Ryan Hamilton – Don’t Compare Yourself to Other Comedians
I met Ryan Hamilton when he came to Laughs Comedy Spot in Kirkland. I didn’t get to actually perform but I wanted to watch like I always do when I have a weekend off. I wish I spent more time watching his show. He was clean, and hilarious and very very nice off stage. I told him about the book and he kind of lit up. He just seemed impressed. He flipped through a couple pages and was like “wow this is cool.” He wrote in it and I read it later and laughed.
This is another entry that may seem straight forward but continues to provide extra context every day. “Don’t compare yourself to other comedians. Only measure your progress against what you know is your own potential.” I can imagine it’s the same for anything entertainment wise but Comedy is very competitive and as I mentioned before there’s no shortcut, there’s no easy way in. Comedians can be competitive by nature, therefore the common question of “How long have you been doing it?” will come up. When I say “A year and a half.” People assume I’m still new. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert. But I’m a non-beginner. My year and a half was a lot different than your average first year. I did 300 shows in my first year. I was unemployed so I could spend every day writing, and thinking about how to get better at comedy and then going to do shows every night I could. Some people sort of dip in. Go every once in a while, stop for a while or get lazy and don’t write. Even comics that are a couple years in take months off sometimes.
So my year and a half has brought me much more than the average comic would get a year and a half in. This in turn results in envy and sometimes “hate” headed my way from comics who have been doing it longer. My good friend and comic Gabriel Rutledge once compared it to flying. “It’s a matter of how many hours you have in the plane. Not how long ago you took your first lesson.” So there’s no reason for them to get mad. Just work harder and you can get things you think you deserve too.
It’s a trap 90% of comics fall into. They compare themselves to others around them. Good or Bad. “This guy started at the same time. I’m doing way better than him.” or “Why is he getting that? I started before him.” – If you measure your progress against what you know you’re capable of then you can never be mad at anybody else for your lack of progress. “Everyone has their own unique individual path you can only find it by following your gut.” EVERY headliner in Seattle I’ve talked to has said the same thing. “You pass some people, and some people pass you. It happens to everybody.”
As I keep mentioning. There’s no right way to go about it. There’s no wro- Well. I’m sure there’s a couple wrong ways. But you get the point (hopefully) by now. The only way to do it is to do it and figure out your best path as you go. Am I repeating myself in this book too much yet? You’ll notice a lot of this advice is complementary. That’s my favorite thing about the book.
“Also, start a book of advice from all the headliners you work with, it will be a valuable resource.”
Well, now I’m just blushing. I’ve had a couple people come tell me they wish they had a book like mine. There’s no copyright. DO IT! Why wouldn’t you? Let’s pool it together and make each other better. The book is free on my facebook if you want to read it. The better we all get, the better for everyone.