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25 Things Most Comedians Do (And One Question For You To Think About)

April 29, 2011

Here’s a few observations I’ve made about how most comedians treat their careers, and one question at the end for you to think about.

1. Most comedians spend more time working on their act than their career.

2. Most comedians think they need to get booked to put on a show for an audience.

3. Most comedians can think of more reasons why they can’t do something than why they can.

4. Most comedians will never be seen again by the people in the crowd that liked them.

5. Most comedians don’t have a mailing list.

6. Most comedians haven’t updated their website in the last 30 days.

7. Most comedians think their career should be further along than it is.

8. Most comedians don’t have the ability to sell any tickets to their shows.

9. Most comedians think it’s up to somebody else to manage their career.

10. Most comedians are afraid to try something new and find their own path.

11. Most comedians think their career will develop the same way a comedian’s career did in 1995.

12. Most comedians think the audience is dumber than they are.

13. Most comedians care more about themselves than their fans.

14. Most comedians are impatient.

15. Most comedians’ fear of failure prevents them from succeeding.

16. Most comedians think of themselves as standups as opposed to comedians.

17. Most comedians won’t even read this list.

18. Most comedians don’t know their own strengths.

19. Most comedians would rather sell 10 copies of their album than get 100 people to listen to it for free.

20. Most comedians treat social media as a hobby.

21. Most comedians thought a couple years ago that their MySpace page would still have value today.

22. Most comedians are looking for shortcuts.

23. Most comedians are waiting around for their “big break.”

24. Most comedians don’t think of themselves as entrepreneurs.

25. Most comedians will fail.

SO WHY DO YOU WANT TO BE LIKE MOST COMEDIANS?

What else do you think most comedians do? Please join the discussion here with your thoughts…

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Hershy Petty April 29, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Thank you for this list…. its more a do’s and dont’s list and it gave me a lot to think about. Im brand new to the comedy world and I love the perspective that your list was able to give me… THANK YOU!!

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rudy martinez April 29, 2011 at 1:21 pm

26. Most comics blame the crowd.
I’ve noticed a couple of times that you’ve differentiated between a standup and a comedian; what do you see as the difference?

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Eric April 29, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Yeah, I hate when comics blame the crowd. “Oh, I guess you didn’t get that one.” – no I got it..it wasn’t funny.

If you’re there to entertain them and they aren’t entertained it’s never the audience’s fault, you aren’t good enough to adjust to a specific crowd.

I don’t mean you, haha, I mean in general. I never blame the crowd! It’s dumb.

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Jamie Ward April 29, 2011 at 4:35 pm

There are many lines I hate in comedy: “How you all doing” “So who’s _____” but you sir hit the nail on the head.

my #1 most hated line in stand-up comedy:
“i guess you didn’t get that one” or it’s many variants.

When I hear that it often makes me laugh. But not for the reason intended.

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DEE MARIE A.K.A BROWNHUMOR April 29, 2011 at 4:35 pm

STAND UP OR COMEDIAN..TO ME A STAND UP COMEDIAN IS SOMEONE WHO CONCENTRATES ON A FUNNY ACT SPECIFIED FOR THE STAGE,WHEREAS A COMEDIAN IS UNIVERSALLY FUNNY…IN A SKIT..AT A BARBECUE.. AT THE DENTIST…HE OR SHE IS ENTERTAINING IN AND OUTSIDE OF THERE ACT..THEY CAN MAKE PEOPLE LAUGH WITHOUT OPENING THERE MOUTH!!

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Jamie Ward April 29, 2011 at 4:15 pm

27. Most spend a disproportionate time talking to listening. When you hear silence, hear it. When you hear laughter, hear it. We tell jokes to get reactions. Savor those reactions. It’s pretty much all you’ll walk away with 99% of the time.

Likewise, listen to what the other comedians in your area are doing. I’m not saying you have to listen to every comic every show, but your edgy and original material from last month might be the same bit everyone has caught up to doing this month.

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FLOW April 30, 2011 at 6:38 am

I wish you had added:
Most comedians don’t understand the importance of being able to do a funny, but clean set. And most comedians don’t understand that they don’t get booked/paid because they’re not funny..

