I love standup comedy.
I recently had an opportunity to talk about the craft with a Young Comic and give her feedback about her set. (She asked.) But before I could drone on for too long, I stopped myself and said, “Hey, anybody could’ve told you this.”
And she said, “Yeah, but anybody didn’t.”
That hit me and made me feel glad that I took the time to speak with her.
Look, not everybody wants or needs advice. But I’m willing to share what I know with workers/worthies who truly seem to be about this life. (If Standup Comedy is a hobby or you’re just passing through, enjoy. But you don’t need me.)
When I started, I received a lot of guidance and mentorship from many seasoned comics, partly because I asked, partly because I watched and learned.
But time in the game (28 years and counting) doesn’t mean I know it all. While my growth as an artist and a professional has not stopped, my elder-care side hustle - or as I like to call it: My Home Office Senior Management position - has taken a toll.
I recently reached out to a successful young comic who I helped back in the early days of her career. She gave me valuable guidance on social media content curation, presentation, and distribution that still has me buzzing, excited, and reenergized. Have you noticed my refreshed YouTube channel? That was because I was smart enough to ask for help. Mentorship can go both ways.
Watching the aforementioned Newbie Comic, I could clearly see all the areas she needs to work on. But I also saw her work ethic (she left her notes on the comic’s table), bravery, and vulnerability*. Those are lifelong core skills. I can’t teach that, but I can work with it.
(*Getting on-stage to do standup comedy is an act of vulnerability; even for the comics who go on with swagger, bravado, and volume. Sometimes the louder they are, the more sensitive they are too.)
And so for me, one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is that comedians may stand on stage alone, but we don’t get there by ourselves.