It takes dedication, persistence, a pinch of luck, and a little bit of time to make it as a stand-up comedian or a writer for either stand-up comics or situation comedies. That’s meant more as encouragement than discouragement because only those who remain dedicated and persistence will find that luck and in time make it. The less devoted competition will fall by the wayside.
However, there are other avenues where you can utilize your comedy skills while you’re waiting for that pinch of luck and the passage of time. Some of these fringe areas of comedy can often sharpen your skills, gain you exposure, and expedite your career.
Magazines are always looking for good humorous articles. Those monologues you want to write can be transformed into 800 or 1000 words that some periodical publisher might be interested in. It’s getting your name in print, earning a little cash, and honing your comedy writing skills.
You probably belong to some organization or another, either at work or socially. They could probably use an emcee for some of their functions. In that capacity, you can open with an entertaining three or four minutes of stand-up material. It’s fun and if it’s kept to a reasonable time, and with appropriate material, it’s appreciated.
One friend had children who played on the high school football team. At the awards banquet, he opened with a funny monologue about the season, the team, the coaches, and some of the players.
Some folks use their comedy talents on the job. Some give seminars, work related speeches, or offer training programs in house. These can be made more palatable with a touch of appropriate humor.
Others actually offer one-line writing services to executives at the company who are always called on for speeches someplace or another. These executives have learned, as politicians have, that a sprinkling of humor helps tremendously with audience acceptance and attention.
Offer to write a short humor column for the local papers or even your company bulletin. Or even put together homemade humorous books for co-workers to enjoy.
One acquaintance of mine gained a local reputation by assembling a book of captioned pictures for special occasions – a friend’s retirement, an anniversary celebration, a birthday.
These are only top of the head suggestions. With a little thought and creativity, you’ll come up with your own avenues. Remember you become a better writer as you write. These will hone your skills.
One fringe benefit of these avenues, though, is that you gain recognition, even if it’s only local recognition. A big factor in moving a career along is word of mouth publicity. Your friends know you’re funny. They mention it to a friend. That friend tells a friend of his. Who knows where it can lead?
My own comedy writing career got a big boost in just this way. I emceed company parties, wrote in the company paper, and had books floating around the office with jokes and captioned pictures in them. One co-worker also worked as a stringer for a newspaper. He interviewed Phyllis Diller, mentioned my work, and she asked to see some of my material. I began writing for her and things snowballed from there.
Keep your eye on your career, but do some other writing along the way. It could help.