Being a comedian can be a fun and rewarding career, but it’s important to understand what it takes to succeed in this highly competitive field.
Jacob Sharpe, a regular on the comedy circuit, has built up a following of hundreds of thousands of fans.
An expert when it comes to the darker side of humor, he trained at Humber College in his native Toronto, Canada.
Jacobs’s signature comedy is around his fight with brain cancer – he was diagnosed with a brain tumor aged 25 just as the global pandemic started.
After going through chemotherapy and radiation treatment, he has now overcome the disease and uses his experience to try and normalize cancer for others.
He says: “How are we still not talking about the day-to-day mundane things about cancer? It still feels taboo. So many people deal with it. Why can’t we talk about it casually? We should be able to find the funny in dark experiences.”
A regular on the comedy circuit, Jacob has played gigs at leading Candian venues Yuk Yuks and The Comedy Bar, as well as the Chicago Theatre, Zanies in Nashville, and The Wilbur Theatre in Boston, in the US.
Here are his takeaways on what it takes to be a comedian:
Funny Isn’t Everything
It’s not just about being funny for a comedian. Writing and performing material that resonates with your audience is also essential, as is being able to handle the pressure of live performances. Marketing yourself effectively, networking with industry professionals, and staying up-to-date with the latest trends is also important.
It Takes Time And Practice
You don’t become a successful comedian overnight. Building your audience, establishing your brand, and developing your skills, takes time and practice. Open mic nights, honing your material, and constantly improving your act is all part of the process. Even when you get rejected or setbacks, you have to be patient and persistent.
Networking Is Key
In comedy, networking is key. Getting to know other comedians, connecting with agents, and building relationships with bookers can really make or break your success. When you network, you’ll get new gigs, hear about new opportunities, and get more exposure.
You Need to Be Able to Handle Criticism
The thing with comedy is that you have to put yourself out there in front of an audience, and not everyone will love your material. It’s important to be able to handle criticism, both constructive and negative, and to use it as a learning experience. This means being open to feedback, taking risks, and being willing to experiment with new material.
It’s A Business
Lastly, remember that comedy is a business, and treating it like one is essential. Understanding the financial side of the industry, like negotiating contracts, managing expenses, and marketing yourself is what pays the bills! And to build a reputation as a top performer in the industry, you have to be professional, reliable, and easy to work with.