Moving from Good to Great: Insights from the World's Funniest People
Roseanne Barr was a married cocktail waitress with three kids when she first started doing stand-up. But when she was little, she had a vision. She would have her own show, and it would be funny.
One of her customers said she should go to a comedy club in downtown Denver. So Roseanne went downtown, watched all the comics, and then started working on her material - it took her an entire year to perfect five minutes. She worked every show she could get for five more years before moving to LA. Like many of those interviewed, her story combines preternatural confidence with ball-busting hard work.
Roseanne is one of dozens of comedians interviewed by Judd Apatow in his book Sick in the Head. Judd's story of how this book came to be is one of persistence and passion that began when a 15-year-old Judd called up comedians and began interviewing them for the newspaper. (The high school newspaper. A fact that may have been omitted from the initial call.)
I've found myself recommending this book to more people in more situations than I anticipated. I've returned to interviews to re-read quotes. The punch of recognition I feel reading about these comedians' approaches to their work reminds me how much we can learn from those who master their craft, no matter how far removed that craft is from our daily lives.
Here's what spoke to me. Go on, find what speaks to you. And then share it.