Take My Advice, Please!

Comedy Classics: Henny Youngman - "Take My Wife. Please."

Comedy Classics: Henny Youngman - "Take My Wife. Please."

Notes suck. Direction sucks. Advice sucks. Especially if you have a frail ego. But all of it is necessary if you want to grow as a performer or as a person. The only way to get better is to seek advice from peers in your field that you respect…and for that matter, even those you don't respect.

I have gotten better as a performer in my short time here in LA simply because I asked for notes. It is easy to sit back and think your work is perfect, but that usually is not the case. No matter what your area of expertise, one can always stand to become better.

We lost Adam West recently, a beloved and kind performer who had a wonderful quote on the subject, “I just wanted to be brilliant at my craft.” I like that a guy in his position was still of the mindset to keep wanting to get better.

Complacency is dangerous, especially in this strange business. I recently worked with a performer, who will remain nameless, that had a pretty big career in the 90’s. At the time his act was fresh, and unique. But when seeing him live recently, it was clear he gave up/never acknowledged the need to keep growing and expanding as a performer. As his bits continued to fail in said performance, the audience expanded their range of how uncomfortable things could get. You got a pretty solid glimpse of what it’s like to give up the objective of getting better.

No judgments against this person. Just a simple observation of how things can turn bad if you take your eyes off the wheel. So may advice, since you clearly asked for it, is to never stop trying to get better. Every show, every experience in your field, is a chance to get to the next level.

As my magician friend Rocco says, “When you're green you grow, when you're ripe, you rot.” That’s zen philosophy, or a suggestion he got from a cracker jack box. Either way, it’s good advice.