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.