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Max Worthington April 30, 2011 at 10:15 am

Most comedians think they need a manager or agent when publicity is what they need.

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James Murr April 30, 2011 at 9:04 pm

Most comedians think there is room for only them and the way to get to the top is by stepping on others

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Justin Zimmerman May 2, 2011 at 5:38 am

Definitely James. I have met a few helpful comedians but I have met plenty who hated you just because they saw you as competition. We need more camaraderie

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Richard Wentz May 1, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Great List! As always, Josh, you hit it on the head!

If asked, I would add that most comedians are afraid to help their fellow comedians develop out of fear of getting left behind.

Keep up the good work!

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JP September 21, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Laughing is natures way of overcoming reality… when the guy next to you at the bowling ally drops the ball on his foot, you laugh to overcome the reality of it!

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Ozell Daniel May 2, 2011 at 11:22 am

This the most accurate and honest post about comedy I’ve seen.

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theweekendpilots May 4, 2011 at 2:43 am

LOL at #17. This list is right on!

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Ryan Cole May 18, 2011 at 8:52 am

Most comedians are relying on one of their friends to make it big, then hope that friend opens the door for them. #beAtrailBlazer.

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Irwin Loring June 12, 2011 at 11:10 am

Most comics are manic depressed people

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Geoff with a G. Armstrong June 12, 2011 at 11:30 am

Most comedians join the clique of other comedians who might get them where they belong and push a small group of friends. Kinda like the Sharks and the Jets…

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D. Russo June 12, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Your success does not come at the EXPENSE of others. You would think that if ANYone would have that mindset, it would be me….coming from playing football for the last decade. It’s *not* the case nor has it ever been.

Furthermore, although there is no room in my heart for petty “hating” of others (for lack of a better term), if you are a Headliner (on any level) who is “hating” on a lower-level comedian…..that’s a pretty good indicator that you have reached your comedic ceiling.
Sorry for rambling…

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Max Worthington June 12, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Most comedians expect to be discovered with one phone call that they wont make.

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KC April 1, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Most comedians (like you all here) spend more time reading crap like this instead of just going out there and doing it. GET ON THE STAGE AND LEARN AS YOU GO!

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John z April 1, 2012 at 2:28 pm

I agree with following comment. But he needs to tone it down a bit. I see what you mean though. I would like to say as well too, something you probably hear a lot more than all the following “there’s no set rules for comics” get out there and just have fun my comedic brothers.

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David Gamble July 14, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Most comedians will give you their 2 cents when replying to something that was fine the way it was.

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Bernardo BMF Rodriguez July 19, 2012 at 10:34 am

In the past and possibly the present. I’ve noticed most comic’s are haters the exception to that is that one guy that tells it like it is and you hear directly from him not hearsay from another source. Also as a comic’s stand point you physically want to beat the crap out of those talking smack. But obviously you can’t because if not they turn into little girls and want to call the police for doing yourself and maybe other comics a service. So how ya like me now ?

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Mark December 1, 2012 at 1:16 pm

As the audiance,,, I have seen too many who do the same act as is on the web. I check the web to get a feel for them but I paid to see something new. Keep the new stuff comming… not the same act for years…

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Steophone Terrell December 31, 2012 at 7:42 am

I glad to hear that

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Robert March 15, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Most comedians are too quick to write off venues

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Robert July 16, 2013 at 6:53 pm

Most comedians will study other comics’ performances but not study other comics’ careers, which is a good way to learn about what you’re in for.

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MedicalMary June 5, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Thank you for the insight… Getting to work!

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Heather Jones June 5, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Love it! Nice kick in the ass I need.

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Jaque July 10, 2014 at 10:16 am

Very insightful and helpful now if I can just stop freaking myself out and stop shaking as if I am on stage. I will critique my own work again, and again, and again…. is there such a thing as over magnifying ones own work?

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Charmayne August 10, 2014 at 8:49 pm

Great site! Love the insights. I haven’t done comedy for a couple of years but want to get back to it. It seems to call me. I just started back teaching and it takes up a lot of my time but I sure miss the stage. Thank you all for your comments.

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