How old were you when you realized your calling? Maybe you’re still searching for it. Comedians are no different. Some people always knew they wanted to do comedy. There are a few comedians who were already well known when they were teenagers. Others didn’t find out they were meant to do comedy until much later in their lives. Sometimes comedians worked in vastly different fields before finding out they could make a living being funny. Here is the age and former occupations of various famous stand-ups before they made it big:
Chris Rock – Rock dropped out of high school and was working in fast food before he began performing in various New York comedy clubs in 1984 at 19 years old.
Amy Schumer – Schumer started her stand-up career on her 23rd birthday in 2004 after working as a bartender and waitress.
George Carlin – Carlin began performing stand-up in the early 1960s after getting kicked out of the Air Force and working as a radio host.
Ron White – White started performing at age 29 after serving in the Navy.
Sarah Silverman – Silverman first performed comedy at age 17 and did so bad she didn’t try again until she was 19. She was an NYU student and waitress in the mean time.
Wanda Sykes – Sykes began performing in DC area clubs at age 23 while working as a contracting specialist for the NSA.
Seth Rogen – Movie star Seth Rogen was getting paid to do stand-up comedy at age 13.
Joan Rivers – Rivers got her start doing stand-up in 1959 after working as a Rockefeller Center tour guide, as a fashion consultant and as a writer for an advertising agency.
Louis CK – Louis first performed at an open mic at 18 but worked as an auto mechanic, cook and video store clerk before he began to make a living doing comedy.
Sam Kinison – Kinison became a comedian in 1978 after divorcing his wife and giving up his career as a Pentecostal preacher.
Roseanne Barr – Barr was a stay-at-home mom before finally giving stand up a go in 1980 at age 28.
Richard Pryor – Pryor worked as a drummer and was drafted into the Army before beginning his legendary career at age 23.
Rodney Dangerfield – Dangerfield had moderate success as a comedian as a teenager in the 1930s. He gave up on show business soon after and worked various jobs but was mostly a salesman until the 1960s. Changing up his name and his act, Dangerfield finally became a successful comedian in his mid-40s.
This list shows us that comedy knows no age and you should always keep looking for the career that makes you happy. Rodney Dangerfield remained a popular comedian even around the time he died at 82. Old or young, we want to hear your jokes down at Stand Up NY.