I want to be in the entertainment industry

I love comedy. My main inspiration is Demetri Martin, but I love many others such as Stephen Colbert, Russell Peters (can be quite offensive, however), and Kyle Cease (although can be extremely irreverent).

I’ve done stand-up comedy for a little over a year and have had good responses. It’s been a passion of mine since I started. I don’t curse or use raunchy material on stage. Ever since I started college last year I helped write sketches and participated in comedy improv. (I have a tendency to be a bit profane in improv, it’s a bad move and i always resent myself for doing it). Other than these weaknesses, I love every bit of it. I even added film as a second major to supplement my main liberal arts studies.
It’s a bit of a dream of mine to write comedy professionally and maybe deliver it.
For now, I’m planning to go to graduate school to become a teacher or work in education policy. (I’m currently a undergrad sophomore).
However, i can’t help but think I’ll regret not attempting a job at doing “what I love” every day.

However, there are issues that conflict with my desire to be a Catholic and give myself whole to God. So much of what I see, probably 85% (or more) of what I watch on TV and movies are programs I find questionably immoral. Even with really popular programs my friends watch exhibit fornication, violence, and profanity very lightly.

I’ve looked at internships for a summer to get a better insight into the entertainment business. The ones that appealed to me the most were for Late night talk shows, such as Letterman, Ferguson, and Conan O’Brien.
However, I’ve seen very negative opinions of all three of these comedians around this website. I used to love Conan. Every time I’ve seen him he is hilarious and I loved his commencement speech at Dartmouth. However, I read on these forums that he officiated a gay wedding (both who were employees at the show). To be honest, I haven’t seen much of Ferguson. However, I’ve heard he’s quite raunchy. So would internships at these shows be morally questionable?

I wonder, should I just give up my desire to be pursue comedy? Is it really just a manifestation of my self-glorification and vanity? Is the industry too sinful to remain Catholic in?

If show biz is your dream, then go for it! There are plenty of respected, well grounded Hollywood types around that have achieved sucess and not compromised their moral values or religious beliefs and you can do that too. An internship is an excellent place to start, have a look around and see if that is really what you want to do with your life.

Thanks for the encouraging insight!
You don’t necessarily have to answer this, but I’m hoping someone will see this later. My dream internship is with Late Shows, specifically Conan O’Brien. Would it be a bad idea to work for a show that showed its host officiate a homosexual marriage?

No, it would not. You have your own views, these people have theirs, and have every right to have theirs. Their views aren’t going to effect yours, and being involved with them isn’t sinful…

Interning there, and calling it a sin, would be like a nurse at a hospital considering her job sinful, because of the different views and medical practices held by others at said hospital.

I’m a young, aspiring, actor, and I’ve worked along side both very liberal people, and conservative Christians, who all generally get along under one roof.

Most people in show biz tend to be polite, acceptable, and amiable.
You’re not supporting something sinful by working for a show who’s host believes something different from you…

But honestly… If you can’t keep certain things separate, then maybe showbiz isn’t the best calling for you. I don’t know.

I don’t know you, or your situation, but just… Stay open. I’m not saying AGREE with certain views, but remember to stay open to other people… Now sure how it works with comedians as a whole, but actors at least? Very tight knit. Just remember to make a good impression and love thy comedic neighbor and all that good stuff.

Check out this website: churchandart.org/

My daughter (a stage manager) blogs for it.

My suggestion is to start working hard and networking. Do routines at local nightclubs–it’s a tough audience, but that’s how you learn the skills of stand-up comedy and how to “read” an audience.

ANYTIME you have the opportunity to take a gig, do it, even if it’s at a child’s birthday party, or at a retirement dinner. Get your name and face and routine OUT THERE so that people will talk you up.

You don’t need to compromise anything. If you are good at what you do, people will laugh, and that’s what you’re trying to do–make them laugh.

Meet people in the business and remember them–get business cards so that you have email addresses. If you have to, write down their names and traits so that you can remember them.

One of the best ways to meet people is to attend their performances and ask to meet them backstage.

Make sure you have a website, and that you are involved with as much of the social media (Twitter, etc.) as possible.

