray file or have her notes and be like, oh yeah, he was like this, he does a joke about this, he’s kind of this and this on stage. She’ll just say it. She’ll remember him. So they’ll write those notes about you. So if you start letting them write notes before you’re ready, then all the notes are going to be bad notes. And you don’t really want that. Same as later in your career, if you just get all coked up before you do a set, they’re going to write those notes down too. And eventually you’re just going to become a product of all the times they’ve seen you. So it sucks when you have a bad set, maybe you just broke up with somebody and now that’s the reason you have a bad set. But the bottom line is they don’t know or care. They’ll never hear your excuse.
So if you do get up in front of them, what’s the best case scenario and worst case scenario from doing anything?
Realistic scenarios. I mean obviously you can go to a set and somebody could shoot the place up, but that’s not something you have to think about. But like if you do some horrible joke, some really dark joke in front of these type of people or if you do some prank, it’s like what’s the best you can get out of it? If it might just be a couple of chuckles, then is that worth the possible negative of this company, Comedy Central, never seeing you again? Is that worth it? If you get a couple of chuckles, sure, that’s okay, you win. But if you don’t, what are you giving up for the chance? Now if you’re doing something awesome and it might turn into something tremendous, then the possible positive is really good. So it might be worth it. But think about those things. Comedy Central always said no rape jokes, no AIDS jokes, no saying the word bitch. You can say shit and fuck, but no bitch. And the reason was because they were run by women and homosexuals and that’s why they didn’t like the word bitch over the word shit, even though bitch is a better word to say, curse word wise. And I did some rape joke and I was like well it would be funny anyway. And she told me, she goes what could you have gained from that? That they would have thought okay, like that’s good. Possible loss, they won’t see you for the next couple of years. And that’s what happened. Like we told you no rape jokes, do it anyway. So it’s like why take the chance if there’s no reason. If I had another joke to replace it with, unless I was like no, I really, really want to do this, I really want to make this commentary on society and right now is the right time, then okay. But if it’s not, it’s just for the sake of a couple of chuckles, then why are you risking it? My buddy did a spot at the Cellar in New York, like he’s a bigger comic, and they told him not to do an AIDS joke that he’d been doing. He did it anyway and then he stopped getting spots at the Cellar. Yeah, like is it worth that risk? Now I’ve been on the road where they say well, dirty comedy doesn’t really go that well out here. And I’ll say well, I know how to do it. Thank you for your advice. You’re talking about open micers doing dirty comedy and I’m okay with it, but thank you and I’ll do it anyway. But it gets to be nice though when you say it.
I like the Amazing Racist myself. Is there some of you that wishes you had done it later in your career when you didn’t need sort of that help?
Yeah, maybe. Yeah, if I did it later, it might have been better. But wishing is just like… But I mean, so this is a stage where… Yeah, what can you learn from that? Well, when I did it, it was just for a DVD and it got ripped to the early stages of the internet. So it was one of the first like viral videos. So no one really… We didn’t expect it to do that and have everybody like talking 14 year old watching it at home. But where I was, nobody in the industry knew who I was. So when people said did it hurt you, I’m like no, because the people who weren’t going to help me before now knew my name and weren’t going to help me. And other people were like I actually thought it was funny. I can’t do anything with you because you still don’t have anything else to present. But like I got some fans out of it. The people that hated me didn’t know my name before. So what’s the difference? This is how it is in auditions too. I learned like coming in second doesn’t do anything for you. So don’t just do… Just don’t do an audition to not be wrong. Don’t go in there going like I just want to do what everyone’s doing, you know, just to not like make an ass of myself. Like make an ass of yourself. Go for it. Try something. Because if you’re just second best, anywhere from second to last is all just not getting apart. So if it’s not going to really embarrass you, not going to ever call back in there, try your joke. Just try it. I went, I did an audition once where we had to present, pretend some guy came into our business and offers a Pizzone from Pizza Hut. And he said once like okay, react, like, you know, try it and be into it. Second time do it more realistic. And so we tried. We tried. I was like oh, we got surprised by him and then we like fake tried it. And then the second time he came in the more realistic time and he was like hey, try the Pizzone. The guy behind the camera said that. And I was like dude, you can’t be in our business. Get out of here. I’m sure it’s good but we’re doing stuff right now. Get out of here. And I left and the guy that I auditioned with goes hey, thanks for ruining it for both of us. You really fucked me over there. And I booked that part. No one was at home watching me going what? You didn’t even do it. I’m not doing it. I’m not doing it. I’m not doing it. I’m not doing it. I’m not doing it. I’m not doing it. I’m not doing it. But honestly if it wasn’t what they were looking for, they would have been like okay. And then they just wouldn’t say no. And it’s the same as that guy, who didn’t do anything wrong. But like don’t go crazy overboard.
Still use what’s possible worst-case scenario. Don’t take your dick out at a commercial audition.
