Archive for November, 2009
I have a great life. I live in New York City, I work fairly hard and I play very hard. I make a fine living telling jokes onstage and lies on the felt, but one question remains, and I think it is a fundamental question we all must ask ourselves: Why is Clayton Fletcher not famous?
I have been working professionally in the entertainment field for 22 years and I am always amazed at the seemingly arbitrary decisions the “masterminds” who run my industry make. How someone gets picked for this commercial or that comedy festival or this film role seems random at times. The mysteries of who gets put into the fame machine and who doesn’t have always been unsolvable to me.
And then last Wednesday I held an open call for comedians at New York Comedy Club. And I got to see firsthand what those who routinely hold auditions see: people don’t suck!
We had no idea who would walk through that door, but cynically we expected most of them to be just plain awful. And to be fair, some of them were. Truly awful. Decidedly awful. A couple even took awful to the next level, flawful!
But the overwhelming majority of aspiring young performers of whom I sat atop my high horse in judgment were talented! Ah, talent, that undefinable quality somewhere between having a knack for something and being truly superhuman. Sure, many of these comics were green and unseasoned, but even they were original, hungry, gifted, ambitious, and fresh. In a word, talented!
To be clear, there is a difference between being successful in comedy and being famous. There are many professional comedians whose names you do not know. Many of them are talented but none are famous. I recently gave an interview to the popular comedy website Big Ben Comedy about this exact subject. Read it here: http://www.bigbencomedy.com/blog/archives/clayton-fletcher-becoming-a-full-time-comedian/
My job on this day was to pick five performers out of the 45 or so who auditioned for guest spots in my show (which by the way takes place every Friday and Saturday 8PM at New York Comedy Club–shameless plugs may increase your level of nausea and my level of fame). Choosing the top five was impossible. There were at least 17 whom we really liked and felt could do the spots. But we had to pick only five. And the process we used to narrow it down was, well, arbitrary! Since it really didn’t matter, we just took five out the 17 and the rest were out of luck that day.
I couldn’t help but wonder how those we rejected felt. I do a lot of auditioning myself and I often feel rejected, but maybe I should remember that there is always a luck factor in auditioning that is completely out of my hands. Now that I spent a day on the other side of the desk, I know that in show business, as in poker, you have to get lucky. In the end it’s all in the cards.