The Comedian’s Guide to Feeling Better About Trying To Make It In Comedy

It’s no secret that there is a great deal of personal mental strain that comedians go through, often self-inflicted, despite having “making people laugh” in their job description.  While self-help books are often a popular topic for jokes and I’ve surprised other comedians by not having ever entered therapy, any person legitimately doing comedy would tell you that any whisper of encouragement, even if not specifically directed at them, is more than welcome.

Over the last few months, such symbolic “pats on the back” and sincere echoes of “keep at it and believe in yourself” have popped up online and have given credence to the aforementioned claim of insecurity by comedians.  The following is a collection of those metaphorical motivational posters in the form of podcasts, quotes, videos, etc. that might make you more feel comfortable along the road to answering the question:

What the fuck am I doing trying to make strangers laugh? 

1) Marc Maron’s Just For Laughs Montreal Comedy Festival Keynote Address

2) Louis C.K. and the Joan Rivers episode of Louie

3) Dan Harmon (Creator of NBC’s Community) on meeting George Gallo, writer of Midnight Run, the dilemma of being creative, and nominations.

4) “It took me until my 40s to realize it: There’s no destination. There’s no getting anywhere. There’s just the going. The key to life is to make the going really fun. Because people that are like, “If I just get to this, then boom!” And then they get there and there’s this dawning of an afterwards. Whereas I’m just always in the going. And it’s not a frantic going like, “I gotta keep going or I’m gonna go nuts!” I can not do anything for weeks or months if I need to and just sit and read books or watch movies. I’m just as fine consuming and absorbing new art as I am trying to make it. But it’s all in the going.”

Patton Oswalt in A.V. Club Interview

5) Ira Glass, though not strictly talking about comedy, encourages new artists.