So before I sound like a jerk, just let me say that I am not a jerk. Okay, now that that is out of the way, let’s talk about intellectual entrepreneurship (IE). As a comedian, it seems like almost none of this applies to me, I could go on and on about how I find connections in business and acts and club management and all that stuff to make a few decent links but mostly, the comedy world just isn’t there yet, and probably never will be. The only thing I really take away from this article is, much like comedy, you have to pay your dues, and it seems like for the real people with real jobs, there is more and more dues that are due.
Might as well go on about myself, I am an entrepreneur, basically I am my own boss too. I go from club to club, featuring here, M.C.’ing there, doing what I can to build material, get stage time, and hopefully find someone looking for 5 to 30 minutes of funny. My jokes and I are my product. The way I look and act, and the butts I can put and keep in seats is the sale of the product of Me, which can be used for a commercial, or background or acting work. My jokes are also products, mostly tools for stand-up performances, but for everything else like sketch, improv, writing, editing, or any comedic production, they are products. The size and ‘cathartic-ness’ of the laughter at my jokes is basically my sales number, and a video or audience testimony is my pitch. So in this regard, maybe it can be equated to a normal job that IE would strongly suite, but I find it to be a bit of a stretch.
Thinking about what IE can do for people, it would be amazing if there was literally anything out there to help comedians. It is such a DIY universe, it really is amazing and mind boggling. Now, I know there are classes, and writing classes and meetings and seminars, but honestly if you need any of that…good luck. How many 100 to 200 dollar comedy classes are going on around the country taught by guys you’ve never heard of? Not to say they aren’t funny, they’re comedians, and I’ll stand by anyone of them that isn’t an ass any day of the week, we look out for each other. However, it really lends itself to the true nature of the beast, that there is no path. There is no way to go about it, there is a right and wrong, but wrong is just being not funny.
Too be honest, articles like these make me feel a little uneasy, not against them, against myself. It sounds so proper, its like the movie Trading Places with Dan Akroyd and Eddie Murphy. Akroyd is a modern aristocrat, a wealthy, well to do, stockbroker at a giant firm. Murphy is a homeless, cheating, stealing, ruffian. Two jerks (Aykroyd’s character’s employers) make a bet about how your environment shapes you, so they ruin Aykroyd’s well to do character and give all his stuff and lifestyle to Murphys and he becomes like Aykroyd’s and vice versa. A comedically twisted social experiment. I feel like I am doing that with comedy and IE, or at least I could to some extent.
Like all things thought, there are a few problems with this attempt. Forgive me, because I am probably wrong, but my entire education leading into my job as a stand-up…none of it helped. There isn’t a single thing that I have learned in schooling (that I can think of) that has been applicable to my career. I just went out and learned everything I had to about my business on my own. This is where it gets confusing for me, but I am still learning piece by piece every day.
I find it a little odd, instead of working it seems like IE sets up almost a ‘pseudo job’ for you to get wrapped up in, another layer before academia and the workplace. It sounds beneficial and definitely helpful, don’t get me wrong, but I just went and worked and worked to get good. That’s how I got gigs, that’s how I found and continue to find my jobs. I went to a place for beginners, and kept going until I was getting enough laughs for a sustained amount of time, than did it at a place that had more people and higher drink prices. Eventually, the drinks were so pricey and there was so many people, the collectors of these clubs decided give me a few dollars off the top of that profit.
The last thing I want to add, the last parallel I can see between my job and the application of IE is IE helps you realize the scope of work and areas you are capable in. While comedy doesn’t do that for you, being smart about your career, you’ll quickly realize there is a lot of funny that needs to be dealt. Like I mentioned above, comedy includes but isn’t limited to stand-up performances. There are movies, TV shows, plays, sketch groups and improv groups, troupes, articles, columns, entire publications, books, events, benefits, charities, radio, and a lot more, all looking for some idiot to be funny for them or with them. I think that is the biggest application of IE to my field, if that would be at all possible of course.