“How I Launched My Comedy Career Because Of $39
Bucks” Listening To Your Inner Voice Part 2
–By Jan McInnis, Comedian and Keynote Speaker
The six-hour drive home that night was awful and only further depressing because around 2 a.m. a big pink bus drove by me with the word “Dolly” on its side. Dolly Parton was passing me literally and figuratively! I thought to myself, “I bet Dolly’s not dealing with people like this!” And then it hit me: my inner voice said “And you don’t have to either.” Then of course that “other” inner voice, the scaredy cat voice, jumped right in with “But you need money badly and CB has all that comedy cub work!” Voice one countered with “Work? Yeah, you’re working all right, but you’re not getting paid!” Scaredy cat screamed back “But everyone works for CB! You’re barely making enough to eat now, what do you mean you’re going to stop working for the biggest booker within a seven-hour drive?” and my inner voice finally won out with “You got into this business to have fun, work for people you respect, and enjoy life. You are doing none of those things by working for CB…plus you’re still broke! You cannot work for CB anymore.”
As frightened as I was to do it, I stopped calling CB for work. I figured I’d try it for one year, and if I was desperate at the end of the year, then I’d swallow my pride and dial CB’s number.
It is an understatement to tell you what a huge move this was. As a new comedian who had few connections, I was considered one of the lucky ones because I got “approved” for work in CB’s clubs. There were comics who were begging to get into and there still were other comics who had been cheated by CB but who continued to work for CB because they “needed the work.” But my gut check told me that I just couldn’t.
And so the year went by, and not working for CB did impact me financially: I actually made more money! I had to look for work elsewhere, through expanding my connections, and my bank account grew during that process. And in a weird move, CB actually called me to find out why I wasn’t calling for work (comedy club owners never do that). I can proudly say that I never burned the bridge by telling CB what to do with that $39 bucks; I just said that I was not available for work because I had been booked. And I was.
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