• Joshua Bates

White Belt Comics

The grind is hard. You’ll hear a thousand clips from different professional comedians that say comedy isn’t easy. It’s not, they‘re so right. It takes all of your attention, it consumes you, it’s chews you up and spits you out. One day, you’re feeling the high of featuring for a national comedian, the very next day you‘re at a crappy open mic and you bomb. Most people think stand up is something you can just pick up, grease the wheels and ride. It’s not, at least as a novice it isn’t. Our little community of comics in Charleston is great. We’re all at different levels and most of us have the same goal-just be better. Some people don’t though, they seem like tourists. They aren’t putting in a lot of work. This makes me sound like an asshole- I’m probably saying this the wrong way. I have no problems with hobbyist, newcomers, etc. We all started somewhere and that’s great! I welcome all new comedians to our scene. Maybe the best analogy is a dojo. I heard a similar analogy from a great local comedian. When your a white belt, you’re the ”new guy or girl”, your job is to learn the basics. If all the black belts decided to go out for a drink after a meet, the white belt shouldn’t feel entitled to be invited. I’m not saying the white belt should never get to go out with those black belts but give them a chance to invite you. Perhaps the black belts have topics they want to discuss, maybe some new techniques they want to throw around-is the white belt out of place? Yes. Black belts will see hundreds of white belts that come and go, never to return after just a few workouts, so why bother creating any meaningful relationship with that person until they have proven their worth, their dedication?

You hear stories about places like the Comedy Cellar where there are tables that are always reserved for the top comics. It’s not written anywhere, but the other comedians just understand. They hope that one day they can make it to that table. I don’t see anything wrong with that. In all arts there are ranks, I don’t see why we don’t have the same. It’s OKAY to be a white belt. Embrace it, be proud that you walked in and want to do this. Just know where you stand and respect those that came before you and learn. Also know in no way am I saying I’m a black belt. God no. I’m very new to this journey. I would be a white belt in many dojo’s. Whatever belt I am, I know I have a long way to go. I’m okay with that and maybe you should be too.

Anyway, back to the grind.