And if you are a performer, you need to read this...
With numb faces, red eyes, and sore cheekbones, we have just returned from Joan Rivers' tour-de-force performance at the Music Center at Strathmore, in North Bethesda, MD. She is one of the funniest people in the world to me. There is a shortlist of maybe four comedians, living or dead, who can make me laugh at any time of the day no matter how I am feeling. Margaret Cho, Ellen DeGeneres, Joan Rivers, and - more recently - Chelsea Handler. While they all have markedly different comedic styles, I have noticed some common threads in their work; threads that I can personally identify with in a very strong way.
The first is an intrinsic sense of somehow being the outsider in life - the underdog - with overarching themes and experiences in your daily round that constantly whisper into your ear telling you that, at least metaphorically speaking, you are definitely NOT sitting at the "cool table." And try as you might to fit in so you'll be accepted, the fashionable, popular people are always going to be rolling their eyes at you.
The second common thread I have noticed is their absolute love of being onstage, and the love of the craft of their work. These are people who are doing what they do - at the highest levels possible - and they would be doing it whether before five people in a community center in Duluth, or before 4,000 people at a sold out performance in one of the wealthiest theater communities in the United States, as Joan Rivers did tonight. They are out there doing it because they LOVE it.
But the most important part of this equation, for me, is that they were all doing it before they had success and before they had money. My learning curve right now, which seems to be curving around the following - to do what I love to do (singing and sharing music) without the foundational, stabilizing things that fame provides (total personal financial security, an agent, a manager, a TOUR manager, a publicist, having a name that guarantees a paying audience, etc., etc.) - is actually very, very, very difficult.