Derek Gaines has been an up-and-coming comedian for years before I met him. In the past two years, I’ve seen his act gain the momentum that (I personally think) is the route that will take him the furthest. He’s now being booked as a weekend headliner at the Laff House. We’ve been friends for some time now and we’re known to have a lengthy conversation or two after shows. I think his level of knowledge in being a professional comedian is savvy and after talking to him about what our definition of “making it” was, I asked him to write an article for the site.
Please enjoy the following article by Derek Gaines on crafting you’re work versus quick money.
Stick With It!!!
By Derek Gaines
It’s always a joke among comedy buddies to sell out and get paid, especially when your set goes bad or your not on a late-night TV show and you’ve been in the game a considerable amount of time and nothing seems to be happening. We laugh and we keep pressing on trying to be better comedians, honing our crafts and believing that in time everything will come together.
That’s hasn’t been the case with some comedians these days.
Some put the money over the art, and seem to lose focus… Thats if they had the focus in the first place. The “hunger” is not as hungry as it used to be because it’s just a bunch of socially funny people that are crafty with YouTube, but not really crafty at stand up, and then claim to be “comedians” and then struggle on a feature spot.Call yourself an comedic actor, or a blogger, or just big up your YouTube channel, but don’t call yourself a comedian and not be able to hold the weight that comes with it .
Movies make you a draw but practice makes you funny. Am I wrong to calling you selfish if you keep taking these spots from comedians that are really writing and working, going from stage to stage, bombing to killing , learning by recording, waiting and hanging to get a guest spot, or a check spot or a “looking”!? Of course not because you’re making you’re money right??
This is what I’m saying…. People get caught up trying to make quick money, then their comedy suffers, it maybe too surfaced or hacky or unoriginal, simply because some doesn’t put the time into it to get the FUNNY out of it . If it’s easy it not really worth it . I’d rather get sharp and funny to be better prepared for longer spots at clubs and theaters than getting on too fast, building up a fan base and then crumbling at the microphone.
What’s your Idea of a reward? Is it the money or is it the applause after you worked so hard to get it, especially when you didn’t go the easy route?
All I’m saying is this to all you younger comics in the game: it’s not a race. It’s not a popularity contest as much as people make it to be, all you must do is get FUNNY and everything else will follow.
Follow Derek Gaines on twitter: @Derek1Gaines