Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Rear View Reflections of Comedy: (Pt 3): By Dobie Maxwell

If I could go back in time and have just a few short minutes alone with myself as I was about to venture off on my lifelong comedic journey to share the absolute most important nuggets of truth and/or crucial secrets I’d need to insure a successful trip, I’d narrow it down to just five things.

There are all kinds of little tips and hints that take a lifetime to accumulate for any performer in any genre of entertainment, but after making all the mistakes I did with the knowledge I had (and there were so many I’ve lost count), these are the top five things I wish I’d known from the start.

They are in no particular order, but in my opinion all of them contribute equally to ensuring the highest quality of career and life fulfillment for anybody who intends to make standup comedy a full time pursuit. In fact, I think these points would benefit anyone looking to be an entertainer.

KNOW WHY YOU’RE DOING THIS.
Different people get into performing for different reasons. Why did you do it? Was it a need to prove your worth to someone else? Is it just something that’s inside of you? Are you only trying to avoid a day job and chase the party lifestyle? Whatever your reason is, you need to know it.

OBEY YOUR GUT FEELINGS.
A true artist looks within. We all have influences, but doing anything just to try and cash in on a current trend will never bring lasting success. Follow your inner vision rather than the trends of any specific time or era. If you’re around long enough, it will all evolve. Your gut will never lie.

NO ONE SINGLE THING OR EVENT WILL MAKE YOU SUCCESSFUL.
Too many people think that getting in with a certain club, chain or booking agent or making an appearance on a radio or TV show will guarantee instant success and everything will just fall into place after that one coveted event occurs. Nothing could be more untrue. It’s a constant process.

GO AROUND THE IDIOTS.
Sooner or later, everyone with any creative vision ends up clashing with someone. It could be a booking agent, another performer, radio personality, almost anyone. I’ve had more than my share of this, and I’ve learned it’s much better to go around them than to try to change them. Trust me.

TAKE NOTHING PERSONALLY…EVER.
This was probably the most difficult one I had to learn, but also the most liberating. Comedy is extremely difficult, as is life, and a lot of dysfunctional people are around every corner. They are simply not equipped to deal with others in many cases, and that’s not at all your fault. Let it go.

I wish I’d had these points as a foundation when I started. Life would have been a lot easier

Guest Contributor
Dobie Maxwell