The Improv Life: It All Starts with Having Good Taste
In an earlier blog post I stated that Norm Macdonald was my first comedy teacher because I just mimicked a bunch of stuff he did.
I knew Norm was funny on an instinctual level; I just couldn’t explain why.
What that means is that I had good taste. I knew what I liked, and I knew what I liked was funny.
So much of being a comedian begins with being a fan.
I loved comedy as a kid. Everything I watched growing up was comedy. The Simpsons, Married with Children, SNL reruns on Comedy Central, Wayne’s World, anything Jim Carrey did, Heavyweights, Clueless, Dirty Work, Mr. Show, Rocko’s Modern Life, random standup; you know just like anything and everything comedy (I was lucky to have cable as a kid).
I would ingest so much comedy and just repeat catch phrases and random snippets non-stop.
The point is I had good taste, and that is what eventually led me to wanting to be a comedian
And this is what “This American Life” host Ira Glass says in his famous “The Gap” speech: “All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste.”
The rest of the speech goes onto state that it will take a long time to become a good artist, the kind that creates quality stuff you’re proud of. Basically, you’re going to suck for a long time before you get good, but don’t quit, keep creating, and keep setting big goals that forces your skills to meet them.
It’s really inspiring, especially when it feels like you’re not growing. But it all comes down to having good taste.
When you feel like quitting, remember why you started in the first place – to create comedy on the same level as the comedians who inspired you.
To become the artist you want to be is a worthy goal, and you owe it to yourself to pursue it with everything you have. Don’t give up on yourself, and when you do, go read “The Gap” by Ira Glass.
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