Published On: Tue, Nov 15th, 2016

Adam Richmond Has Some Advice On Surviving as a Comic

For those who are creatively inclined and seek to turn a creative passion into a professional career, there’s the idea that at some point these creative souls will have to give up their dreams and passions for the reality of day jobs and a more secure financial setting.

But, just because pursuing a creative career is difficult as far as earning a living is concerned does not mean that it’s impossible.  Add to that, pursuing a passion has been scientifically proven to make one happier and more content. One study in particular, published in the Psychology of Well-Being journal, found that harmonious passion, a term that defines an internalization of an interest into a personal identity, leads to psychological well-being and prevents negative, internal conflict.

According to the study, “well-being, broadly defined as happiness, life satisfaction, and self-growth, represents one of the most important aspects of efficient psychological functioning.”

While research supports that happy people experience benefits like improved physical health, better personal relationships and a higher-level of performance, simply enjoying something or having a passion for it isn’t always going to pay the rent.

adam-richmond-1That’s the hurdle that plenty of artists who pursue creative aspirations professionally face — namely, how to turn a creative talent into something that will provide a reliable living.

For many, giving up one’s passion and settling for a more “mainstream” professional existence is just not an option.  Many artists understand the difficulty and competitiveness of pursuing their creative talent and are more than willing – and, in fact, feel far more satisfied – in facing these various challenges head-on while building a professional creative career.

Los Angeles comedian Adam Richmond would be one of these creative souls.

Born and raised in Canada, Adam entered comedy soon after graduating from the University of Western Ontario.  Training in various comedy seminars, including Second City Improv, Adam was also one of the youngest touring headliners to come out of Canada and move to the United States.

Finding success in Canada, in the mid-2000s Adam Richmond made an even larger bet on his creative talents and moved to Los Angeles to pursue comedy on an even broader scale.   Many people would think twice about making such a significant move.  But, in many ways, it was a natural choice for Adam and one that led to other professional opportunities as a comic.  Opportunities like being on Last Comic Standing, Last Call with Carson Daly, Nickelodeon and being hired for voice over work for Disney’s Tron: Uprising, as well as having the opportunity to regularly tour the clubs throughout the United States — all of this may have been much less likely to occur if Adam hadn’t moved to Los Angeles.

“Moving to Los Angeles was instrumental to me and my career,” Adam explains. “The other comedians I’ve met here, the opportunities I’ve had – these have all shaped who I am as a comedian.

Adam then adds, “Good or bad, I would have been a different comedian if I hadn’t moved to LA. Also, I don’t care what people have to say about Hollywood, this is the biggest artist colony you will ever find anywhere in the world.  The collection of talented people over here is unparalleled.”

adam-richmond-2Adam then shifts the subject to comment on the impact comedy has on the world today.

“In my mind, comedians are the modern-day truth tellers.  I’ve thought this for a while and it’s something I continue to believe in.  People go to watch some of the comedy shows for their political information – The Daily Show, Bill Maher, Late Night With Seth Meyers – more than they’ll refer to the news outlets.  Comedians are reflecting on what’s going on in the world in a more palatable and funny way.  And as a whole, they may be the smartest group of people on the planet.  Maybe not the wealthiest or healthiest, but definitely some of the brightest,” Adam says.

In Adam’s view, the comedic arts and the role of the comedian is to break down some of the myths of society by turning it into a contemporary social and political narrative.

“Really good comedy has this transcendence ability.  Who wants to talk about ISIS or some other controversial subject seriously and head-on?  Many times that just sparks further conflict. But, good comedy has this unique ability to catch an audience off-guard.  They may be laughing about some joke on the topic, but it will also get them thinking. You just got to know how to sell it and doing it with humor helps make edgy content palpable to the masses.”

However, like many careers that are creative-based, Adam has had to work extremely hard and dedicate years to perfecting and enhancing his skills, traits that are often overlooked when people think about comedians and their work.

“There is a sort of feast or famine thing going on in comedy right now,” Adam says. “A few comedians at the top are making the majority of the money, while the majority of comedians are making very little.”

While this makes it hard for comedians to survive off of stand-up alone, it also helps to weed out those who aren’t serious or who for various reasons don’t want to fully commit to being a comedian.

“I always say, if you see a working comedian you have never heard of, that means they’re good,” Adam adds. “My own personal claim to fame is the fact that I’ve never had a real job.  It’s a personal success story.  I mean sometimes I don’t eat, but I can fill my belly on pride (he laughs)”.

For Adam, transforming his love for making people laugh into a sustainable career meant using every avenue available to him.

“You can make your passion work for you — you really just have to be determined and resilient,” Adam concludes.  Adam then smiles, “Being funny helps too.”

Author: Jake Baker

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