A Day In The Life Of An Amateur Comedian

I’m sick. I need to make money. I’m neck and neck in a two-man race to win a spot to be on TV. I need to tighten material because I’m on a big show on Sunday. Mmmmm….sounds like one of those good problems.

Feel Better

Ever have someone tell you, ‘Feel better‘ when you’re sick? Am I the only one that finds that a bit impersonal? You might as well slap me across the face before telling me that. And we’re going to have problems if you give me the, Well, feel better.’ Them’s fightin’ words.

Anyhoo, I’m sick. I woke up on Monday morning unable to draw in a full breath and my cough was so painful that I had to brace myself every time I hacked. Later that day, I went to the walk-in clinic. Ninety bucks later, I had the meds I needed.

Damn it. For a cheap guy like myself, at that price, the cure was almost worst than the disease.

Make Money

It’s been awhile since I had a good paycheque. I’m a freelancer of sorts, teaching courses in personal finance and recruiting technical experts for large IT organizations. Yesterday, I found out that one of my candidates signed on the line that is dotted, which means sweet, sweet money for me.

I may not be making oodles of cash, but oodles of cash just isn’t worth working 10 hours a day and having to deal with a boss. I eat light, date cheap, go for walks, exercise, meditate, write jokes and get on stage. Sure I’d like to travel, but that will come once I start touring, which is only a matter of time.

Competition For A Spot On Late Night With Matty D


Matt Drappel hosts a show on RogersTV called, ‘Late Night With Matty D.’ Two months ago, he started a competition to win a four-minute stand-up comedy spot on his show. I put my name in the hat and started promoting my poor shoes joke on Facebook, this blog, Twitter, Linkedin, etc.

Two weeks ago, I found out that the finalists were myself and a hilarious comic named Calwyn Shurgold. The winner would be the one with the most Likes on their YouTube video. I met Calwyn from doing shows with my mentor Quinn C. Martin and knew it would be a fight. Oh, and he was on ET freakin’ Canada after winning a comedy competition.

Early on, he was beating me 11 Likes to 6, and part of me said, ‘Ahh, if I win I win…’ But then I stopped myself and realized, ‘Damn, this is what I really want. I really want to win this thing. I need to do whatever it takes to get on TV.

Yesterday was the deadline for YouTube Likes, and I didn’t even know if they would tally the Likes in the morning or at midnight. My original plan was to work on getting Likes the day before, but like I mentioned above, my throat was so bad I could hardly breathe.

So, I started messaging friends on Facebook, seeing how they were, updating them on my situation, and asking them to view my video.
Request for a Like On LNW Matty D
I remembered a motivational strategy called, ‘Small Wins Theory.’ It said that when you have a project, you should divide the endeavour into milestones. The theory went onto say that each time you hit a milestone, you should celebrate the achievement, thereby building momentum. So, I took out a piece of paper, wrote my goal to get from 21 Likes to 50 by the end of the day, and celebrated all day long using checkmarks.

Like Tallying Using Small Wins Theory
Long story short, I went from 21 Likes to 48 in less than a day. Around 7pm, Matt hit me up on Facebook asking me to come down on July 23rd at 5PM…I’d got the spot! For all of those who Liked the video, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. It means a lot.

The biggest thing I learned is that I can now start promoting my own shows. If I can get 48 Likes on a video, it stands to reason I can get 10-20 people out to a show at $5. That kind of platform would give me the chance to build a paid following and start hosting on a semi-regular basis.

Getting On Stage At Yuk Yuk’s

yuk yuk's

Earlier that day I called into Yuk Yuk’s, Canada’s number one comedy club chain, requesting a chance to perform on their Amateur Night. At 4PM, I found out that I got a spot!

But my voice?! The medication was definitely making a dent, but I was still periodically hacking. So, I took my puffs around 6pm instead of at night to try and cram as much healing in as possible before I got on stage.

Oh yeah, and to top it all off, I wasn’t sure which bits I was going to do, and the time to leave home was drawing nigh. I realized that I had a solid four minutes, but didn’t have a joke to end on a big laugh. So, I truncated my dates vs. evenings joke from three minutes to one, and got in the car…

When I got there, it was relatively quiet for a Yuk Yuk’s, which is usually RAMMED, even on Amateur Night. Oh well! Two of my favourite comedians, John Hastings and Jon Schabl, were on stage, so I was going to have a great time regardless.

