It’s hard for me to hang out. I took a class in college called “The American Hang Out” in which students were instructed to hang around the lecture hall and do nothing but shoot the shit with eachother for like an hour and a half. I’m pretty sure I was the only one who didn’t get an A.
The truth is that I rarely showed up. I didn’t find much of a point in gathering together in a controlled environment to gab about what Trump tweeted the day before or the latest viral video.
It takes a lot for me to be genuinely interested in what someone has to say unless I have something to gain. It’s selfish and I feel bad for thinking that—and as a wannabe comedian, I feel like it holds me back.
When it comes to comedy, the hangout is an “in” with certain clubs. If you want to get on stage, you have to know someone who can help you. Networking is part of the game any field, but the thought of schmoozing is ingenuine to me.
Last week, Stand Up NY’s podcast “Passed” with Jon B and Kevin Hurley featured veteran comedian Tom Kelly, who expresses his distaste for hanging out in comedy clubs in the season 4 episode titled “A Realist Comedic Point of View.”
Kelly reflects on the time he spent hanging around comedy clubs in his earlier years as a comedian. He struggled to find meaning in spending time and doing favors for other comedians.
“I can’t tell you how many favors I’ve wasted on people who could not return the favor,” Kelly says. “That’s the hard part about [going] tit for tat. I’ve gotten very dark when I haven’t gotten a tat for my great tits.”
Ultimately, however, Kelly says, “Just be a good human being. Make friends for the sake of being friends. Be kind to somebody who can’t do anything for you.”
Kelly has a good point. There’s a lot to be said there about the comedy hangout and hanging out in general. It’s not always about networking.
The point of that “American Hang Out” class wasn’t to find successful people to add to your LinkedIn network. The primary point was probably pretty simple: be friendly to one another. Maybe a friendly relationship can lead to something, but that should be a secondary benefit to finding a new friend.
Written by Will Flaherty
Mentions Tom Kelly