by Philip Ruddy, LMFT, Depth Psychotherapist
The Hollywood Reporter recently published a story suggesting L.A. stand-up comics can earn up to $2,500 weekly, * on the local comedy circuit. The "Netflix Effect" they called it. The "new comedy gold rush."
"That’s funny, " thought a lot of L.A. comics. "I don’t get paid nearly that much. Is it just me? Is the rest of my tribe getting rich, while I’m grateful to score a couple of drink coupons, or some gas money, if I’m lucky?"
Online magazine Vulture decided to dig deeper. The truth? The vast majority of hardworking L.A. stand-ups make nowhere near that amount. Click HERE to see the reality for most Los Angeles comics.
By now, we're all aware of the negative effects of social media, including FOMO, fear of missing out. In celebrating the few who are earning thousands, the Hollywood Reporter article made it feel like a norm, and if you weren't earning that much, you were clearly missing out on that "comedy gold rush." This misperception, or cognitive distortion, is rampant in our culture, and amplified here in Hollywood. And it can easily lead to feelings of stress, anxiety, or even depression.
The life of a stand-up comedian or comedy writer can be creatively rewarding, and at times, financially rewarding too, but when feelings of anxiety or depression arise, I invite you to re-ground yourself in the principles that first motivated you to write a joke, create a sketch, film a short, or climb upon that stage, boldly grab the microphone, and speak your own, unique truth to a room full of strangers.
This career choice is not easy. Most people can't do this. Don't do this. So why do it? Why does any creative calling beckon? It starts as a voice, from somewhere deep inside: "I have something to say. Something to share. And I simply will not wait any longer to share it." When we re-connect with that initial voice, despite all the challenges, despite all the setbacks, the rewards do outweigh the risk. That is the true inner gold.
No matter what your personal career or creative goals may be, learning tools to enhance self-care and manage stress, anxiety, or depression through the roller coaster ride that is entertainment, can make a critical difference.
As a therapist with over 15 years of industry experience, I have helped many comedians, writers, performers and creative professionals embrace these tools, transcend self-limiting beliefs, and bring about positive change in their life, relationships and career.
Call (424) 354-3910 today for a free 20-minute consultation and take the next step on your personal and professional creative journey. I look forward to working with you.
( * Update: After the publication of the Vulture story, and vocal feedback from Los Angeles comics, the Hollywood Reporter has re-edited their original story to clarify that this figure refers to weekly revenues for established, top-tier comedians engaged on national tours - NOT for new comics on the local L.A. circuit, as their article originally suggested. Kudos to Vulture, and the many comics who made their voices known, to bring about this correction.)
• Philip Ruddy, LMFT #107495, Depth Psychotherapist (424) 354-3910 tel •