“Hey, man! Do you know who I am?”
A kid about 12-13 with his friends in tow walked up and introduced himself to me.
“Hey! No, sorry I don’t. What’s your name?”
We talked for a bit about his stuff and about YouTube. I don’t think he knew who I was or what I did but I enjoyed our conversation.
While he was promoting the hell out of himself, one of his friends jumped in and said: “Well, he’s not that big…” and the third one seemed to be assessing the whole situation in silence.
We parted ways after a while but the whole thing stuck in my mind. What a little hustler. Only a kid but already pounding the pavement and promoting himself.
Now, a lot of people will get turned off by this but I was thoroughly impressed. Had I actually found some material online or he would’ve given me his mail or whatever I would’ve felt like doing him a solid.
It’d be fun to see the kid succeed. Hopefully have his friends tag along. I can almost envision the “negging” kid as his agent and the “silent one” as his accountant or something.
So, Jonathan Zeboy, if you ever read this. Even if it’s 20 years from now. Give me a shout and I’ll see what I can do.
The things we can learn from this are:
1) Have your material & contact information ready.
2) Dare to put yourself out there. You never know when you might strike lucky.
3) Surround yourself with people who can enhance your strengths & cover your weaknesses.
I’d like to include something amazing that I saw on last nights “Daily Show”. The guest was Colin Quinn. He’s written a book called “The Coloring Book” which is about the race relations in USA.
During the interview Colin tried out a new joke.
“You could see someone walking down the street and you’re like: ‘Oh, he was wearing a, you see a guy pass, blue sweater and brown pants and a black jacket and people are like: ‘What color was he?’, ‘I don’t see color.’ You know what I mean?”
The joke didn’t land and Colin said the following:
“Folks, I wrote that one today. It’s funnier than what it got. I’m being honest.”
I agreed with him but I wasn’t laughing as hard as I could have. Why? While I was trying to figure it out when Jon Stewart nailed it. He put into words exactly what I was feeling. He gave us a wonderful insight into why and how comedy works:
“Can I tell you the problem with it? Perfectly honest. I felt like that outfit didn’t go together…”
Colin Quinn almost does a spit take, gets up off his chair and walks around laughing. John continues:
“So, here’s what happened. Your joke, beautifully structured, but the whole time I’m thinking: ‘Well, who picked that out?’.”
So. Frickin’. Amazing!
What he was doing was creating a cartoonish picture in our minds. It didn’t conjure up a vision of any real life person we could relate to. That’s why the joke “failed”. All he needs to do is to rewrite it with a specific person in mind, time it slightly differently and it’ll do a lot better and also prove a point.
This is part of the psychology. Very often we focus so hard on the “punchline” that we fail to deliver it in a way people can relate to.
And that’s what we’re all trying to do. Talk to people, make ourselves heard and understood.
I finally got around to reading Chris Sacca’s treatise “What Twitter Can Be”. Such an amazing read if you’ve got the time. It was so wonderful how he focused on what their roots are (hint, it’s “live”) and how they can leverage that going into the future with Periscope etc.
You can read it here.
Who’s your favorite comedian? What’s their best joke? Why do you love them?
Let me know in the comments and on Twitter.
Have a kick-ass ₢eative day!