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In this episode of 2NIAP the boys discuss the current condition of the gaming industry. Also, @NiceGuyGaming shares a funny news article about embezzlement for our #DummyOfTheWeek. @Macktion reviews our past “Kick it or Kickstart its” it see which ones have been funded, and our course tons of laughs!

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I recently got a new day job with an excellent company. The interview process was thorough, and I believe that part of my success was due to the fact that my background in comedy sets me apart from other applicants. Comedy has taught me how to read people, entrepreneurship, how to think on my feet, and numerous other skills. All of these skills are relevant in business.

Many jobs require a college degree, so obviously everyone who applies for these jobs will have a degree. An interviewer would probably get tired of hearing every single applicant talk about their educational background, I know I would. So in my interviews with this company I talked a lot about stand-up and things that I have learned from it.

I talked about how as a college undergrad I wanted to make extra money, so I started a small (and successful) comedy business with some friends. I talked about how as a comedian you have to adjust to an audience, much like how people in business can’t approach every single client the same way. I talked about how I’m personable, a good public speaker, and likeable. All of these things relate to comedy.

Of course if I didn’t have the necessary academic qualifications I probably wouldn’t have been CONSIDERED  for the position. However, if I didn’t have skills that have been supplemented by the fact that I do stand-up, I probably wouldn’t have GOTTEN the position.

The take home message? Comedians aren’t necessarily profane clowns without work ethic or common sense. Comedy is serious business.

 

It would not consist of playing Xbox or watching movies; my ideal work day would consist of a lot of, well, work.

Of course this work day would take place at home, mostly in my office. I’d start off the day by working on my comic strip. I generally come up with ideas for it in the morning, and they are usually based on recent and past experiences. I’ve found that when I am working on this strip that I have some days where I’ll make 3 or 4 comics, and others where I am in a dry spell. Regardless, I would work on this strip for the first hour of my day. By the way, today I started putting this strips into PDF form, so that I can make an E book out of them later this year. Stay tuned!

One of the most crucial parts of being a comedian is writing. This is what I would do next, because often I make comics strips that could be turned into new material. It is only logical that I would spend time writing new jokes after working on my comic. I used to try to write with music in the background, or while watching Netflix. I always found myself simply listening to the “background” music, or watching Netflix, and not actually writing. I don’t need complete silence to write, occasional distractions can actually help me at times. Also, I don’t write my jokes out word for word. I’ll generally write the premise in as few words as possible, and then have some bullet points of punchlines, and ideas to explore based on that premise. Additionally I have pages in my journal of premises to explore later, I love making these lists. Sometimes the ideas get forgotten, but sometimes when I’m having writer’s block I’ll look for one of these lists and force myself to flesh out one of those ideas.

At some point during the day I’d eat lunch. Generally when I’m on a roll with writing or whatever other comedic pursuit I’m into I don’t want to stop and eat. So who knows, this type of work day might help me lost a few pounds.

Another important part of the day would be spent reading articles about comedy. This is something that I try to do in moderation. I’ve learned that reading and talking about the way that other comedians have succeeded can actually be detrimental. For example, Louis CK has done a lot of amazing things by controlling the production of his tv show, selling his own tickets online, and self-releasing his own albums as of late. However, I’m not at a stage in my career where any of those things are relevant. It is great to read about them, but I refuse to let those things get in the way of my writing, performing, getting better, etc. I do like to read interviews of other comedians, studying the greats can have its benefits.

Obviously I enjoy creating things, and I enjoy writing. Something that I want to start doing is writing monologue jokes. You know, the ones that guys like Letterman and Conan deliver on a nightly basis. Those were all written by talented comedic minds. This requires not only quick wit and writing ability, but also a knowledge of current events. I’ve never had a ton of topical material in my act, because it has such a short shelf life, but I think that writing for late night would be amazing. I’m obviously not at that point yet, but writing dozens of topical jokes would be great practice. Creating writing samples would take place during this chunk of the day, sitcom scripts and various other relevant writings.

Lastly, I’d go out at night and work on my material. I don’t currently live in a place with stage time every night, but I do get up as much as I can. I am somewhat envious of comics who live in places where they can think of an idea in the morning, and ALWAYS be talking about that idea on stage that night (if they so choose). When I went to New York this summer I remember hitting 3 open mics in one night, it was amazing. I love the stage. Writing and creating things aside, doing actual stand-up is my passion, first and foremost. I ALWAYS write my ideas out by myself initially, but at least twice a week I’d love to meet with other creative minds who I trust and bounce ideas off each other.

During this ideal work day I may spend some time watching actual stand up too. I feel like I’m at a point where I’m comfortable on stage, I know what I’m doing. It is always good to watch people who are better than you, and have different styles. It keeps you hungry.