But you know. Joey Diaz got a call back once. They told him he had to drop his pants. Some of those are so fucking insulting to you. And he didn’t have any underwear on. He didn’t know that that was going to be the audition. So he dropped his pants and he goes, just the bottom of his balls were below his shirt. And he got a callback. And then he was like, do you think I should take my balls out again? And I was like, I don’t know, this time it would seem needy. The first time, it was just a chance occurrence, but if they didn’t like that, then now you gotta, what, take it out every time? So you gotta guess, but I don’t know what he did. This is what Ralphie May said, which I really like, I think I already told you.
Talent and heart do not matter. Get over that. Get over that idea. That if I’m talented and I have the fucking gumption, I really want to do this, that is not the end all. Just get over it.
And he said, just do what you do and love it. Just write your jokes. Have fun getting on stage and learning how to be better as a comic. That’s the only thing that matters. And then the rest is networking and a lecture that you have to learn how to do, and that’s why you hang out at the improv. We didn’t have the UCB and NerdMelt when I was starting, so that’s why I keep saying the improv. But it’s all the places where the industry and where cooler comics are hanging out. Do your spot. Get up. And then go hang out with them, because your talent alone will not do it for you. It just won’t. It’s just not enough. They need to see a draw. They need to see the places on the road. They need to see that you’re going to have people come. The place in San Francisco that books you, they know you’re going to sell out. But it’s not that easy to get the punchline in another city to book you because you’re not going to sell out there. It’s just a business. Don’t even be mad at them. They’re not doing anything wrong. They’re just running a business. Same with agents and managers. They say, I don’t think you’re ready yet. They’re not trying to fuck you. If they can make money off you, they will do that. Even the Jews. Even the ones that aren’t. They want to make money off you. Any chance they get. If they think they can, they will. There’s no reason not to. There’s no reason not to. They’re not like Del Ray fans. They can make money, they will. Sometimes they’ll represent you because they think you might make money down the road. That would be great. But if they don’t, it’s not an insult to your talent. It’s just like, what do you have going on? What do you have right now that a manager can be like, cool, I can sell this right now and make a shitload of money off you. Yeah, it’s not that much. It’s hard. So don’t be mad at them. Just be like, would have been a nice opportunity, but okay. I heard one guy say this once about Montreal. He was showcasing for the New Faces. I was at U-Hear. I know he had a good call back. He goes, no, I don’t think I got it, but you know, whatever. Either way, I’ll just have a bunch of other stuff in the fire. I thought that was, I wish I knew that guy’s name. Such a great attitude about it. I thought that would be good. That would be such a benefit to me to get into New Faces. But if it doesn’t, what are you going to not do comedy anymore? Just only do that? And if that doesn’t work out, you’re never going to get ahead? They eventually told me, Ari, you’re never going to do New Faces. Stop trying. And I was like, why? And they said, because whatever. We missed the boat. Whatever. You’re too old now. We’re not going to put a 35 year old in here. And I was like, what? That guy did it at 35? And they were like, still not. And a lot of it was because I wasn’t represented. There was no reason to take it. But they didn’t take Whitney Cummings for New Faces. They took Eliza. I remember seeing them both showcase. I remember seeing them both showcase. And Eliza had a better set and they took her. And they didn’t take Whitney. And the next year, Whitney turned them down. She had gotten so much going on that she was like, oh, I don’t need to do that. And she just didn’t do it. So it’s not like she was waiting. She didn’t let it hold her back that she wasn’t getting New Faces. She is the example of someone who won’t let anything hold her back. She already has a show. Fuck it. I’ll do another show. I don’t care. Just keep moving forward. I have tried to adapt that Whitney model as much as possible. They told me, I did a CD. And then I was trying to do that Louis and Bill Burr thing where every year, do another album. And so I told my agent, I was like, I’m ready. I’ve got to record a CD or something. And they’re like, no, no. Let’s talk to Comedy Central. Let’s get them. That’s six months away. If we start talking to them now, they’ll be on the next one. Don’t wait. Just keep moving forward. You can wait a week for somebody. But just keep moving forward. That’s what I always did. If I had a meeting with a manager or agent, I would let everything else go on hold until that meeting took place. Fucking set up nine other meetings. And if you like that first guy, call those people back and say, oh, I’m sorry. I signed with somebody. Just keep going. No one thing is going to break you or hurt you. So just keep going with everything. Just keep throwing your fucking… What’s the saying? A lot of fires. Sticks and rods. Yeah, irons and fire. Thanks. And don’t do so much pot. What was Joey’s advice? Don’t do so much pot.
What was Joey’s advice? Joey’s advice was one that, like I said, people who see you as an open-micer are always going to see you a little bit as an open-micer.
