Credits can get you on certain stages, but they won’t do anything for you once your act begins. In fact, the more the audience is aware of your credits, the higher their expectations are set.
In one of the first shows I hosted back in 2000, a guest set had writing credentials for some episodes of Seinfeld. He didn’t tell me to use this as his intro, but I did anyway (erroneously), and according to the doorman, as soon as I said it the comic swore under his breath on his way to the stage. Then he bombed.
During open mic when I’m trying new stuff, if the host asks if I want a special intro, I decline.
The most common type of credit is “he/she has opened for (famous person).” It sounds impressive to your friends—and sure, other comedians become jealous, but a lot of the time you only land those gigs from being in the right place at the right time. I worked with a lot of big names during the first and worst five years of my career when I probably didn’t deserve to.
“Opened for…” credits are overrated. You know the booker, not the famous comic (or perhaps said famous comic knows you’re easy to follow).
Non-stand-up comedy credits are another illusion. What can you do off-stage that possibly translates to being good at stand-up? Writing? (see above example) Acting? (There are a lot of actors who suddenly think they’re comics).
*The only exception seems to be pro wrestlers. I’ve heard they’re doing great.
Credits can intrigue some people enough to look you up and see if you’re worth giving a chance. Or they can even help you raise your price…but once you’re on that stage, you need to be able to back it up or the people without credits will be the first to mock your pseudo success.
Until the venue needs you more than you need the venue, your credits aren’t that important.
So what credits really matter? The ones that are never announced or posted. Bookers who say you’re funny and tell each other. Their word is trusted more than any comic’s testimonial. They’re always going to be more honest.
It’s okay to be proud of what you’ve done, but it doesn’t mean you’re a better comic than the one people haven’t heard of. It’s how you do on stage that really matters. Keep that in mind next time you get jealous.
For more tips on how to make money in stand-up comedy, check out my book, Don’t Wear Shorts on Stage, available on Amazon, Kindle, Nook, iTunes, etc.