Attitude Is Paramount
My father used to say, “It’s all about attitude”. That’s certainly true in stand-up comedy. Following the fact that all comedy material is negative … attitude will drive the intensity of laughter from an audience by clearly exhibiting the emotion, passion, frustration, and commitment of comedians not only to their topic but to their craft. Quite often, when you see a comedian struggling onstage, it’s due to a lack of attitude and/or commitment.
And that lack of commitment most often stems from fear.
I have never really had a fear of heights. I do have a fear of falling from a great height. Yes, it’s an odd tiny difference but I’ve come to understand that about myself. Not having money has never bothered me. Not having the ability to make money does scare me quite a bit.
Comedians make a habit of introspection on a fairly regular basis. As my pop used to call it, we analyze “self”. He would also say that taking care of “self” is the one job we have for our entire lives, and it’s a full-time job. I always thought of that when I began to form an opinion of someone elses’ actions.
What Are You Afraid Of?
Perhaps it’s a fear of public speaking, a fear of offending, a fear of looking foolish, or even a fear of some other form of inadequacy (all of which are almost always brought on by a lack of experience onstage). But regardless, the fear is very real. And it can easily cripple the success of that performer, even if just for one show. Older and/or more experienced comedians can spot a “newbie” from a mile away. It’s in their material, their topics, their attitude or lack thereof.
They will sympathize and they will laugh. Why? Because stand up comedy is a career that is best learned through failure. Only when you bomb do you learn how NOT to bomb (at least as often). And to a comedian, watching another comics’ turn to bomb is both the toughest and the funniest thing on earth to watch.
Work And Life
The very same can be said regarding changes in your own work/life balance. Have you gone through a change in your relationship with a partner? Has your company recently been taken over by a new group?
Do you have a new manager you don’t quite understand yet? For simplicity’s sake, all can be easily summed up as “fear of the unknown”. And fear brings about an increased level of stress and can drastically affect your attitude … usually in a negative, non-productive fashion.
This is where stand-up comedy and reality part ways. A comedian will exaggerate and even glorify a stressful problem for the sake of laughter. Conversely, real life stress is more or less the frantic search for an answer. Every search (journey) begins with that first step.
And a positive attitude will be a lot more helpful in finding your answer by opening your mind to the plethora of possibilities all around you. In a nutshell, I guess my father was right. Change your attitude and your day will follow.