Did I mention that this workday would start around noon? Not because I’m lazy, but because I have a family that I’d spend my mornings with. Also, I’d probably be working late into the night (that’s when I’d be on stage), so starting at noon makes sense. Also, I’m not a morning person, so there’s that.

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Not all comedy shows are created equal. There are rooms of all sizes, audiences of varying attention spans, and other varying variables. On Wednesday I had the chance to open for a Las Vegas-based comedian/magician named Adam London, and it was one of those shows where most if not all of the variables were ideal for comedy.

My wife and I arrived at the venue at 6:30pm. I told someone at the front door that I was the opening act, and they gave me a funny look. Luckily right at that moment someone came out and said “oh good, Lam, you’re here,” and took us inside. It was a nice theater with a balcony, seating about 600 people. Adam was on the stage and introduced himself, nice guy. One thing that I’ve heard a lot (and I believe to be true) is that you shouldn’t pester the headliner. I always try to see what type of person they are before engaging in a lengthy conversation. There are plenty of people who (understandably) don’t want to talk to everyone before their show; they may be preparing, getting in their “zone”, or whatever. Adam seemed very laid back and kind, not at all in his own world.

A friend of mine was opening as well. We had each planned to do a certain amount of time, but were asked to shorten it. Not a problem. Another thing that I’ve learned is that you have to roll with the punches. Being easy to work with is almost as important as being funny. That may not be how it should be (some people feel that being funny is all that matters), but I think I’m pretty easy going anyway so changing things up last minute is never a big deal to me.

Fast forward to the beginning of the show. The theater was packed. My friend did his set, and did well as he always does. Then I did my set, and was later told both by Adam and many audience members that it was great. I’ve read a lot of articles that say when you are hosting/opening/featuring that you should hold back a little; you shouldn’t come out and try to “knock the headliner’s head off.” In other words; do well, but don’t do so well that the headliner has to compete with you. I can see the truth in this, but also, you never know who is watching.

Regardless, I kept that rule in mind. I feel like all of my bits were hitting with the audience, as they should since I was avoiding new material. However, the bit that I decided to close with didn’t end with an applause break as it normally does. The reaction was great, but not what I’m used to. It was sufficient though, so I ended my set and left the stage. Normally in that situation I would have kept going in an attempt to end on a slightly higher note, but I wanted to be mindful of the time that I was given. Earlier today I watched the video of my set from that night, and I’m fine with how it went.

Adam’s show was great. He started off with stand up and then did magic with tons of audience interaction. I haven’t seen tons of magic, and there were several tricks that I was impressed with. For one of his tricks he made my wife’s wedding ring go into a bag of M&Ms. Crazy stuff.

Everyone has to pay their dues, especially in the entertainment industry. Every time that I’m fortunate enough to do a show like this it reminds me that it is where I want to be. I love performing for crowds of 30-50 too, it is relaxed and I can work on new material. Even if I’m blessed to someday perform in theaters on a regular basis I’d still want to continue to do smaller shows. Bottom line is that its great to work with people who have what I want, to get to know them, to watch them work, and to show what I can do in those circumstances.

Yesterday I bought a new notebook for my jokes. There are several reasons for this; my previous one was falling apart, I wanted one that is a little nicer with lined pages, and it symbolizes taking my comedy career to the next level.

A lot of the time I would flip through my previous notebook before going on stage, and occasionally I would come across hidden gems that I had forgotten or half-written jokes that needed working out. Also, my previous notebook contained a lot of my best material (as it should). Of course there are times when I take the stage with little idea what material I am going to do, but quite often I relied on my previous notebook to help me decide which jokes to tell.

That’s why it is time to put it in the past.

I’m not necessarily throwing out all of my old material, but I plan on writing and creating much more (jokes and content ) that I did last year. I think that a new book will help with that. Now, when I look through my notebook it will be blank (initially). That’s not to say that I won’t open and close sets with battle-tested jokes, but I won’t be using them as a crutch as much. There’s power in vulnerability, at least when it comes to art. Of course when you’re getting paid or auditioning for something, vulnerability could be dangerous. In low pressure environments however, vulnerability is what helps people grow.

The first time that a comedian tells a joke that works (not just gets a few chuckles, but really WORKS) is magical. Its an unparalleled feeling that I won’t bother to try and describe. The only way to continuously have that feeling is to write new material, try it, and be surprised the first time that it works. Then of course, you rework it to make it better but even then you are expecting laughs as you perform the bit.

Long story short, a new notebook will help me to grow and get better. It will force me to put past successes and failures behind me.