Word of the Day: Relationships
“You are only on stage 10% of the time. The other 90% is marketing, meeting, writing and selling YOU. Don’t rely on others to do it for you!” – ANT
I met Ant when he performed at the parlor. I didn’t actually know him as a comic, but he told my dad during the interview that I should come meet him and hang out. I went and watched the show. Hilarious. We hung out backstage for a while and I had him sign the book.
He turned very serious and said he wanted to explain exactly what he meant. You only give a manager 10% because you’re doing 90% of the work. This is one of the signatures that I thought I understood right away, but I was still such a young comic that I didn’t understand the power of the words until I started performing a lot and had context around it.
There’s more to being a comic than performing. 90% of gigs you book will come from off stage interactions. You have to have a reputation of being funny and nice. Sure you’re funny, but are you annoying? Are you high maintenance? A lot of times a gig you will get might come from a recommendation. If you’re nice to people, they will introduce you to other people. People want to help people because it only helps them. Which brings me to my next point. How do you meet these people?
Be EVERYWHERE. If you have an off night. Go watch a show. If you have nothing, try to find a guest set somewhere. Do a 5 minute spot. It can’t hurt. You may learn something. You may meet someone. I met a guy at an open mic once who offered me a gig for $1,000. I’ll let you know by the time this is published if it was a real offer or not. But I’ve had other smaller offers come through random shows. I wrote one of my favorite jokes while on my way to go watch a show. Be at the right place at the right time. Madden will still be there when you get home.
Take every opportunity seriously. I once hosted a contest at Snoqualmie Casino. I was very young in my career. I met some great comics. Two of them ended up becoming my best friends.
I won’t go into great detail, but they both ended up getting me work. Because they were both well connected, and/ or even book shows themselves.
That’s another thing that will get you noticed. If you can get other comics work. Word spreads FAST. Take advantage. I did my best to book the room with who I thought was funny and not just who could get me work. Most of times both worked out and one or two bookings I’m not proud of. They got me work though. I challenge any politician to prove a better moral record. 🙂
Another point I want to make with these two friends. They became great for writing with. Sometimes, it takes another person to smack you upside the head and say “Hey, that’s actually really funny.” or “Hey, that’s a terrible joke idea.” Not every person you meet and befriend is going to be a great writing partner, and lots of comics like to offer their ideas. If you find someone you click with and someone who knows where your preferences are, hold on to that.
Which brings me to another point I’ve learned from my dad (maybe he should write a book) and the main point of this entry from ANT. RELATIONSHIPS.
I know I’ve blogged about this a zillion times. Conan’s last speech wasn’t “Work hard, and be a dick to everybody and people will be like you know what, that guys an asshole but he’s really talented. I guess I’ll just hire him anyway.” Some people are all business. That might work the percentages, but the most valuable business is built on a relationship. Consumer trusts the Company. I think on stage the audience has to trust you as well.
In short: Keep good relations with everyone. You never know where it will lead. Now. Who wants to help me move at the end of the month?