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I'D love to do what you do,' said the punter to me after the show, 'I bet you have a great time.' Being a comedian is great. It's better than doing anything else. Well, anything I can think of. And until they set up yawning as a recognised talent or staring into space as regular paid employment, I'll stick with it.

However, if you are considering a job in the comedic sector of show business, here's a few things that you should be made aware of when you first start: You'd better have an understanding partner and family. They will have to be ready to accept you will never be around at weekends. Gigging will interrupt your social life completely; you will miss birthday parties, weddings, christenings, bar mitzvahs and all other occasions where people congregate and celebrate outside working hours.

This is because your working hours will be at that time. This will also include national occasions such as Christmas, New Year's Eve and Valentines/Mother's/Father's Day and Bank Holidays. People want to enjoy themselves at these times and you will be one of their ways of enjoyment.

Keith Carter is an awardwinning Liverpool comedian, radio and TV writer and has toured extensively throughout the UK and overseas You will grow to despise pop music. Every club has a particular song to indicate the show is about to start; the sound engineer needs to be at the desk and the comedians need to be ready backstage. The lights will go down and this song will be played. It is usually the same three pop songs, no matter where you go in the country and unfortunately it will be a song you have always despised before you became a comedian.

Only now these songs will scar your soul even deeper with their insipid crapness. They are, 'Let Me Entertain You' by Robbie Williams, 'Let's Get This Party Started' by Black Eyed Peas, and 'I Got a Feeling' by Black Eyed Peas.

Throughout the night more bland, bubblegum pop will be fed through the club during the breaks: always uplifting, always joyful, always s***. And if you like these songs, then never contemplate being a comedian or if so, never stand anywhere in my vicinity.

Stay fit and healthy. You are going to do long days of travelling, long nights of gigging and your diet is going to be terrible.

You will have a choice of junk food at service stations, junk food in train stations and junk food after gigs. There might be a chance to get the occasional vegetable here or odd piece of fruit there, but you're most likely going to be squat on the pavement at two in the morning with your face in a mad-cow and cystitis kebab.

Prepare your body for bouts of influenza, migraines, scurvy and rickets as you deliver your comedy wares across the country. And alcohol does not cure all ills but can make you past caring about how bad you feel.

Get used to having no money. Very much like being an actor, you're taking a chance everyday with your wages. There is not a regular salary. For example, you could have the money rolling in over the Xmas period, but during the next two 'lean' months of January and February, when everyone has realised how much they spent on food and pressies and have to tighten their belts, you might not be gigging for a while.

That money has to last. Plus, if you have gigs and they are cancelled for some reason, you will invariably not get paid. There are no contracts when it comes to gigs; they book you, you turn up, you play, they pay.

And if it's a last minute cancellation - say a week or a month before - you'll find it difficult to fill those gig gaps. There are a lot of comics out there and they're all clambering for work.

You will become accident prone and forgetful. Once you're up and running on the circuit, you will discover there are a lot of comics, all trying to get the gigs you want and so you have to be ahead of the game. You have to keep writing new material or promoters will think you are lazy and won't book you, comics will see you as weak and audiences will bore of you.

You will not get gigs. You have to create; so you are constantly inside your own head, trying to think of the next great joke and next brilliant routine.

Due to this constant thinking you are most likely to be unaware of outside occurrences, such as night and day or oncoming traffic or your girlfriend telling you you're not wearing trousers while you follow her round Asda.

You will not enjoy comedy any more.

Before you were a comic you loved comedy; you watched and listened to DVDs and CDs and podcasts and virals all to do with comedy and comedians.

You'd go to gigs and theatre shows; loving every minute of it. But now you're a comedian, you can't watch it - you're too busy analysing why it's funny or noting at the construction of how it's funny.

You even turn and say to your girlfriend, 'Now that was funny,' without smiling or laughing. You're just acknowledging its funniness. This will happen to you.

Now, after you've read all this and if you can accept all these things that will inevitably happen and you still want to be a comedian then there's no more than I can say apart from go for it. Being a comedian is great.

Keith Carter is an awardwinning Liverpool comedian, radio and TV writer and has toured extensively throughout the UK and overseas


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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 6, 2016
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