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The Best Ways To Enter The Field Of Humor Or Cartooning

Jan 10, 2008
There are as many ways to enter the field of stand-up comedy, cartooning, comedy acting, and writing as there are IPODS and accessories. Okay, maybe not quite that many, but a lot of paths.

The first thing I had to do was try on a great many masks to figure out just what my "comedy voice" was and is. I tried acting, stand up-comedy and many other venues. I didn't feel totally comfortable in any of them. I did receive a lot of attention, and occasionally I was even funny on stage, but generally not. I was too nervous and self-conscious about what others were thinking. That left cartooning and humor writing. It was a wise choice.

I can look back to 1983, leaving my family's real estate business, moving to New York and deciding I was a stand-up comic. I'm glad at least one person felt I was one. As hard as I pushed at it, I couldn't seem to convince others of my avocation. Finally I came to my senses and gave it up. But didn't give up the field of humor, I simply studied other venues.

One caveat: If you've become an emcee at a nightclub, you are not David Letterman or Jay Leno yet. You will get a lot more attention from the opposite sex (and sometimes your own), a few free meals and drinks if the club owner is generous, but not a lot more perks than that.

Keep in mind Leno, probably the hardest working man in the entertainment industry, spent decades touring the country, toning his stand-up act and tweaking his delivery. That kind of experience is not mandatory, but if one ever wants a chance at such a job as his, it couldn't hurt.

Comedy acting? Take classes. There are plenty of them in larger cities. I took some in New York during my short stint there. Yes, they helped, but not enough. Such is life.

I can honestly say that the best education I ever received for becoming a humor writer, and eventually having my own cartoon, was "hanging with funny people". I was fortunate enough that a childhood friend, Patrick Weathers, had been a regular featured performer on Saturday Night Live. Patrick was my roommate in N.Y. I was privy to his friends who, were for the most part, quite witty. I learned to think like they thought. I carried that with me throughout life. I found, like many of them must have, that a sense of humor can help one cope through all kinds of situations. And I have had many (situations).

I got into cartooning as a humor writer and concept designer (maybe equivalent to art director in the movies). I can draw but not very well. So I recruited artists who felt they understood my concepts and writing and were willing to draw on speculation if I would continuously promote their name and art during down times, that is, of little or no income. Over the years illustrators came and went. A day did not go by in the first three years that I did not think we would have to abandon the project. But we persisted. (It doesn't help to read self-help books on the topic of persistence.)

A decade later later, it is almost unimaginable to me. We created the largest offbeat cartoon panel site on the Internet with over 8000 original images and have lured 8.9 million web surfers since we started counting ten years ago. We've opened 7 niche stores with 100,000 cartoon image products from tshirts to wall clocks. In many ways, I guess we have arrived. And if we can do it, so can you
About the Author
Nearly homeless in a metal warehouse, Rick London created the largest offbeat cartoon site on the Internet, Londons Times Cartoons The Best Ways To Enter The Field Of Humor
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