What it’s really like to try to make it in comedy.
If you think it’s hard to land a job in your field, imagine the challenges Canadian funny women face trying to make it in L.A.’s chew-up-and-spitout showbiz scene. Here, six comedians at various stages of their careers share their best advice, cover-lette
Were you a funny kid? “I do remember thinking that I was [funny] when I was a kid, but it wasn’t like a career maker. I didn’t think there was a career in it. I didn’t think there was a career in it when I was 30. I didn’t think there was a career in it when I was 35. Now I think that, yes, there is a career in it.” Did you have a deadline for when you needed to “make it”? “Deadline? Definitely. One of my deadlines was if I’m still waitering when I’m 30, then I’ll jump off a bridge. Not really. Then I was waitering when I was 30, and I was like, ‘All right, I’m still here. It’s not that bad.’” Why keep going on? “A lack of a Plan B, really. When I started—I actually started in acting—I came to it pretty late in life, like in my early to mid-20s, and at the time I was trying to become a lawyer. I was just about to do the LSATs when I took a class in theatre arts, which I thought would be really easy; I thought I would get a great grade and it would set me up nicely, but I actually just loved it. It took my life in a totally different direction, fortunately or unfortunately. So I already had that momentum when I made a bad choice, in my early 20s, so my parents were like, ‘You’re doing what now?’ Once I made that decision—it’s hard to go back to law school when you’ve given up the premise of going to law school. I had already abandoned all hope.” Can you imagine being a lawyer? “I can’t even—it gives me the shivers. I just hate reading dry material. For obvious reasons, I would not have enjoyed that [law] career path. It’s perfect for loads of people, and they love it, and they love reading court documents and filing, but I am just so bad at that stuff; I have no idea why I ever thought it was right for me. I think I wanted to be a professional. It seemed like a smart bet. I think I would have been miserable. I was really quite happy as a starving actor, basically doing comedy for free.”
THE QUEEN BEE OF COMEDY LAYS DOWN THE LAW FULL FRONTAL’S Samantha Bee on how she almost became a lawyer.