It’s just the way it’s going to be. Just like I said, if you’re a cunt and you become nice, it takes a while for those two to average out. The cunt and the nice person average out. And you start seeing those people as like, eh, they’re okay. When they see you as an open-micer, part of them will just think that’s how good you are. And if they saw you do badly, not even what you consider badly, just like, beginner-y, ten times, and then they see you five years later having two good sets, they’re going to be like, well, that guy’s 10-12th beginner and 2-12th good. And they’re going to see two more sets and go, now he’s 10-14th beginner and 4-14th good. And then as they see you 40 or 50 times do good, they’re like, oh, you’re a good cunt. And eventually they’ll drop that idea of you as a beginner. So it’s just going to happen. There’s nothing you can do about it. You chose to start in L.A. That’s just going to happen. But it’s okay. But there will be new people coming into the industry. Somebody gets an assistant job today, let’s say, tomorrow, somebody will get an assistant job that has not started in comedy, has not seen anybody. And you guys have already done comedy for two or four years. So they’ll look at you not as someone who’s done comedy for two weeks, but as someone a little bit better. And someone else who works with them will say, no, I saw that guy. He was like a two-week comedy. But that new guy is not going to see that. They’re going to see you as where you are. And eventually you’re going to be embarrassed about that. But as new people come in, they won’t see you as an old micro, just as old people. So don’t worry about it that much. There’s nothing you can do about it. What else?
There’s something Bobby Lee told me that I liked. That you’ve got to bomb 100 times before you’re any good.
And it’s not like an exact number, but just know that your bombing will lead to you being better. Down the road, for every rough patch you go through, it will be better. I kept a chart. I started like six months in. I was like, fuck it, we’re not even going to count those first six months because it’s bombing every set. But like six months in, I started. Every time I bombed, I wrote it down. I made a chart on a big poster board. I made 100 boxes. And I wrote down where and when. A lot of them were at Westwood Bruko. A lot of them weren’t here. Probably most of them weren’t here. Some upstairs. And every time I wrote it down, it started getting less and less. The first year was like 25 of them. And the next year was like 20. And then at the end, it was going like a couple years without any really hardcore bombs. Because they know how to pander. They know how to get out of a fucking tailspin. They know how to pull out of it. You’ll learn that. Bombing enough will make you learn that. When I took Jiu Jitsu, I did this move. I fought against this little guy, Shigeki. He was a brown belt. He was like 150 pounds, Asian guy. Maybe 5’3″. And he would grab me around the waist and I would just naturally, his head was here, I’d go over like this. Swim around him. Try to pull him. And then he would just lock his arms up and he’d put me in an arm triangle. And I’d do the bada-da-da. And I’d tap and be like, I’m done. And he did that 40 straight times. Maybe in an hour. He taught me 40 times. And eventually, he did the same thing. I was like, oh wait. No, no, don’t do that. Yeah, don’t do that. And then you learn it. That’s how you learn. You’re getting choked unconscious. You’ve done that 40 times. But bombing is way worse than getting choked. So you will learn how to pull out of those tailspins the more you do it. Not to say you should try to bomb. I would never advocate that. It’s so sucky. But you guys have all done it. It sucks. You will get better at doing it. From doing it. So that’s why that. Okay, who else?
Yeah, a lot of people said just do more than just sketch and improv and stand up. Just do as much as you can.
That one I don’t like. It’s wrong. Can you say who said it at least? It was Natasha from Bobby Lee. He said it would be funny before you even start talking. Like you should go up to the mic and have them laughing before you even open your mouth. That’s not, that’s not, that worked for Bobby. That’s not shit that everybody should do. I used to do that too. Go up there and try to make a goofy face and have them laugh. It’s not normal. Paul Mooney does not do that. You know what I mean? He gets to listen before he talks. Yeah, he just looks a certain way. Bill Burr is not doing that. Bill Burr is not. That’s fun for Bobby. Bobby likes to show his belly. That’s fun. It’s not long. It’s just not what you need to do. That’s why I’m like, that’s why it’s not like, if it’s not universal, don’t worry about it.
And this is what Duncan Trussell said. He goes, don’t rush the early years. Just enjoy it.
Like I said, you guys are having the kind of fun times you’re having now. It’s just not, I don’t get to go out with my friends every night and eat. You have more responsibility. Like what Ralphie said, it’s just for fun now. There’s something beautiful about that. Stand Up says that everyone sells out as soon as you take one dollar for Stand Up. That you become a sellout. Because you have to be responsible for who’s paying you money. So if you guys aren’t getting paid, you are only doing it for the beauty of the art form. So that, there’s no more pure, like there’s nothing better than that. There’s no more pure reason to do something than just for the sake of doing it. And so that’s what you’re doing now. So really enjoy this time. Just trying to come up with a joke. That’s the win. You guys remember it? I still love that time. You just get a joke and it works. And you’re like, fuck yeah. That joke worked. That’s all it should ever be. At the base of it, that’s all it should ever be. Sarah Silverman, all those people, that’s all they’re trying to do. Just trying to get a joke to work. And then they have to take fucking meetings all day long. And fucking do work shit. And write a script. When somebody lets you actually write a script, now you have to sit down and fucking write a script. And you can’t just hang out with your friends and just write a joke however you want. You have to do their job. So this is a fun time. This is when you just enjoy it. This is when you fucking beat up Cat Williams’ bodyguard. This is a fun time. You don’t get to do that later. Responsibilities and families and fucking jobs. Okay, here’s some other stuff that Duncan said that I really liked.