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Thoughts on non-celebrity artists

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout' started by Another Brother, Sep 9, 2018.

  1. Another Brother

    Another Brother Contributing Member

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    A few years ago someone here asked me the question, “When do you stop being a comedian?”. That kind of snark has greatly limited my visits to my once favorite site, but it begged the question then and does so now; do people think that non-celebrity artists are losers? Even more weird is how posters have challenged me to make them laugh in order somehow validate my sole source of income for over 20 years.

    I’m not going to try to build a case either way but I know celebrity performers who are broke and unknown artists who are thriving. The opposite is more rule than exception. Longevity truly means something when it comes to the non-celebrity performer. If someone is doing something that is performance based as a sole source of income and in most cases with families to support, then conventional wisdom would suggest they are good enough to earn a sustainable income, right?

    All I do is stand-up.

    I perform on cruise ships as part of my schedule. I know the specific income demographic of most ships I work. Some guests are condescending towards me, they apparently never consider the fact that I earn more than the average cruise ship passenger.

    Money is not the only qualifier. It’s easy to be Chris Rock or Carrie Underwood once you’ve made it. They’ve paid writers and collaborators to consistently help with new meterial. As a non-celebrity you have to continuously prove yourself capable to different audiences time and time again. Constantly coming up with new things to make relative and different variations of the same themes takes more than a couple of shots of tequila and a giving audience to maintain a degree of success.

    I don’t know why the public perception matters to me so much, but it does. Additionally, and hopefully, this may end up being a resource for folks here who are thinking about trying to make a living outside of their day job. It can happen. I’ve done the math.
     
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  2. heypartner

    heypartner Contributing Member

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    You missed the opportunity to make me laugh with a thread titled "The Story of Another Brother" :)

    I can't imagine a much harder path to a successful career as a Stand-up comedian. cheers. And thanks for the laughs at the 3-4 times I've had the pleasure to see you perform! As you say at the end, I trust your story will indeed inspire (and has inspired) others to give such dreams a try.

    oh, and thanks for all the stories you've shared meeting Rockets players (and Morey) in airports, and such. The Glen Rice one comes to mind as your first?
     
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  3. Svpernaut

    Svpernaut Contributing Member

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    Being a comedian is one of the the most challenging professions one can choose, yet one of the most important. Comedians are our modern day philosophers and are crucial to maintaining free speech and the freedom of thought. Without them continually pushing the envelope we would quickly fall into the status quo becoming the only acceptable speech.

    Just look at the ongoing battle for free speech happening right now around college campuses across the US.
     
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  4. Another Brother

    Another Brother Contributing Member

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    The Glen Rice story was my first post ever. You were one of the first dudes to welcome me to the board. Thanks again HP for your friendship over the years.
     
  5. Another Brother

    Another Brother Contributing Member

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    Indeed! When I started in comedy, of the road shows, cruise ships were the sh*t gig and colleges were the most sought after. Now, it’s totally opposite.
    Comedy clubs are fading fast and Netflix is providing an accessible platform where comics can really make a name for themselves. “Political correctness” almost ruined the live version of the genre before Trump, now we can justify just about anything based on the example that he’s set. I’m sure the President is going to have his own era in the resurgence of stand-up. I’m actually appreciative. He is literally the gift that keeps on giving, and his base provides the backdrop to mitigate just about anything.
     
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  6. Mr. Brightside

    Mr. Brightside Contributing Member

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    Celebrity is a fairly convoluted term these days as random people are able to achieve all sorts of attention due to some one off random event. My neighbor has about 500K followers on her IG just because she likes to travel and post pics of said travel. I guess she is a celeb in some manner as she may be recognized in an airport somewhere.

    Juvenile and Mike Jones who were far more impactful during their time don't nearly have as many online fans. I don't have to mention that Juvenile brought us 400 Degreez. 400 Degreez! Fame is fleeting and I would imagine most people under 25 aren't even familiar with these names.

    To answer your question a non celebrity artist isn't a loser by any means. You are performing for a living and if you are able to make a living off that than you are already far ahead of most of the vast majority of stand up comics/artists who have to have day jobs doing something else.

    I've always believed that stand up comedy is and always has been a platform for social commentary and change and not just simply for laughs.
     
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  7. rimbaud

    rimbaud Contributing Member
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    The funny thing is I knew who you were more in a “celebrity” context before I knew who you were here. I had seen you on stage and on tv years before you were posting and I had no clue if you were really a comedian. Then seeing a pic or something set off - yes!

    Back in the day I wanted you to blow up because I thought you were talented. Fame isn’t just about talent so I don’t hold anything against you or anyone else who doesn’t “make it”. There are countless historical examples of artists in multiple media who had little to no recognition while alive.

    So much is luck and timing and randomness who cares. Like you said, you make a living doing something that is rough and requires you to constantly adapt and change. I think anyone is truly legit in their field if they can do it and nothing else to get by in life.
     
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  8. EddieWasSnubbed

    EddieWasSnubbed Contributing Member

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    I think to have a successful career as a stand up comic is nothing short of awesome.

    If I ever am on a cruise and see you on a the bill, I'll owe you a drink.

    Do you only do cruises out of Galveston?
     
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  9. B-Bob

    B-Bob my celli weighs a ton
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    There you go, beating up on our friend. :D
     
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  10. B-Bob

    B-Bob my celli weighs a ton
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    Could not agree more w this. I know it best maybe from the world of writing, but it applies just as well to science or whatever else.
     
