14 9 / 2011
Again, disclaimer for spelling, grammatical errors and any other thing that would make you go “this guy didn’t do well in English.” Just don’t ask Mrs. Childress to back up your theory.
So, I’m not going to Vegas for the World Series of Comedy this year. I made the call, talked to Joe Lowers (the organizer) and told him not this year. I passed. As soon as I said it, I felt relief.
Why? I’ll tell you.
Here’s the deal, there were three main factors in passing: timing, money and readiness. Let’s address these shall we? (Again, I’m typing out loud, you get to come along for the ride if you so wish.)
Here’s the deal with the World Series of Comedy, hereafter referred to as the WSOC (it’s an acronym). There’s two ways to get invited to compete. One was to win a satellite competition at a comedy club sponsoring the event. They had about 12 of these across the country. However, they didn’t have one in Dallas. The other option was to enter for the main event in Vegas. You enter and submit your best 5 minute video. If I remember correctly I submitted around late January or early February. Then you wait ……and wait …………………………..and wait.
They announced the winners on August 22nd and the contest is September 19th-24th. So, that’s basically 1 month to prepare, make reservations, flights, hotel, juggle real life work (see daytime stuff that pays the bills). When I got the news I was in, I WAS GOING, no matter what. Then, after the excitement of being picked wore off, I started evaluating. I’m an analyzer, I can’t help it.
You may be thinking it’s a no brainer, GO! Yeah, I thought that too. So, I emailed a couple of people that competed last year to ask them if it was worth it. One said yes, the other said no. I don’t want to go into their reasons because they were personal. Armed with that and advice from a couple of close comic buddies who’ve collectively been in the game for over 20 years I came to the conclusion I wasn’t ready this year.
My ego was ready and I think I’ve got a handful of good bits. However, if L.A. taught me anything it’s if you’re not ready and blow it, it’s much harder than laying low, honing and getting better.
The key here is, along with the actual competition, there’s events all week, the most interesting is a meet and greet with bookers of comedy clubs all over the country. They’re also judges in the competition. So, if you blow it, you blow it in front of your potential employers.
Again, up until L.A. I was impatient, ready to conquer the world with my awesome comedy, let’s speed this up shall we mentality. Nine days later I realize why this takes time.
I just celebrated two years in comedy and not to toot my own horn (ok, TOOT TOOT), I think I’ve been very fortunate for someone just two years in. I’ve been very lucky to have had places like the Improv call me to perform, not the other way around. I was involved in the creation of the Laugh Mafia and performed 3 shows to great crowds (although see my previous post about the last show). I made it to the Funniest Comic in Texas wildcard finals and have got to feature for touring comedians and get paid doing it. Crazy!
But, there’s so much more to do here locally.
If you’re reading this and you’re a comedian and you think I’m crazy, please do go prove me wrong and make it quicker than others. It CAN happen. Paul Varghese was headlining after 1 year. I love a good success story, IF the person deserves it. He does.
There are some people that are naturals the first time they walk on the stage. For others it takes time to perfect. It only took Ellen DeGeneres 4 years to make it to the Carson show AND get invited to sit with Johnny. If you know your comedy history, you know that’s amazing.
So, as Joe, the founder of WSOC reassured me, I wasn’t the first person to enter, get accepted and pass, and he asked me to register again next year. IF I make it next year, at just 3 years in, I’ll be more ready.
I now know that it’s not total BS to say, It’s an honor just being picked. Because it is.