I hope these suggestions are helpful.

If it’s something like IFC’s “Portlandia” or “Increasingly Bad Decisions” (whatever that show’s called), that’s a growing niche in comedy.

Do standup. If you do CLEAN stand-up, it will be easier to open up for bigger CLEAN comedians (because the club won’t schedule a foul-mouthed comic to open up for a family-friendly comic: just won’t happen).

The only way the entertainment industry is ever going to improve is if people like you engage it. :slight_smile:

Make a pact to improve the comedy industry with your clean-cut humor. Who knows-- maybe other comedians will be influenced from it. Make God the center, and remember you can always turn down a gig if it is completely out of your comfort zone.

Don’t judge people on one thing-- instead, look at the whole. Try to appreciate what is good about the person. Don’t we all have things we’ve done that aren’t really from God?

Ok, good luck on Show biz. It’s rough and it can take over your life quickly, so remember to keep the sabbath and go to church on a regular basis. Keep a few good Christian friends around while you pursue your career. Believe me-- it’s not the career that will make you successful but how you deal with every relationship around you.

In christ,

Thanks for all your encouragement! I’m blessed to see so many who are so supportive.

I saw a really irreverent sketch on Conan. It wasn’t just raunchy, it directly satirized our God. It really made me disillusioned about my “dream internship” Speaking over it with my mom, she simply told me (in a crude translation from Korean): “Of course it’s wrong. Why would you even ask? You’re really only asking because you know the answer and want to justify yourself.”

However, there’s another huge obstacle. It’s very unrealistic. I attend a very expensive, top 20 private school. I’m not to make myself feel good. Really, I’m faced with the fact that my hardworking parents highly disapprove with such an unreliable ambition.

In any case, these are personal issues. Thanks you to everyone who responded, letting me know that my soul is not necessarily in moral peril if I take this seriously.

Do you have an agent yet? Can you get one? That would be immensely helpful in finding bookings.

I’m guessing that there is probably a union that you need to be part of to get gigs and be able to claim unemployment and other benefits. (For my daughter it’s Equity.) Check that out, and then find out what the requirements are to join that union.

Is there an online community of stand-up comedians? Again, my daughter, through her union, has such a community, and she finds all kinds of ads for work on these various websites and newsboards. Find the ones that you need to keep up with.

Is there a reason why you feel the need to start with an internship in a “big” studio, rather than pounding the pavement in your own city, doing gigs at community events (pancake breakfasts, church retreats, luncheons), bars and nightclubs, colleges, etc.?

This is where your talent will be honed and sharpened–in the trenches, with people who don’t know you from Adam, and who are paying to laugh and expect you to deliver the laughs.

A lot of the interns in the entertainment industry do “grunt work,” e.g., making coffee and bringing it to the staff, setting out glasses of water, taking notes, etc. My daughter has served several internships in theater, and a lot of her work is purely “work,” not theater.

I would say start where you are. If you are in school now, make sure you get noticed–do whatever gigs you can do–school talent shows, improv nights (theater department), etc. Or start some of these things–get a group of students/teachers together and DO an improv night or variety show (and YOU be the emcee/standup).

If you’re working, then be the life of the party. Ask if you can emcee the next company dinner. Be funny as much as possible–people will tell you that you should be on stage–that’s good!

I would say that the “filth” issue is not worth worrying about. There is a lot of hilarious humor that is not filthy in the least. If you are truly funny and people laugh, you will be able to find gigs and make a living, and you will work your way to the top once you’ve “paid your dues.”

And that brings up an issue–in the entertainment industry, there is a lot of respect for those entertainers who have “paid their dues.” You hear this a lot. It’s one reason why there is controversy over the American Idol format for finding new singers–the complaint from the industry is that these pups haven’t “paid their dues” and sung their way through local nightclubs, backup for state fair singers, weddings, funerals, etc.

So you would be well-advised to start working on that “debt” and paying your dues by doing as many little gigs as possible. That’s how the majority of “stars” get to be stars, and even more important, it’s how the majority of entertainment professionals are able to get to a place where they are working steadily and being paid on a regular basis.

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