Why You Need To Work Harder to Make a Living in Comedy

I have the answer for you.  The answer to a series of questions you may have found yourself asking.

  • Why didn’t I get that gig?
  • Why don’t I draw a crowd when I perform?
  • Why did another comic get selected instead of me for a comedy festival?
  • Why am I not headlining yet?
  • Why have I not made it on TV yet?

The answer, about 99% of the time is simple.  You just aren’t working hard enough.  Really, Matt, how the fuck do you know how hard I am working? Well, truthfully, unless I am very close to you, I don’t.  So where do I get off saying this?  Simple.  I don’t work hard enough.  That’s right.  The guy that is telling you, that you aren’t achieving what you want in comedy, isn’t achieving as much as he would like in comedy because he knows he doesn’t work hard enough.  Now, that doesn’t mean I am the hardest working mother fucker in comedy.  It just means I know how hard I work, and after assessing what I do on a day-to-day basis KNOW without a shred of doubt if I worked harder I would get further.

Personal Activity Inventory

I have a challenge for you, especially if you believe you DO work hard enough to achieve any or all of the bullet points mentioned above.  For one week, write down EVERYTHING you do that consumes more than 10 minutes of your time. BE HONEST.  Include everything you do including the tasks related to your comedy.  I did it, and here is what I found out.

  • Being a Dad/Husband 24 hours a week (This doesn’t count every waking second and this one is good to be number 1! No harm, no foul here or time to worry about saving)
  • Working on my house (gardening, trying to sell my house, mowing grass etc) 16 Hours (Yeah, this one is pretty much required for me too with little time to cut out simply because I am trying to sell my house.
  •  Looking at Facebook (6 Hours)   Wow, and I barely look at it.  This one was even hard to track, I had to stop myself and write it down after reading a specific comment thread because it was so long.  How much time SHOULD I be on facebook?  TOPS 10 minutes a day.  That saves me nearly 5 HOURS.
  • Other Smartphone Shit including playing this really addictive Pool game (8 HOURS).  Seriously?  I could knock this as well down to 10-15 minutes a day. THIS INCLUDES TWEETING!  As a result I would save over 6 HOURS
  • Comedy Festival Stuff  (6-8 Hours) This varies by the time of year.  Perhaps I could spread this over the entire year and lower it to 4 hours, saving 2 hours.
  • Everything related to my OWN comedy, booking, writing, rehearsing, Open-Mics and everything. 1 Hour WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK?  Well, to briefly explain, I am exhausted from working on the house and being a father, so I have slacked off.  That simply means I am making excuses.  I say this because clearly I have time to play a pool game on my phone and look at Instagram, but not to WRITE COMEDY??

I don’t care if you work 40 hours a week at a job, have two kids and are a soccer coach. IF YOU WANT TO MAKE IT IN COMEDY, YOU HAVE TO DEDICATE TIME TO IT. PERIOD.

If you think that most comedians end up on Comedy Central or The Tonight Show, or booked for the Bonnaroo Music Festival out of straight luck, you are a fool.  It takes working constantly at improving your craft to eventually be good enough that it is recognized by the folks that help further your career.

Here is a list of things you COULD be doing

  • Working on a new five minutes of stage material
  • Writing for a blog (that utilizes your comedy)
  • Making new connections via social media in hopes of later turning them into real life connections
  • Developing content for your own web site, twitter account, YouTube channel etc. Instagram etc..(as many of these as you can handle) NOTE: THIS ONE DOESN’T MEAN SHIT IF YOUR ACT BLOWS.
  • Sending out booking emails and meeting bookers in real life by going to do their shows for free
  • Planning a move to a comedy city with more opportunities

This is just a START.  The majority of the comedians I have met that are making a living in comedy in LA or NY are working their asses off. They HAVE to or they won’t make the rent!  The majority of the folks I meet from smaller cities don’t work as hard because they have something they do other than comedy that pays the rent.  With a lower cost of living WHY wouldn’t you be doing more comedy stuff to further your career???

So remember, it’s time to work harder.  Why haven’t you seen Matt Ward on Comedy Central? Well, perhaps it’s because I am simply not working hard enough and devoting enough time to MY comedy.  This changes TODAY!


Matt Ward

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