Jesse S. Martin: Five Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became A Professional Comedian
I wish someone explained to me how important building with your peers is. Comedy feels like a lonely game as you attend different open mics and constantly are writing jokes on your own, but building relationships with your peers and not trying to skip steps but really growing with people the same level as you is imperative because those people are who will help you the most.
I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Jesse S Martin. Jesse performs stand up comedy across the country, having hosted and performed at shows with comedians and writers from Comedy Central, Conan, the Daily Show, and more. He runs a monthly comedy show in Downtown LA with Skeet Carter.
Jesse is currently a staff writer on NBA Olympian/Analyst, Richard Jefferson’s sports satire show, The Sports Gap. He wrote the feature film Blind Currency which is being produced by Peabody Award winning and Emmy nominated Tamra Simmons. He wrote an original TV pilot, Columbia, which obtained Semi-Finalist status in the Academy Award Qualifying Rhode Island International Film Festival among others.
As an actor, Jesse is SAG-Eligible and has appeared in multiple Co-Star roles on Investigation Discovery, feature film The Fearless Two, and multiple commercial spots and advertisements including GQ, Uber Eats, and Degree for Men among others.
You have such impressive work. What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Where do you see yourself heading from here?
Thank you. Currently I am running a monthly comedy show in Los Angeles, CA, running a film production company with my business partner, and acting/writing on various projects. Most recently, I am in post production of a short film I acted in and produced that should be out next year. I also acted in and produced a film being put on Issa Rae’s Hoorae network this month. I see myself to continue to run my comedy show, act on a network show, and hopefully get on the road at some point to do some comedy shows.
What do you do to get material to write your jokes? What is that creative process like?
I get material from my everyday experiences and funny conversations with my friends. There are times where I’ll be talking to one of my friends about something and then crack a joke. Most jokes are whatever, but every now and then it’s about something that can really be expanded upon. I think life experiences are the best stuff to talk about so the biggest part of the creative process is living and then taking notes as you see things that seem obscure or interesting to you.
Super. Here is our main question. What are your “Five Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became A Professional Comedian” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
- I wish someone explained to me how important building with your peers is. Comedy feels like a lonely game as you attend different open mics and constantly are writing jokes on your own, but building relationships with your peers and not trying to skip steps but really growing with people the same level as you is imperative because those people are who will help you the most.
- I wish someone told me the importance of trying jokes in different places. There’s a huge difference in response you can get from a joke in different areas of a city or of the country so making a conscious effort to get up wherever you travel too is important.
- I wish someone told me how important crowd work is especially when you are starting out. I feel like a lot of young comics get stuck on sticking to their jokes and that hurts them when they get in situations where the jokes are working. Being able to work on crowd work not only helps with getting out of tough situations, but also overall with hosting and keeping crowds engaged on shows in between comics.
- I wish someone told me how important social media is as a comic in today’s day and age. So many comics not only can get booked from having large following, but being social media savvy can allow a comic to find shows and people running shows and build relationships with them on social. This is imperative especially since not every comic can get viral videos, but everyone can become savvy enough to locate shows in their areas and comment/share other comics shows to build with them.
- I wish someone told me run MY RACE. Too many comics get caught up in comparing their journey to others and the biggest thing I’ve seen help people move forward is when they build their circle team and just stick to their own race. You can’t get caught up in someone getting passed at a club before you or getting a writing gig because you have no idea how they got that and if you do know, they still aren’t you. Learn how people advance so you are aware of routes, but always run your race and enjoy the journey.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My favorite life lesson quote is “You are you, it’s truer than true, there’s no one on earth who is youer than you.” This is actually Dr. Seuss but especially with comedy, originality and staying true to who you are will make you stand out more than anything else. Its relevant in my life outside of stand up because it allows me to be myself in all settings, but its especially important on stage because being phony is the first thing a crowd will see.
You are a person of huge influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
If I could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people it would be an arts fund mentorship program that teaches kids how to have a day time job and pursue the arts together. The fund would finance the children’s love of film or writing as long as they maintain a GPA in their tech or finance course.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
That’s a tough one. I’d definitely like to have lunch with Donald Glover. The way he navigated comedy and film & tv was so graceful. Hearing his story and advice would be super beneficial.
Are you on social media? How can our readers follow you online?
Yep, I am on instagram, twitter and tikok at @jsmartinlive . Feel free to reach out to me, follow, and pull up to a show and hang.
This was so informative, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!
Jesse S Martin: Five Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became A Professional Comedian was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.