Reader question: What is a comedian's ultimate career goal?

By | December 3, 2010 at 3:18 pm | 2 comments | News, Opinion | Tags: ,

You may have noticed the “Ask us your comedy questions” graphic on our pages. It links up to our page on Formspring, wherein you can ask a question and I’ll answer it! You can also ask us a question through our Tumblr page. Some of those sessions will end up here on our daily blog. Today, I’m answering the following question, which comes from our Formspring page:

What is a comedian’s ultimate goal in their career? Do most want to be an actor, late night host, or try to be the best stand-up comedian? Is it a personal preference? Thanks!

It’s a personal preference, for sure. I would say the majority of beginning comedians start telling jokes onstage because they see themselves turning that into career– that is, becoming a stand-up comedian who’s able to support him/herself playing clubs across the country.

I think there’s a smaller percentage of performers who decide to start doing stand-up because they’re generally a theatrical person; maybe they’ve been active in plays and musicals throughout their schooling and see stand-up as an extension of that and/or yet another performance challenge for them. I’d imagine these are the young comedians who are always looking for something more. And I don’t mean that in a disparaging way. It’s just that some comics see stand-up comedy as part of an exit strategy. They may think: it’ll get my name out there; it’s good training for whatever acting jobs come my way; it’s a good way to network, etc…

I interviewed Daniel Tosh in 2005; he was honest about what he wanted to do eventually. He always wanted to be a late-night talk show host. And he’s well on his way with the success of Tosh.0. But he’s also one of the best stand-up comedians of our time. And I believe he’s passionate about the art form; he just sees himself branching out. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

About the Author

Dylan P. Gadino

Dylan is the founder and editor in chief of Laughspin. He launched Punchline Magazine in 2005 (which became Laughspin in the summer of 2011) with childhood friend Bill Bergmann. Dylan lives in northern New Jersey with his wife and two sons. He hopes the Shire is real.

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  • Lawson

    I met a comedian at an open mic that told me he was ONLY doing stand up to get back into acting. He had some done minor film roles in Seagal movies, like a ninja that Seagal takes out with one chop etc. This really bothered me because I felt like the art of stand up was being vastly underappreciated by this guy. But I realized that whether he did stand up or not, he wasn’t going to appreciate stand up, so it didn’t matter. And if his dream was to be an actor, I shouldn’t judge him too harshly.

    I love stand up comedy, my hero is George Carlin, who started doing comedy as a means to an end, but eventually just tried to be the best comedian he could, and is now a legend. That’s the career I want.

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