How to Get Discovered

Hey comics!  If you think that someone is going to discover you -- then according to Patton Oswalt -- you are old school.  Oswalt really hit the nail on the head when he admitted during his keynote for the Just For Laughs Comedy Conference in Montreal that everything he knew about "succeeding as a comedian is worthless now."

He said that in the old days, "You went on Carson, you killed, you got called over to the couch, and the next day you had your sitcom and your mansion, and you're made... The days about luck and being given [job opps] are about to end and I couldn't be happier."

It was so good to hear Oswalt say out loud what I've known for awhile: that we need to create our own opportunities and stop giving away our power to the "gatekeepers" of fame.  Now we no longer have to be "given" an opportunity to show our stuff. 

Even if you're not a comic (or a speaker), we all often designate someone as the gatekeeper and give them the power to decide how much money we make, how much success we have, and whether or not we work.  But the whole notion has become a falsehood; the real gatekeeper is between our two ears.

If you truly want a TV show -- you can create it yourself.

I'm in the process now of pitching a web series to Yahoo.  But here's the thing: if Yahoo decides they don't want it -- I'm going to do it anyway.  Matter of fact, I've already converted my garage into a studio, complete with professional diffused lighting, green screen, and even a teleprompter.  (Total cost: $300 from eBay.)  Now, every day is pilot season in my garage.

If I were an agent, I would be really worried about my job, because the Internet is making agents obsolete.  Most of the TV producers I know cast from YouTube, where you don't have to be signed by William Morris to be seen.

As entertainers become more marketing savvy (see last week's blog Marketing for Comics), they don't have to wait around and hope to be discovered.  If you want to get discovered ... then discover yourself.  Get really good at what you do, and then put it out there.  The only person telling you can't do it might be the person looking back at you in the mirror.

The gatekeeper at the door of fame is gone.  You can make your own luck.  You can give yourself the opportunity.

First get good.  Then get great.  And then get yourself out there.  If you need help, call me.  I'm here to help you be the best you can be.

You can read Oswalt's keynote here.

What do you think about Oswalt's keynote?  I love to read your comments! 


  1. What a great post. I think most people, including myself, know already deep down what you just said, but hearing it (or reading it in this case) really makes you think about it. I am my own destiny! I love it. Thanks again!

  2. Judy, I loved the post. I think this philosophy is one which has led to most of the inventions, new products and records which have been broken by individuals who didn't let others set the bar for them.
    I would love to see that garage. I hope you make a video of all of it and show it to remind others we don't need to stop for someone else's red light. Great post, Judy.

  3. What, no more casting couch?

  4. From an economics point of view. The hardest things to quantify in this world other than a Baroni sandwitch are Labour and capital. One lawyer will charge you $3000 for driving while shaving charge while another will just ask you for a chicken leg n he might even be better at that Job than the more expensive. Not only is Oswalt dissing these two properties but he is being his own Boss at a time when Access to the Audience is a 10 Lanes Highway. Oswalt will be sleeping in shoes very soon Coz he is answerable to no one. JOJO.


Judy's Blog

Judy Carter blogs on comedy, storytelling and public speaking techniques, using personal stories and her adventures as a stand-up comic turned motivational public speaker. Her weekly blogs are read by fans of her books, “The Comedy Bible” (Simon and Schuster) and “The Message of You” (St. Martin’s Press), which include comics, speakers, and entrepreneurs. She is also known for teaching the value of humor and storytelling to businesses as a leadership and stress reduction tool.