Success Comes In Many Forms

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Some people are naturals at what they do whether it be in the business arena, as an athlete or entertainer, to name a few.  Someone like Louis C.K. is comparable to Wayne Gretzky for the level of success they have achieved at their chosen professions.  But is Louis C.K. a piece of shit loser because it took him a couple of years to get good at what he does, compared to Wayne Gretzky who was blessed with God-given talent (though both achieved their results through hard work)?

There are some people I know who have said I have the ability to succeed in comedy, and there are some who think I’m absolutely useless on stage because I didn’t have success immediately.  I truly believe that you can have the aptitude for something or the desire placed within your spirit.  That calling, desire, or passion may take a while to hone and refine.  Once you hit your sweet spot, that point where you start to build on your successes to ride the momentum train of success then those on the outside looking in would think you’ve been predestined to do what you do, that you make it look easy and polished.

In the end, that’s what we secretly desire, the admiration and respect of others.  You get that by getting good at what you do, but it doesn’t come without the due diligence and hard work.  Gretzky, for all his talent still practised every day to get better.  I am sure that when Gretzky practised he may have fallen down a time or two when he was little, he even scored on his own net in an actual game!

Then you look at Louis C.K.  Going off of his Wikipedia page, he did so bad his first time on stage that he didn’t go back for two years, two years ladies and gentleman, TWO YEARS before he attempted to give comedy a go again.  Most of you know who Louis C.K. is and the level of ground breaking success he has attained.  Is he funny?  Absolutely!  Does he look like he was born to be on stage, to perform, to entertain others?  Yes!  However, that does not make him a loser.  God created us all differently for a reason.  Some people have to work a little bit harder than others to achieve the same level of success in life.  That doesn’t make you a bad person, or a loser, or even an idiot.  It makes you successful and proud, with a dash of humility on the side.

You’re probably wondering just when I plan on making my point of this whole piece, and it will start now.

When I first started I wasn’t that funny, and I have no problems in admitting that.  When I started out, I tried to be clever and funny thinking I could come up with some witty material that people would get, although there was one slight problem to this plan of mine.  I knew from watching the first video of mine that I wasn’t very comfortable on stage, and that I looked out of sorts.  It took a lot of failure, and coaching from a real, successful PROFESSIONAL comedian to help start me find my way comedically.

To make a long story short, I know I’m unique.  I’ve had life knock me down more than most, and I have gone through my share of struggles.  I can look back and laugh at the mistakes I’ve made.  It took me meeting my comedy coach to see (through his eyes) how funny my story could be.  Not sure you follow?  Then let me paint you a scenario, and you tell me how believable it could be.

Take me and put me up against your average guy.  This average guy is handsome, successful, knows how to party and pick up the ladies.  Let’s say that both of us are telling the same story whereby we go to a bar, and at last call find the most attractive, sexy looking woman to take home.

Now we get her back to our place and have sex with her.  If the typical guy is telling this story to people he didn’t know, or to his buddies, if he tells that story from start to finish with bedding her in the end, he comes across as confident, credible and honest.

Now put me in that same scenario, only when I take her back to my place, something happens to me that prevents me from “sealing the deal.”  It could be that my zipper is stuck, she doesn’t like the fact I wear Popeye boxer shorts, I don’t look that good naked, I’m too skinny, etc.  Due to the vibe I give off of being uneasy and awkward, it would make sense for me to fail because that’s the impression I am giving to the audience, and like my comedy coach said, the audience will tell you what you are.  Now when I tell that story but mention the misfortune at the end which prevents me from being successful, it all of a sudden becomes believable to the audience, and it hits certain laugh triggers that should generate a laugh, if done properly.

That is taking what the audience gives you, and looking back on it I should have figured that out sooner than I did.  When I tried the material I originally wrote, it got silence most of the time not because it wasn’t funny per se, but I believe it didn’t generate many laughs because it didn’t connect with the audience, it wasn’t believable.

When I finished first the one night of the comedy competition beating Saskatoon’s best (more like wiping the floor with them – that’s no word of a lie), sure the majority of people in the small audience were friends of mine, but they laughed to the point of being in tears because it was material that highlighted my struggles, and because they knew me so well, it hit certain laugh triggers that kept them laughing through my set.

When I look back at my comeback video the reason I got laughs on every joke from start to finish is because I played to what the audience was giving me.  The failures and stumbles of my “character” were believable to the audience, and that’s what made them laugh.

Now that I have started to understand how to write jokes that fit my character, it’s harder to write material because a thought process has to be undertaken every time I go to write something down.  It has to be crafted towards the character I’m trying to create (with my coach’s help, of course).

I do believe I can be successful at comedy, it’s just going to take some time getting there.  I don’t know the level of success I will achieve, but it is possible.  Now that I know how to write for myself, the big laughs won’t come all at once, but at least I hope to enjoy more consistent performances in the future.

Be blessed!

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