Wednesday, 22 August 2018

#91 - Posting Video of My Comedy 08/22/18

When I decided I was going to try stand up, I spent a lot of time googling advice for new comedians, and I came across a ton of articles and blogs offering all kinds of pointers to people getting ready to get on stage for the first time. 

Some of the advice showed up in every single post. Things like "Stick to your time" and "Don't steal jokes" were mentioned over and over again. Those are the same things people tell you to your face when you start out, and yet comics still blow the light (go over the amount of time they're supposed to do on a show) and steal material all the time. I used to wonder how they didn't get that they were doing something wrong, but now I see that most of the time it's not that they don't understand, it's that they don't care.

But other pointers weren't as obvious. One blog in particular stuck out to me, and I've included a link to it here if you're interested. It was written by a newer comic, he'd been in stand up for around 2.5 years when he wrote his post, and it included some good advice. Before I get into the suggestion that I liked the most, I would like to say one more thing. A common piece of advice in comedy is "don't take advice from comedians". I don't agree with that as a whole, but I do think it has some merit. When I ask for advice from more experienced comedians (or when they offer it to me anyways), I listen to everything they have to say. I'll take what they suggest into account, and apply what I think can help me. To shrug off all the advice someone is offering is stupid, as is blindly accepting everything everyone tells you. Figure out your own path, but use other people's experiences to your benefit when you can. In all walks of life, learning from people that came before you is invaluable, but don't be afraid to pick and choose what advice you listen to.

That said, one of the points brought up in the blog I linked above is: don't share your early videos. I've been in stand up for about 2.5 years myself, and I've got countless videos of my comedy on my computer. I've posted some of them online, too. Without fail, about 6 months after I post a video, I watch it again and absolutely hate it. You should constantly be getting better, and as you do, you'll watch old performances and notice all the things you were doing wrong at the time. The problem with posting these old videos is that bookers and managers see them, too. If you can spot the mistakes you're making, guess what they can see.

That's not to say you should never share your stand up. I always keep a video available for people to see. I just constantly update it. Every time I think I'm going to be in front of a really hot crowd, I shoot a new video, and then I take the old one down and replace it. I still constantly wrestle with the idea that the jokes I'm putting online aren't good enough, or they're not finished, but it hits a point where if you want to get booked, you need to have something to show people. Just make sure the video you have online is the best you're capable of at the time, and always be looking to improve it. 

And if you have videos from your first month in stand up posted somewhere, I'd recommend taking them down. Or making them private, at least. You might be really proud of that set right now, but if you stick with comedy, you won't be soon. And if a club manager searches your name, and the first video that pops up is one of you from a year ago, in front of 5 people at a bar, that's what they might judge you on. They probably aren't going to take the time to look for more of your videos, and you'll never get the chance to explain that was an old tape. 

Just be careful with what you make public. I've made it a rule that anything I post online, I'm ok with sending to someone considering hiring me. And as soon as I have something better, that old video comes down. That's my advice, anyways.

That, and don't take advice from comedians.

Thanks for reading.


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