After 16 years of pursuing Stand-Up Comedy and getting infinitely more rejections than jobs, I have learned the critical importance of being persistently patient. This has been my motto and the centering focus that has kept me on my path for almost 2 decades. I think of my life sometimes as a movie. There is a really great book called “Produced by Faith” by DeVon Franklin and it discusses the critical importance of being the watcher of our own lives as if we are viewing cinema. This approach allows for the trials and tribulations of life to inspire. None of us would ever be excited about seeing a film where nothing really happened. Think about that pitch…”Ok so imagine some young person aspired to a profession where there were no obstacles and every desire they had was immediately fulfilled without conflict.” NOBODY WOULD EVER SEE THAT MOVIE. We must love the whole journey. That’s how we affect change, shine our lights and encourage others to shine theirs. My life has been devastating and triumphant, brilliant and flailing. I am a Foster Kid, Lesbian, Recovering Drug Addict Funny girl and I would trade none of it for a simpler story. I get on a stage and make people laugh because I am incredibly fallible but my willingness to be seen is what makes people feel liberated in their own messiness. One of my favorite Comediennes Monique Marvez said it best, “Laughter is what prevents our pain from scaring.”
I entitled this piece “Persistently Patient” because that is the requisites you need to stay in the game as a Stand-Up Comedian or artist of any kind. As artists, we over-personalize rejection and we forget we are a brand. I think of it like this: sometimes the consumer goes shopping for sneakers and they pop into a “Footlocker,” (not sure if people still walk in to stores anymore, but please feel free to substitute in “Amazon.com” if you’re a millennial reading this) let’s say the consumer is on a mission to walk out of there with something on their feet and they have a time limit to purchase the shoes, there are VANS and CONVERSE on the shelves. They go with the CONVERSE. The VANS are still a solid pair of shoes, a worthy, durable, brand but this time, just this time the consumer went with the CONVERSE. It does not mean that the VANS are a worthless shoe, that nobody likes that shoe, and that we all should all just throw away our VANS. It just means it wasn’t the brand that was selected this time and the VANS don’t go home devastated unsure of their worthiness. That is how we as artists must look at our artistic pursuit. It is not a personal attack on our character or an assault on our art if our “brand” is not selected. We must say to ourselves…each “no” gets us closer to our “yes.” Be persistent and patient. What I have learned in my career so far is that if you honor your purpose the universe will continue to conspire for your good.
I relate to the world through metaphor and inspirational quotes so I’ll leave you with this…”You can spend all your years picking apples from an apple tree and one day God will deliver you a basket of oranges.”
About the Author:
Renée Santos is a Stand Up Comic that regularly performs at well-known clubs like Broadway Comedy Club, New York Comedy Club, and The Laugh Factory. Her debut National Television appearance was on Showtime Network’s Pride Comedy Jam and since then she has appeared on several shows including NBC’s New Amerstdam, playing Nurse Heidi. She recently released her comedy album, Outside The Box, which is available on iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon. For more information about Renée, and booking information, please visit her page.