I don’t consider myself a professional stand up comic yet. I’ve been in the business for 7 years now, and in that time have earned well over…six hundred bucks. I know a little more than the comic who has done it for a less amount of time but I have a TON more to learn.
Comics are self centered. Some comics won’t even take advice from others and certainly not from comedians who haven’t been in the game too long. Sure, we would all like to get advice from people like Louie CK or Jerry Seinfeld or Ralphie May, but those opportunities may never present themselves. There have been times where another comic will ask me for advice and I’m only happy to share it. I may not know a lot about stand up but what I do know, it is my pleasure to share.
Two years ago, I saw a guy perform at an open mic. The guy killed and had great jokes! None of them were hack and I could tell that the guy knew how to actually write material. He not only got the laughs, he did it in front of a bar audience. There is no tougher crowd than that! After the show, I went up to the new comic and asked him how long he had been doing stand up. He responded with, “This was my first time.” That floored me. I had to give credit where credit was due. I told him, “If you can do that at a bar, (make them laugh) you will kill them at a comedy club.”
Since then, I have been working with him at other bar shows and events around town. In that time, he has never thought that he was more than he was. He has remained humble and committed to the stand up craft. He will often times ask me for advice and I share things with him that seem mundane but are such an intricate part of the business. The best thing a fellow comic can do is help pave the way for those that are treading on ground that they’ve already walked on. I’m not “Headlining” material yet, but I have Emcee’d shows and I have Featured at comedy clubs, and the things I’ve learned are things that others have taught me. In this profession, everyone wants to stand out above the rest with little to no help, while others realize that to stand up above the rest can only happen when you help others to do so as well. That is quite a contrarian way of thinking, but it has it’s purpose.
This week, the comic I’ve been writing about will Emcee for his very first time at The El Paso Comic Strip. This will be his first professional gig. He has been working his set at all the local open mics, at bars, at school gymnasiums, at restaurants, at private parties, at charity events, at coffee houses, you name it! He has earned this opportunity not just by being funny, but by humbling himself to the advice of others.
He refers to me as his “mentor”, but he has been my mentor as much as he considers me his. I’ve learned from him just as much as he’s learned from me. Ask for his advice and he will be quick to invite you over to his house for beer and a joke writing session. I’ll be there on his first opening night and I will be there for his first Feature appearance and I will be front and center at his first Headlining spot.
Congratulations, Iggy! Kill em’!