Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Fame, fortune and funny

If you want to accomplish something, set a goal. Set a goal to hit; have something to strive for. If you try to just “do your best” you may never fully live up to your potential. I coasted through my job this summer without setting a true goal – other than doing “as much as I could” to help my office be the best – and found myself feeling somewhat disappointed. I knew I had succeeded, but I didn’t exactly hit a goal. As much as my managers had urged my to set a fixed goal, I never saw the purpose.

One week ago, I realized why goals are important. I realized what can happen if you strive for something.

Future comic legend (and my roommate) Brad Williams had a goal. After seeing comedian Carlos Mencia perform a year and a half ago at the Brea Improv, Brad became inspired. Carlos’ type of humor and his attitude toward life in general motivated Brad to become a comedian. He went to open-mic nights at comedy clubs around LA with some untested material and a goal: to one day open for Carlos Mencia, his new idol.

Each time Carlos performed in LA, Brad faithfully sat in the audience, laughing hysterically as Carlos did his routine. After each show, Carlos would shake hands with audience members and sign autographs, and each time Brad would be there. Show after show, Carlos became more and more familiar with Brad and his dream of being a comedian.

Last Sunday, at the Ontario Improv, Brad drove out to see Carlos do his show. He’d been anticipating it for weeks. After the first of two shows, Brad went out to see Carlos, shake his hand, and tell him about his most recent experiences with comedy. Carlos invited Brad to stay for the second show for free as a special guest of his. Just before Carlos’ opening comic, Steve Trevino, took the stage, Carlos said to Steve, “Hey, put Brad up.”

“Huh?” Brad’s head whipped around, wondering what Carlos could have possibly meant by that.

“You’ve got material, right?” Carlos asked.

“Well, yeah,” said Brad.

Without time to even think about what was going on, Brad was on the stage with the word “IMPROV” behind him. He was opening for Carlos Mencia.

STANDING TALL: Brad performed eight 10-minute sets this week at the Ontario Improv opening for Carlos Mencia. Posted by Hello

“If you don’t like me, don’t worry, I only do short sets,” he said as he got on stage.

As his set came to a close and he introduced the next comic Steve, Brad wondered what this meant. What would come from this performance? He found out shortly thereafter when Carlos took the stage.

Carlos spoke about how every so often he chooses an up-and-coming comic to mentor and because the audience laughed at Brad’s set, Carlos decided to take him on as a protégé. Brad listened offstage. He just accomplished his goal. He opened for Carlos Mencia. What else could there be beyond this?

After the show, Carlos asked Brad to open for him the next week as he continued performing at the Ontario Improv. Brad opened eight shows last week, each more funny than the one before it. After each show, Carlos and Steve gave Brad advice on how to make his jokes funnier and how to work the crowd. His goal to open for Carlos Mencia will no doubt help springboard Brad’s career.

Even though Brad did find himself in the right place at the right time, his preparation of material and previous open-mic performances proved essential in his accomplishment of his goal. Now he has a new goal: to headline at the Improv. Now he sees his true potential. Now you’ll hear his name in 20 years and remember reading this. You’ll think about Brad’s goal and how accomplishing it changed his life.

What’s your goal?

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