The Solopreneur Podcast is not a comedy podcast, but it’s certainly very relevant to comedians. Hosted by Michael O’Neal, each episode features an interview with a “solopreneur,” which is essentially a person who has built a career out of working for themselves and being an independent entrepreneur.
In November 2013, Adam Carolla was a guest on the show and talked about everything from how he’s approached his career to the mistakes he thinks most comedians make. Below are a few key takeaways from the episode, and you can listen to the full episode here.
1. Everything Adam Has Done, He’s Had To Do Himself
At the start of the episode O’Neal points out that one of the reasons he felt Carolla would be a great fit for his show is because he’s an example of a comedian who has pretty much had to do everything himself in his career. Lots of comedians have to make their own breaks, but Carolla has definitely taken it even further building a podcast empire pretty much on his own.
2. Recognize That You’re Not Special
At around the 12:30 mark of the episode, Carolla explains that early on in his career he realized he was not going to be the kind of person who was going to just nail an audition and land a gig. He realized nobody trusted him or thought he was anything special. Taking that into account, he decided early on that if he was going to succeed, he was going to have to create his own vehicle.
3. It’s Not What You Think That Matters
At around the 16:30 mark of the episode, Carolla gives comics some blunt advice: “Stop thinking you’re special.” He then points out that it doesn’t matter if you think you’re special, it’s what the guy on the other side of the desk things that actually matters.
It’s a great point and one I think too many comics forget – while it’s important to have confidence in your abilities, it’s also important to realize that just because you think you’re great that doesn’t mean anybody else does.
4. Go For What You Know
Around the 24-minute mark, Carolla talks about how important it is to focus on what you really know when you’re starting out and trying to develop material. He points out that one of his earliest characters was Mr. Birchum, a character who was a woodworking teacher because it was based on a world he knew very well since he had worked as a carpenter.
5. Be The Guy They Know
Around the 37-minute mark, Carolla shares his advice for getting gigs or opportunities in general. He breaks it down and explains that he believes the best way to get gigs is by “just showing up.” He points out that so much of what he’s done – from radio gigs to working as a boxing trainer – has come as a result of him putting himself in the places where that stuff was happening and hanging around until people got to know him and an opportunity came up.
He mentions that just hanging around in the space where things are happening that you want to be a part of can be up to 80% of what gets you an opportunity. Simply put, “Be the guy they know.”
It’s solid advice and is one of the reasons why you need to hang out in comedy clubs as much as you perform in them.
Have you listened to a podcast episode lately that has helpful information for comedians? If you’d like to write up a summary of it to share on this site, please email me.