With comedy powerhouses like Louie CK coming out with over an hour of quality material every year, the bar is set high for anyone seeking a piece of the spotlight. Is competition the best motivator?
I had the pleasure this month of sitting for a chai latte with local comedian, active artist and all around good character, Donovan Deschner.
Deschner runs the very successful Red Carpet Comedy show at Lolita Lounge of Inglewood. RCC is not for the weak of the comedy world and requires all its professionals to perform only fresh material. So adamant Deschner is towards comics keeping on their toes, he has embarked on a personal mission of 52 weeks and 52 new sets of material. The web series can be found at 260minutes.com.
Still fairly new to the industry, I question everything I hear. I found Deschner’s strategy very interesting as it is at the opposite end of the creative spectrum from what I was taught less than a year ago from Jim McAleese, a professional comic and stand-up instructor at The Second City in Toronto. McAleese has virtually been performing the same act for 20 years and, while he knows he is not about to blast to the top, he is a consistent crowd pleaser and knows his honed set will always go over.
No path is a wrong one so long as people are being entertained. It simply boils down to the ambitions of the performer. It is a new world for the comedian. We have passed the point where one had to wait for a chance to be in front of an audience before even the chance at making a break. Now you can build your own audience so it’s there for you when you’re ready. With so many different free media to choose from, we have no one to blame but ourselves if we aren’t constantly pushing our career to new capacities.
“At some point in the past five or six years, everything changed. The industry doesn’t need the gate-keepers anymore,” Deschner says, referring to Patton Oswalt’s letter to the industry at Just for Laughs last year. “People are getting comedy album records just off YouTube.”
I ask him about the value of a fan or follower.
“They choose to follow, so the marketing is totally this permission-based thing where they’re saying, ‘Yes, I’m interested in what you have to offer.’ Which is better than yelling out the window at people passing by, hoping something will hit.” Not surprisingly, Deschner is a daily Twitter user.
If you have what it takes, the answer is simple. Produce lots of good content and you will find success. Be available, be fresh and, most of all, be funny. Something I’ve ironically managed to go through this entire comedy article without doing. Awesome.
If you are looking to try something fresh, I’d like to invite you to a brand new concept beginning October 7 and running every Sunday Night at the Winkin Owl on Bow Bottom Trail at 8 p.m. “Pop Culture” is an exciting game show and web series featuring Trivia, Bar Games, Online interactions, musical guests, and yours truly. Find more information at fatcityentertainment.com. See you there.