It’s a new year, and I’ve had a few comedians asking me if they should enter this comedy competition, or submit to that competition. Well, let me save time by telling all of you curious comedians at the same time: A comedy competition is a funny thing.
As a comedian, you really want to win these things. Sure, you tell yourself that winning isn’t everything, and just doing well would be enough. But the truth is you want to win. Badly. So you enter, and one of two things happen: you win or you don’t.
When you win, it’s a validation of everything you’ve worked hard for all these years. It’s confirmation that you have been doing the right things and doing them well. It’s a big dap from the universe to your soul. It’s nice. Trust me, I’ve won a couple of these things.
It’s when you lose that your character is either exposed or refined. Are you the type to throw the blame for your loss on others, insult the competition organizers and attempt to rain on the parade of the victorious? It is so easy to do that, but a professional does something else. A pro reviews their material/delivery to improve upon it for the next time, lines up future work through connections made at the competition and cheers loudly for the winner, with whom they have hopefully struck up a new friendship. Because winning isn’t everything, working is. And working is winning. Grow your network and fill your schedule, then it doesn’t matter that you didn’t take home a trophy this time. Trust me, I’ve lost a bunch of these things.
When I was gigging in Shanghai last year, I learned some funny Mandarin phrases. My favorite was a line you shout at whiny losers: “your vagina is bleeding!” I feel that is appropriate here. Suck it up, sore losers. No matter what kind of day you’re having, your sour grapes only serve to throw up more roadblocks on your way to success.
In the end, judges at comedy contests are trying to put a number to art. And, like all art forms, comedy is very subjective. You want objective? Then comedy competitions are not for you. Stick with playing Hungry Hungry Hippos and counting your marbles at the end of the game to see if you are the winner. You want everybody to win? Stay in kindergarten where there are no losers, and “participation trophies” are handed out to all who enter.
And if you are the type of spaz who would play Hungry Hungry Hippos, not pushing your lever at all, and still complain afterwards that you’ve lost… competitions of any kind are not for you. Clearly, you have both figuratively and literally lost your marbles. Oh, also, 你的阴道出血!