So, it’s been roughly a year since I started doing Stand-up, the anniversary of my first gig is next month. Now, having been a “comic” for 11 months, newer comics have started asking me for advice about breaking into the industry and workingwithin it. Most of the time, I offer my opinion, but more often than not, I pass on wisdom other comics have given me or I’ve heard in interviews. So I figured I’d write some of them here, in the vain hope, my pilfered wisdom will help someone, then when they’re famous, they can find me and give me lots of money and/or biscuits.
- Write constantly- The main piece of advice I’ve got from other comics, Comedy is a Job, not a get out clause for KFC, you learn it the way you learn an instrument; practise. Richard Herring, one of the most well respected comics working, writes a blog of something funny every day and posts it online in Blog form (named “Warming up” and you can find it on soundcloud and it’s filled with amusing things and robot voices) just to keep his eye in.
- Gig as much as possible- The same applies for performance, if you take a break, you’ll get rusty so keep gigging. Last night I performed my first gig after a months break and the rust was all too evident. If there are no gigs, make one.
- Comedy is a marathon- if you want a career in comedy, it won’t happen overnight. People spend years doing gigs for no money in terrible pubs before they “make it”. Both Michael Mcintyre and Mickey Flannigan were gigging comics for around ten years before they found success.
- Write about what matters to you- Louis C.K among the successful comics in the world, throws away all his material at the end of each year, that way each year he has to find something new to talk about, something that matters more and goes deeper than the previous years material. I’ve adopted the same method, and though maddening when you start over it’s worth it, you can see the progression.
- And finally, don’t get hung up on a gig- this advice comes straight from the mouth of Sarah Millican, who called this principle “Millican’s Law”, after a gig, you have until 11 o’clock the next morning to think about it. After that point you’re no longer allowed to think about how it went. The focus then becomes the next gig. If you approach the next gig still upset about the last gig, or overconfident because of how well it went, you won’t perform to your best.