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Building a career in comedy — be it on the stage or the screen — is no small task. Many talented people have cast their hats in the ring of this incredibly competitive industry only to come up short. Despite the long odds, however, hope in this field seems to endure and passionate people around the world still strive to see their names in lights. So, to assist our readers in this pursuit, we’ve turned to a familiar name in the field, Andrew Alexander, a comedy producer who’s played a pivotal role in launching the careers of some of the best-known comedians of the modern era. Information pulled from his life as well as other sources may be helpful for those seeking their own degree of success in the field.
There’s no single path
The first thing to understand when seeking out a career in comedy is that there’s really no single path to follow. This is a time-tested truth that becomes apparent each time a new comedian makes it big through a path that was uniquely their own. Depending on your mindset, this can either be supremely freeing or supremely frustrated. The freedom can come from the notion that your career is really yours to craft in the way that best speaks to you. The frustration can come from the feeling that you may not have access to all the answers at the start of your journey. While this may feel scary, that uncertainty is often an integral part of the comedian’s career path. Making peace with that sooner rather than later can be crucial to moving forward.
For his part, Andrew Alexander has shown the power that can come from seeking out your passion and sticking to it. The comedy producer has spoken often about the early days of his career in the mid-1970s when he was still trying to find where that passion lay. It wasn’t until he happened upon the world of improv comedy that he began to understand how he might be able to make a lasting contribution to the space. He recalls sitting in the audience of such shows and being struck by how vividly the work spoke to him. He figured if it spoke to him in that manner, it might speak to others as well. Thus began a career in the field that has lasted decades and has helped change comedy in numerous positive and profound ways.
A career in comedy involves a lot of rejection, there’s simply no way around it. Even the great comedians that have been featured on some of the world’s biggest stages were once unknown performers trying to make a name for themselves. During such a time in a person’s career, it’s inevitable that they will be honing their craft and getting others to understand what particular style of performance they can bring to their work. While performers are growing, finding their voice, and communicating it to others, they’re likely going to meet people who just don’t get what they are trying to do.
These interactions are commonplace, especially at the start of a career. Rather than letting one club owner or television executive dash out their dreams, the enduring names in comedy just kept going. That same spirit can be of use to those struggling to make their way in the field today. Rather than taking such direction as a sign that you’re not on the right track, it may be helpful to use it as further motivation. A certain level of desire to prove the doubters wrong can be an asset for those seeking success in comedy.
It should be said, however, that there is also value in taking feedback. An impartial observer may have some powerful insights into how a comedian may be able to improve their work. The ability to take feedback without letting it derail their aspirations can be the mark of someone who will be able to progress towards their ultimate goals.
Patience is important
Success can take time. That may not be the most popular opinion to communicate to a novice comedian but, for better or worse, it’s generally true. Most of the popular performers featured in films and on television today took years to build their careers before they reached their current level of success. If you’re not willing to wait that long, it may be a good idea to decide if this pursuit is really the right one for you.
We can see the power of patience illustrated in the life of Andrew Alexander himself. Though much of his later work centers around Chicago and Los Angeles, one of the first major moves in his career was to begin producing improv in Toronto. He worked primarily in this role for years before he expanded to Chicago and eventually elsewhere. That dedication and focus on one area before moving on to others helped set him up for success down the line.
Maintain your passion
By this point, it should be apparent that building a career in comedy is typically neither quick nor easy. As a result, many hopeful comedians can find themselves burning out before they find the widespread success that they’re craving. While only you can make the decision of how dedicated you want to be to your career, it can certainly be true that maintaining the passion that first sparked your interest can help you survive in the long run. If you find that passion dwindling, it can be critical to stoke it again, because without it you may have difficulty staying motivated for your larger pursuits.
While building a career in comedy can be a difficult undertaking, it’s not impossible. In most cases, it takes a large amount of talent, hard work, and dedication to one’s craft. In addition, it can help to pull life lesson’s from those who have previously found success in the field. Andrew Alexander is one such person whose life can help inform those who are new to comedy. The above overview of information pulled from the producer’s work, as well as elsewhere in the field, can be of use to anyone trying to make their way in this competitive pursuit. Use the lessons found above as best you can and, with a healthy bit of luck, you may eventually find success in your own comedic undertakings.