My name was last, which either meant that that I was the amateur headliner…or just the last person. Anyhoo, here’s the clip. You can hear my voice cracking with what might be the plague at 0:45:

How Was Your Day?

All in all, I love my life. I’m on the road to recovery health-wise, made money, won a spot to be on TV, and did well at Yuk’s, getting insight into how to exactly delivery my material at Hard Rock on Sunday.

Friend, I pray that you’re living in a way that allows you to pursue your passions. We’re all here for but a flicker of time, so do what you love.

If a white guy from England can be the best reggae DJ in the world, surely we can all follow our dreams…

Jagdeo

About Michael Jagdeo

My name's Michael Jagdeo, and I refuse to write about myself in the third person. I'm a Comedian from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In addition to honing my stand-up comedy act, I maintain this blog and write the weekly comedy article for blogTO.com.
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8 Responses to A Day In The Life Of An Amateur Comedian

  1. Another good post bro. Congrats on the spot. I hope you don’t forget us little people when you are headlining the Montreal Comedy Festival

    • Hey Mike!

      Thanks again for the kind words. And no, I will never forget the supporters…because when things take off I want to take as many friends with me! I’ll fly you out to Canada soon enough to do a tour!

      Jagdeo

  2. Marvin says:

    I’ve never heard of this “Late Night with Matty D” show. Looks really ghetto with that cardboard sign of theirs. Anyways, so let me get this straight. You just had to upload a 1min stand up clip and then the number of likes you got is what determined if you won a spot to perform on the show? Seems pretty simple and not a bad idea. I haven’t done any open mics in a month and I haven’t touched my material in a while. Kind of got side tracked and discouraged about my material. How would you get out of this phase? Maybe you should critique some my material eh?

    • Hello Friend!

      Yeah, I’m pretty sure they went for the ghetto look intentionally with regards to the sign.

      And yep! They called for 1-2 minute video submissions for the competition and that’s how I entered.

      I hear ya when you talk about getting discouraged from going to open mics…it happens to all of us. You feel like it’s a waste of time, like nobody laughs at them, and that if you were just in a bigger, better venue that people would laugh…or maybe I’m just projecting all of my feelings into you.

      But hang in there man! It gets better. Jokes that bombed for me tonight (I did Groove Bar 30 minutes ago) did well at Yuks on Tuesday. All I know is stage time cures all.

      I’m in no position to critique material though. Add me to FB and we’ll hit up a stage together!

      Jagdeo

      • Marvin says:

        Hah, well I didn’t mean ‘critique.’ I just meant, tell me if you like it. I’m an alternative edgy comic, so only like 10% of the audience laughs at my jokes, but they Laugh hard. Not just a ‘hah oh that’s funny.”

        I think I might just add you, sounds like a plan!

        • Hey man,

          Yeah, if you have 10% of the crowd laughing at your subversive material, might I suggest contacting Neil Griffin. He’s a comedy producer out of Brampton and runs, ‘The Dirty Show’ where ANYTHING goes. It sounds like if you get a crowd full of 10 percenters you would be in a position to CRUSH.

          Glad to add you on FB! Did Rene Armando Payes’ Spillin the Beans Open mic at Full of Beans on Dundas W. and things went well.

          Let’s keep getting on stage!

          Jagdeo

          • Marvin says:

            Neil Griffin eh, never heard of him, but thanks for the tip. “The Dirty Show” is Exactly what I’ve been looking to do.

            Nice to hear things went well at that Spillin the Beans Open Mic. How many people are in that audience?

            • Hey Marv!

              Yes, Neil Griffin’s show would be perfect. Hit him up on FB via http://www.facebook.com/griffineil To get on his shows, you’d have to go to his open mic, which happens every Wednesday evening starting at 8pm. Impress him 1-2 times, and he’ll put you on a show.

              The audience at Spillin the Beans are mostly comedians (10-20) on any given Saturday, but it’s a really supportive crowd. In fact, it’s probably my most favourite room to do because of the positive vibes in the room.

              Best of luck!

              Jagdeo

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