Lesson

3 Pillars of Success

The 3 Pillars of Remarkable Comedians

How No-Name Comedians Kill It On Stage and Grow Their Fan Base

Many new comedians think comedy success is about writing the best punchlines. They view success in stand-up similar to success in other jobs: effectiveness and motivation leads to success. They assume that success looks like this:

  1. Learn how to write & tell jokes
  2. Use motivation and desire for success to write better and better jokes.
  3. Eventually, you’ll have the “best jokes” and, therefore, you’ll be the “best comedian.”

While improving material is obviously important, this is way too narrow a view of success. I call this strategy The Effectiveness Treadmill because you’re always working hard and never actually getting anywhere. A treadmill is a perfect analogy for 2 reasons:

First, the more motivated you are to compete on jokes, the higher you’ll crank up the treadmill.

I know this from personal experience. I ran myself into the ground trying “to win.” My philosophy was “If someone beats me then it sure as hell isn’t going to be because they wanted it more.” I thought this philosophy would practically guarantee my success, but it made me so focused on “writing better jokes” that I missed all of the creative opportunities to my left and right.

Second, even a complete idiot could step off and pass someone on a treadmill.

Motivation is only important when it’s being put towards the right goal. The faster you crank up The Effectiveness Treadmill, the less creative you’ll be. Strangely enough, it’s the “slightly” lazy people who often win in creative industries simply because they’re more likely to notice opportunities. They find an easier path that goes straight to the top. Meanwhile, the highly competitive people are trying to force a conventional strategy to work.

Here’s a hard truth…

Creativity isn’t fair.
Creativity isn’t supposed to be fair.
Creativity is incredibly unfair –
but only to the uncreative.

 

Three Pillars of Successful Comedians

Great comedians share three characteristics, regardless of style. These 3 pillars didn’t come from nowhere. They evolved with the industry as a whole.

  1. The Pillar of Effectiveness
  2. The Pillar of Uniqueness
  3. The Pillar of Authenticity

 

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