Trying to make a decision on whether or not to try stand up comedy or whether or not to get into stand-up? It’s not an easy decision. As humans our ability to think about the modeled world is extremely effective our abilities to problem solve and develop an innovative approach to solve a problem is highly advanced. However our ability to foresee the effects of a decision in the distant future is our dilemma. We can get caught up in the decision making process, almost to the point of paralysis; we get stuck in perpetual indecision: or according to Princeton neuroscientist Sam Wang:

Human brains house a tremendously complex prefrontal cortex, which gives us the capability to think about a modeled world and contemplate the future. Where we get caught up is our ability to predict the long-term effects of our decisions. “It’s difficult to judge whether some life decision you make today will make you happy a few years down the road,” says Wang. To get around this limitation, he recommends  learning from someone who has been faced with the same decision: “They can report accurately whether it made them happy or unhappy.”

Finding a Solution

Lot’s people I talk to mention to me that they’ve thought about doing stand up. It’s something they’ve always wanted to do. These people come to me in their forties and fifties. They talked to family and friends and asked them about it and got a mixed response.

What Mr. Wang is saying is that you should talk to someone who has made that decision and seen the result of that choice. It’s almost a real glimpse into the future from someone who has lived it!

I’ve been there. I made the decision long ago that I wanted to do stand up comedy for a living. I knew there would be tough times, but I also knew that if I applied myself that I would accomplish my goals.

It was the best decision of my life! I am immersed in comedy every day. My whole career is based on creating humor as well as teaching it.

If you want to get into stand up comedy. Do it! Give it a shot! You can always change your mind and go manage a car dealership later. It’s better than being stuck at forty or fifty and wondering if you should’ve done it.


Jerry Corley
Jerry Corley

Jerry Corley is a professional comedian of nearly 30 years, working nearly every venue imaginable. Writer for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Creator an Co-Writer for the movie "Stretch," starring Chris Pine, Patrick Wilson, Ray Liotta, Jessica Alba and Ed Helms, and founder of The Stand Up Comedy Clinic a full-time, self-owned comedy studio dedicated to beginning and professional comedian who want to have a place to improve their comedy writing and performance skills.

    2 replies to "Comedian Lesson: Paralyzed By Analysis"

    • Chris Cady

      I say SCREW IT. JUST DO IT!

    • Michael Laman

      Musicians and actors face this same question. My advice–get successful at something, have some marketable skills, work on your comedy part-time, see if it grows and give yourself a time frame and overall plan. Stick to the plan by setting goals, and be honest with yourself. Find out early if you have the staminia and are willing to pay the price for success in comedy to make it. Once you answer that, then you’ll either stay or quit. I have cancer so what bothers me most at 58 today is all the things I wish I’d done. I want to do comedy but it’s all I have left to fight this illness. Laughter does heal!

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