Being a Stand-up Comedian is like being an Extra in a Movie

This post features references to:
– South park
– The Exponential Function
– Seinfeld’s Four Levels of Comedy
– Lessons Learned from Gladwell’s Outliers
– Enjoying life Buddhist-style
– 2k11 Soca via Machel Montano

Just replace the word, ‘extra’ with ‘amateur stand-up comedian’ and you’ll see what it’s like to be a noob comic (best part 1:39):

Trying to get a Piece of the Action

Being a new stand-up comedian is like being an extra in a movie. You’re kinda, just…there. The movie can’t really happen without you, but if they replaced you, nobody would notice.

You’re standing beside celebrities and then – aww!

…they’re gone. ‘I really wanted to talk to that guy’ you say. Sometimes a pro comic will laugh (absent-mindedly) at your quip and you think, ‘If I can make them laugh, then I can make anyone laugh! Excelsior!’ (shout out to South Park and Al Gore)

But it’s not that straight forward.


Extrapolating One Laugh Using The Stardom Function

You Career in Comedy as a Mathematical function - and Jagdeocomedy on Twitter

When we make someone laugh, we extrapolate that one laughter into dreams of making thousands of people laugh using Seinfeld’s Four Levels of Comedy:

Make your friends laugh, Make strangers laugh, Get paid to make strangers laugh, and Make people talk like you because it’s so much fun.

If that pro comic can do it, I can do it. What one man can do, another can too. I put my pants on the same way they do…


Hidden Behind Your Pro Comic

But behind the jeanèd, unkempt façade of your headliner is THOUSANDS OF HOURS of practise, stage time, bombed sets, and reflection à la Gladwell’s Outliers.

In the beginning, all I saw was a guy in a t-shirt and jeans making funny observations followed by raucous laughter. ‘I can do that‘ I thought. And yes…I can…but not on a regular basis.

You see, the comedian that headlines the show brings with him an act that has been honed, carved, reworked, and then marinated in funny for approximately 3-5 years. It’s as if to kill on stage, you must have died there too.


So What’s An Amateur Comic To Do?

Enjoy the ride. Bomb when you bomb, kill when you kill. Try and make sense of the world along the way. Enjoy yourself. Fall in love with being on stage a la OnMySquare.

The lay buddhist sits where the opposites meet and abides at the intersection of the conflicting universes. The zero point holds all opposites. since nothing is separate from freedom, not even a moment of forgetting is problematic. We do not seek refuge from our life, we do not consider our life to be limiting, and we do not create problems out of our life. Our life is freedom. – Rodney Smith, Stepping out of Self-Deception

Vibes cyah done,

Michael 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
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