  11. RasaqBoi

    RasaqBoi Member

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    What’s your stand up name? I’ll check you out.
     
  12. Nook

    Nook Member

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    We hear a lot about performers being assholes to fans or the general public. What we don't hear much about, but what is a reality, is that the public is FAR more often assholes to performers. I am friends with a couple of people that are fairly well known, and while some people are gracious to them, I often hear "You are not as pretty in person" or "You aren't special looking" when I am around one friend and my other friend (a comedian) often has to endure "You aren't funny anymore" or "You haven't done anything in 20 years".

    No one would ever say that to a doctor or lawyer or businessman. However, if they are some how in the entertainment business it is okay to treat them sub human and God for bid if they don't take it with a smile, they are an asshole.


    Right. I would argue that you must be genuinely talented or good if you can withstand the test of time and support yourself doing something in a performance field long term. It is a very competitive industry and there are always new people emerging.

    Celebrity is a fickle thing. Some are celebrities by circumstance or timing. There are plenty of very good actors and comedians that never were in the right position to become a celebrity. Joe Rogan has even said as much numerous times before. The quality and validity of someone's work isn't entirely measured by celebrity.

    Congrats on having the balls to do what you wanted to do. Most people don't have it in them.


    Again, you are not a REAL person to them...... you are a form of entertainment. Be it laughing at your jokes or being ignorant to make them feel better about themselves. Anything, any excuse to do whatever the hell they want. Also, people are assholes on vacation.

    Absolutely.............. Bob Hope wouldn't have been **** if he hadn't made it big early and was able to pay comedians to make him funny. Life just isn't always fair. I know some attorneys that would wipe the floor with many of the high priced attorneys on Whacker Avenue in Chicago but it just didn't happen for circumstances.

    The truth is that is matters to most people.

    Joe Rogan has said that if you pay your dues and work hard, you can make it in comedy but you have to work hard and believe in yourself. Also "making it" isn't just top billing in Vegas or staring in movies......... the guys that do what they love for a long time, that is making it too.
     
  13. kevC

    kevC Contributing Member

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    I'm a connoisseur of stand-up comedy. I am good friends with another Houston-originated comic named Matthew Broussard so I'm somewhat intimately familiar with how tough it is to be a comic (although my friend has been relatively lucky in his young career with multiple TV shows and such). I have seen many many shows, both big and small, over the years and my favorite to this day is when randomly I was in San Antonio a few years ago with my ex and randomly caught a Billy D. Washington show. I knew the name from the boards and was excited to check him out. Before this, I have only really watched "big" names thinking big = quality, but I realized how so so wrong I was after laughing my ass off for two hours that night. Keep it up Billy D! You're definitely my favorite working comic!
     
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  14. Haymitch

    Haymitch Contributing Member

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    As a non-celebrity non-entertainer I can understand that pressure. People doubt my career as a non-entertainer because I'm also a non-celebrity. But, hey, if I'm able to provide for my family in a boring way that will never gain me any status, then that is just fine.
     
  15. VooDooPope

    VooDooPope Contributing Member

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    Keep on rocking AB. Another person's opinion does not define you. Making a living doing what you love means you're doing better than 99% of the people out there.
     
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  16. Ziggy

    Ziggy Tastemaker
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    I'm just going to be honest and answer the question. It depends. On the type of "art" & level of sub-fame success. If you're in a band performing covers at Sherlock's for a living, I kind of assume you're not making a great living. Whether that's wrong or right, accurate or not.... it's the assumption I'd make. That doesn't mean I'd treat that person poorly though. Or assume that was the person's main source of income (even though it very well may be).

    A cruise ship comedian? I'm not sure. I probably would not assume you made more money than the average passenger, but I guess that depends on the cruise. I've never been on a cruise ship. That's a real granular scenario.

    As crazy as it sounds, I think this is a situation people outside of art can relate to, like service workers - plumbers or electricians for example. Fewer people want to do those jobs because they feel as though society has deemed them less desirable. But in a lot of instances, depending on the field, they get paid extremely well. Often better than what some may consider a more socially acceptable office job. And a lot of those people own their own business.

    You can cut hair and make below minimum wage. Or, you can cut hair and make 3 figures on your own schedule. Or, you can cut hair, own your own salon, and make even more. But I think people are going to automatically assume that if you cut hair, you're not doing that great.
     
  17. Killatron 2000

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    I grew up in a comedy club (literally). I have always had tremendous respect for touring comedians that never got that Tonight Show appearance or HBO hour long special. Some of my parents best friends were comics, so if I wasn't at the club catching their act form a seat back by the club's sound booth, I was hanging out with them at my house. These men and women were big influences in my life, and I was glad that I was able to experience the people behind their on-stage persona. I realize this is a unique perspective, and that most people never have this opportunity. I have a small time local punk band now. I may never be as big as some of the bands I've opened for, and that is perfectly fine with me (I have accepted that I will always have to have a full time day job). However, I believe my art is just as legitimate as (insert your favorite band name here). I am not sure how I would handle someone condescending to me that since they had never heard of me, I must be some kind of loser. All art is subjective. Nobody is "better" than anybody else. Keep doing your art knowing it has merit, and I hope I can catch your act sometime (this means any of you Clutchfans who are performers of any kind).
     
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