1. Comedy is a community. Other comics are your resource. Comics who are on your level — that’s important. A lot of comics are restless — they want to network with the pros who they perceive as ‘one level up’ from them. Those guys can’t help you much. It’s your peers that will help you. Forget the dog-eat-dog stuff; like it’s just you and your jokes against the world. That used to work, but not anymore. Make friends with people who make you laugh, produce shows together, build an audience together. Don’t worry about trying to climb your way up the comedy scene, just hold hands with your friends and you’ll all rise up like a balloon, laughing along the way.
2. Comedy is a lonely road. Other comics are your enemy. Comics who are on your level — they must be destroyed. All comics are restless — they want to decimate the competition so that there is only one “level” left and they are the only one on it. The pros can’t help you much. Neither can your peers. Forget the dog-eat-dog stuff; like it’s just you and your jokes against the world. It’s even worse than that. You don’t have any jokes. Make friends with people who cannot possible encroach on your career’s success in any way. Produce shows specifically to sandbag people in the scene. Terrorize the audience. Worry constantly about trying to climb your way up the comedy scene, kicking your peers in the shins, watching them fall as you run to the finish line, laughing all the way.
3. Comedy is a landscape, a vast landscape. Other comics will come and go. Comics who are above, below, and at your level, though they are part of a community, at the end of the day, are also individuals that want to be in the spotlight – that’s important. A lot of comics are restless in wandering around helter skelter for an answer — they want to network with “so and so” at “this and that room” (whether they’re pros or not) because they perceive that’s a level they need to be at even if it’s below from where they are. Those guys won’t help you much. If anything, many of them want to watch and see if you can take the inevitable suffering, maybe throw you a bone, and then watch you suffer more. Your peers will help you to a point, but longevity and success in this game depends on your own constitution. Forget the dog-eat-dog stuff; like it’s just you and your jokes against the world. That used to work, but now you need that along with a whole lot of luck. You can increase your odds by making friends with people who make you laugh, producing shows together, and building a following together, but that might not even be enough to make it anywhere in a comedy scene. Just hold onto your love of doing comedy whether you rise up like a balloon or crash and burn miserably over and over like a dysfunctional phoenix because you need to be laughing all the way or else you’re in this mess for the wrong reasons.
1. Tom Shillue, via The Comic’s Comic
2. Allen Strickland Williams, via The Allen Strickland Williams Super System
3. Jake Kroeger, via The Comedy Bureau