I was in between meetings in in Hollywood yesterday and I went to a coffee shop. I remember it clearly because it rained. I know right? Rain in L.A.
That’s like a successful Hollywood marriage. You’re surprised about it and you’re still not sure it’s really happening…
I ordered a latte and the barista was like, “Oh! There’s an open mic going on in the back.”
I seriously thought about going in there and checking it out, but I had some writing to do and I didn’t want to sit in an open mic with my laptop open, not paying attention while comedians are testing their material. I’d immediately be singled out as—well, probably one of the other comedians also not paying attention, (more on that later…).
But I didn’t go in I just sat in the front area, did my writing and drank my latte. After a while, some of the comedians came out and were talking to each other.
The subject: the comedian Carrot Top.
I overheard one of the guys say, “He’s nothing but a hack prop comic.” The others blindly agreed and they started going off on who else was a “hack” comic.
But the conversation eventually came back to Carrot Top and his “stupid” props. And this conversation went on for about 30 minutes.
I could’ve written 10 jokes in that period of time!
And it struck me. These comedians were probably half my age, but the conversations hadn’t changed. They’re still disparaging other comedians.
Which brings me to this question:
Why? Why would any comedian put down another comedian? Especially one who’s reached the level of success that Carrot Top has reached?
Carrot Top is one of the highest paid entertainers in World. He’s got his own theater in Vegas. His shows are always—I mean ALWAYS sold out.
Why would anyone spend that kind of time putting down that kind of accomplishment?
As an artist, isn’t there a more productive way to spend your time?
What if those comedians spent that time exploring Carrot Top’s career trajectory? Or how Carrot Top reached that level of success? Wouldn’t that be more productive, more conducive to one’s own success?
Carrot Top found a niche. He found something memorable, something he could make funny. Something that worked, something the audience loved, and he turned it into a huge multi-million dollar comedy enterprise.
I mean that’s the dream, right?
Find something you love, do it as a career and you’ll never work a day in your life.
It is such a strong show, that one of the main resorts—the Luxor–on the strip in Las Vegas, the entertainment capital of the world, felt compelled to give him his own theater.
What’s to criticize?
Normally I take the stance that I only have control over my own behavior and no one else’s but I’m also a stubborn Irish fool from New York…
So I said, “Excuse me. I overheard you talking about Carrot Top. Why would you spend that kind of energy putting down one of the most successful entertainers in the World?”
Wouldn’t you get more benefit studying how he became that successful? Asking yourself how he got there? What could I do better that might help me and my career?
The guy who seemed to be the leader was like, “—you a comic, brah?”
I said, “you might say that…”
He said, “Well, I don’t know about you, but I’d rather keep my integrity than be a prop comic.”
I said, “Dude, it’s Friday night. At this very moment, Carrot Top’s playing two sold out shows in Vegas in his own theater, and you just did an open mic at a coffee shop. You just spent more time ridiculing a successful comedian than you spent actually doing comedy.”
I left it at that.
The point is. There’s so much work we all need to do on ourselves to get our craft to be the best it can be. There’s so much more work we need to do to jump start our careers.
Why would you focus your energy on the wrong things?