I was ripped off by a comedy promoter last year. On the night, he paid me less than we agreed. He took advantage of my good nature and months later, I am still upset about being robbed. Nothing to do with the quality of my work I was told. He’d taken a hit on the door (in a sold out room) and said I’d be helping him out if I took less money. I agreed because it’s what nice people do. Sometimes, I am an idiot.
Since then, everything has been going very well for me. I have worked harder than ever, travelled to Europe for lots of gig and I’ve raised my game again. I’ve even passed another milestone and been slated on the Chortle forums for the first time by someone who calls themself George Cottier, so in many ways I am getting there.
There is a problem here because there is a George Cottier who is a comic from Liverpool and my hope is that isn’t him. If it is, although I am a bit riled, I can understand his need to be so unpleasant and where it stems from. Comedy is a hard old game and fair play to him if he has used his real name.
Whenever newer acts ask me for advice, I tend to tell them that it’s what you do offstage that’s make you a better comic. This could sound dismissive but it’s not meant to. For me, success means coping with travel, being away from home and perhaps most of all dealing with other people’s behaviour, be it post gig, punters, other comics and the tricks that your body and mind plays on you week in week out. It also means getting on well with people.
It took me a long time to get over the disappointment of realising how nasty people are. That a simple question, such as “how are you?” actually means what gigs are you doing? Why are YOU in with that promoter when I’m not? The list goes on.
Life isn’t fair, so why should comedy be any different?
I started out years ago in the toilet division with a friend of mine and when I moved up a level, he was bitter to the point that we are no longer friends. The only time he phoned me after not speaking for 2 years was when he heard that I’d had some bad news and that my career in comedy was seemingly over. The delight in his voice was difficult to cope with. He texted me asking me questions, hoping that I would give him some gossip. I didn’t because I am a nice guy and this instance, not an idiot. I have too much to lose by being anything other than decent in my conduct.
What I do on stage is an act, as much I like to keep it real. I am authentic, but it’s Matt Price comedian. Off stage I am genuine and take a pride in being so. I am only human and sometimes I get upset, usually when someone has taken advantage of me, stolen money, slated me or been generally unpleasant. I don’t feel the need to apologise for this. Most people are okay and if I had the time to understand the small minority who aren’t then I would find it easier to deal with I’m sure.
What I also tell newer acts is that after a while, you feel as though you have seen it all. Heard nearly type of heckle, met every type of promoter, comic, punter and felt every emotion. It makes it easier to deal with when things are against you and it makes you a better comedian.
If you are unhappy with your progress within comedy, then work harder. It isn’t always a fair business and there are periods when you will wonder why you bother and if you will ever have any luck or recognition. Slating me and others on a internet forum is a high risk strategy in terms of advancing your career. Unless of course, you have simply given up, in which case perhaps your criticism should be directed towards yourself. Long term, I can only begin to imagine the pain of failing as a comic. Well done if you can cope with that and thankyou for making me realise just how strong I am.
Oh and anyone who doesn’t like this short clip, I understand. Really I do…