One of my subscribers just forwarded me a link to an article by comedian Doug Stanhope called Comedy Death Camp and I have to say…
I very much appreciate his brutally honest and acerbic assessment of the stand-up comedy education industry overall.
As indicated in his article, many stand-up comedy teachers never reached a level where they got paid for their stand-up comedy skill.
For the very few who have…
It would appear that they really can’t offer much outside the set-up/punchline/tag line definitions that you can find online for free. But they do seem to charge a premium for that…
One of the reasons that I have struggled myself in the stand-up comedy education world is because of the massive trail that has been blazed before me by what I can only describe as charlatans who prey on people’s dreams and desires to become a comedian—whether they actually have the talent, drive or desire needed to succeed or not.
More often than not, my system and I get lumped into this crowd of what Doug appropriately identifies as snake oil salesmen.
And I have to say I that I completely understand why.
I have known for years that I could literally triple the sales of my own system for developing stand-up comedy material if I would simply guarantee that I could “make” anyone funny or a “comedy star” if they just purchased my stuff.
I simply can’t do that, nor will I ever.
Ask anyone who is a real headlining comedian — while they may make it look like a breeze to entertain an audience, stand-up comedy not only requires baseline comedy talent that has been honed to a razor’s edge, it but it also requires tremendous determination and drive that most people simply do not possess.
Stand-up comedy is arguably the most difficult and challenging of the performing arts. It is not for the weak and only the strongest truly survive and thrive.
And it certainly doesn’t help when those who haven’t even had much success on the comedy stage try to teach it.
When I was in the Navy (ret. 1999), only the top performers were selected to teach others because once a student leaves school, they actually have to be able to perform at a high level and get real results. Otherwise people can perish — literally.
The opposite appears to be true in stand-up comedy. The old adage of “those who can’t do teach” is alive and well in the comedy education business.
A lot of people think I make serious bank as a stand-up comedy educator selling my Killer Stand-up Online Course.
Well, here’s a shocker for you — that’s simply not true.
I make a very modest living selling my system and the very few ancillary products I offer primarily because of my unpopular position on “learning” stand-up comedy:
No amount of stand-up comedy education, no matter how great it may be or appear to be, can help the talentless — not my system or anyone else’s for that matter.
An individual cannot “learn” to simply “write” themselves into having a “funny” personality or into delivering headline level comedy material — they MUST have some baseline comedy talent to begin with.
Even with raw comedy talent, just knowing the definitions of stand-up comedy terms and being provided examples of what other comedians have done to get big laughs is largely worthless when it comes to actually understanding how to develop stand-up comedy material that actually gets the big laughs on an individual level.
And in stand-up comedy, NOTHING will ever take the place of experience, which an individual must acquire on their own.
And because I dare say those sorts of things…
Does my business suffer? From a financial gain aspect, I would have to say without a doubt.
But there is much more involved for me than mere financial gain when it comes to teaching others stand-up comedy.
What really keeps me going as a stand-up educator is being able to see folks get real results on stage as a result of what I teach — from all over the planet.
If it was all about the money, I can assure you that I would have been out of the comedy education business long ago.
I have to applaud comedian Doug Stanhope for telling it like it is (who I don’t know and never heard of before I read his angry, but accurate article).
As a matter of fact…
For those who are in the Mecca’s of stand-up comedy (L.A. and New York) and are considering jumping into stand-up comedy, as far as I am concerned, his Comedy Death Camp article is a MUST read.
And with any luck, I won’t end up being lumped in with his Comedy Death Camp crowd. But if not, I can still use the traffic. 🙂