What are the exceptions to the rule?

It doesn’t happen that often, but at least once a month someone will email me disagreeing with something I’ve written because they’ve been successful doing the opposite.  Stage names, wardrobe, doing blue humor, and so on…  Honestly, I’m happy you’re successful the way you are.  Whatever your quirk is, you get away with it despite what my book or this blog says.  I’m not being sarcastic, congratulations.  However, the majority (I’d put it above 90%) of comics cannot get away with being an exception on a majority of “rules.”  You would agree, right?  Whatever exception to the rule you are, you don’t want everyone else doing that too.  Realize that I’m writing for a bulk of mostly newer comics who want to eventually start making money.  So without trying to sound terse…This week’s tip:  There’s no need to email me because you’re an exception to a rule.  I state that there are always exceptions very early in Don’t Wear Shorts on Stage.  If you want to debate something that I write that applies to a majority of comics, that’s fine.  We’re all mature enough to avoid personal insults.

There are exceptions to almost every rule.  The problem is, you may be taking a longer, less profitable road to get to where you want to be.  If you’re okay with that, that’s your choice, I don’t need to know about it.  If you got there quicker, good job.

That wasn’t much of a tip so I’ll write more.  My friend Chad Wallace (follow him @Black SuperGeek on Twitter), asked about inviting friends to shows .  Frustrated with this issue of friends coming to shows, I wrote this about it over a year ago.  Still, everyone likes to perform to a fuller room so you want to invite them.  My real advice for the week is this:  Don’t send a Facebook invite.  Odds are that if you’ve done this before, they’ve already clicked to ignore all Facebook invites from you.  Mass texts with a picture of the show’s poster is also an annoying no-no.  My suggestion is to send an email individually.  If you have the time (you do), write a short custom email to each of your friends.  I know this takes a lot longer but you’re actually “working” on comedy.  With the time you take to design your fancy poster you could’ve emailed dozens of people individually.

The above advice is of course for newer comics…the rest of us wear our friends out on shows and they usually only come when we’re with someone famous.  Don’t take offense to that.  I wouldn’t go and see me all that often either.  Twice a year is enough.

So what do you do if you’re sick of doing open mic night in front of less than a dozen people?  Buy my book and find out.

And Chad is definitely one of the comics well on his way to bigger crowds.


About Rob Durham

With an English Degree, three years as a doorman at the Columbus Funnybone, over a decade of stand-up experience, and a recent certification in teaching high school English class, writing a book seemed like the next inevitable step for Rob Durham. The son of a coach, Rob has an excellent ability to teach and explain things in the easiest and most direct way possible. His (often labeled ridiculous) memory allows him to think of every possible situation that a new comic might face because at one point he was there too. Rob gives an inside look at comedy that doesn’t sugarcoat the challenges every performer faces. Without ego and the myth that “anyone can do it” Rob gives the reader a true feel of what living the so-called dream feels like, from preparing for that first open mic night to touring the country. View all posts by Rob Durham

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