I realized this morning that in a few months it will have been four years since I appeared on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, my only modest claim to fame. I think at this point I may be able to call myself a comedy one-hit wonder. And being on Ferguson is not like having a #1 one one-hit. It is more like I peaked at #27 on the charts back in late 2007.
Sadly, for comedians there is not the same effect of being a one-hit wonder as there is in music. I remember being in Birmingham, Alabama back in 2009 and hanging out with some guys after one of the shows who were in a rock band. Their claim to fame was that they were opening up for Hinder (a one hit-wonder band from the mid 2000s). The conversation consisted of them telling stories of what their favorite threesomes were. In other words they had had enough threesomes (and from a comedian who knew them – the women they had were quite attractive, which is not surprising since southern women only come in two varieties: women who love pastries or women who look like porn stars/beauty queens) to then rank threesomes. And they were the opening band for a one hit wonder a few years removed from their one hit. Meanwhile in Ferguson land, the closest I ever got to sex for fame was when a buddy of mine told a girl that I had been on TV in a bar, asked her if she wanted to see the set and then got a blow job from her in his apartment.
In all fairness I was engaged when I did Ferguson. I remember after I did Ferguson I got several MySpace friend requests and comments (see how long ago it was) and one was from a woman who said “When will you be back in LA?” because Ferguson is filmed in LA and this woman had no reason to believe that I was a lawyer and not a full time comic at the time. My significant other at the time told me she found the comment overly suggestive (especially when she read it back to me over the phone in a 1-900 sex hotline voice). I replied – “I think she was just a fan – I have never met this person.” She responded: “You don’t have fans.”
And of course I got a great response from a then-up and coming comedian who is now pretty well-established who decided to sh*t on me (behind my back of course, but overheard by a friend) about me getting Ferguson (“who watches that anyway?” I believe was the mocking statement he made). Of course his success as a comedian should dispel any notion of karma.
So that was basically what I gained from a Ferguson appearance – a blow job for a friend, an insult from a comedian and a piece of humble pie intended to choke me to death.
If this were music I could look forward to that retro-comeback reality show bullsh*t world that exists for them, but no one is wondering, whatever happened to that guy from that one appearance on Ferguson? And of course without management that is most likely the outcome for me.
I do have something to do with my one-hit wonder status (here is the cautionary tale part for all you newbies or people starting to get some heat). After getting Ferguson and another regional tv spot (both of which I did well on), my manager parted company with the management agency (a big outfit well known in comedy). Being new and nervous I decided to stick with the management company and learned too late that it had been the individual manager who had pushed for me, not the company. So like Don Corleone after the strangling of Luca Brasi, I was left unprotected. Without him I was worthless to them. So after one mediocre showcase and one admittedly awful NACA audition (but I did not think that eating it in front of a few hundred college students from Montana could derail a budding career) I heard nothing for about 6 months (every 4th e-mail I would get a useless response from the person who I had been assigned to). They then told me at the end of a fruitless six months that I should seek representation elsewhere. I don’t know how I would have had the foresight to make the right decision there, but obviously I will be more careful in the future.
That is it folks, in those few easy steps you too can become a one-hit wonder in comedy.
So this Fall I will be making a big attempt at getting management again. Some people may say that management is not necessary, but those people are often those who got a head start thanks to management or are just full of sh*t. For example of the “New Faces” at Montreal, only two of the comedians were without representation. They are the gate keepers to a lot of this industry. Whether you like me, love me or hate me, I am objectively a much better comedian than I was 4 years ago. Significantly better. So it should stand that having been on television already and having had a very good set, it should not be that hard to get back on, right? All I can say to that is I will not be looking for the television cameras at Wisecrackers Comedy Club in Scranton this weekend where I will be performing.
This may sound bitter and it some ways it is. But I am happy with some areas of improvement – I am a better comedian and I have gotten more gigs each year than the year before for four straight years. I really want to get more TV credits to just increase the bookings I get because the life of the up and coming feature is not economically sustainable and not mentally healthy. So hopefully efforts I make this Fall will pan out, but if they don’t my experience is still no less instructive to up and coming comedians.
Now let’s crank up some Hinder!