Civilian: So what do you do for a living?
Comic: I’m a stand up comic.
Civilian: Yeah, but like…what’s your REAL job?
Comic: Um…well…I work in a restaurant to help support my comedy…
Civilian: Oh! So you’re a WAITER!
Most comics work a number of odd jobs to support their comedy dreams. It ain’t easy, but even the best comedians of all time had to work odd, random, dead-end jobs to support their dreams. Check ’em out:
KEVIN HART: Shoe Salesman
“I was a successful shoe salesman, one of the best in the business. I could break down anything about a sneaker. I was going to work for Nike but then said I don’t wanna do it, let me start doing comedy.”
GABRIEL IGLESIAS: Wal-Mart
“I was selling cell phones at Wal-Mart when my buddy working with me said he’d seen these comics performing and I should go check it out.”
JIM GAFFIGAN: Advertising
Studying finance in college, Gaffigan moved to New York not for stand up comedy, but for advertising. And today he is one one of only a handful of comedians who can consistently sell out large theaters all over the country. His first book Dad is Fat also made it to the New York Times best sellers list.
JERRY SEINFELD: Over-the-Phone Lightbulb Salesman
“There aren’t a lot of people sitting home in the dark saying ‘I can’t hold out much longer…”
WHOOPI GOLDBERG: Mortuary Cosmetologist
Whoopi worked a lot of odd jobs, one of the strangest: applying makeup to dead people.
JIM CARREY: Janitor
JOHN STEWART: Puppeteer
BEN BAILEY: Jack of all Trades
Believe it or not, host of Cash Cab, Ben Bailey, was not a cab driver before the show. BUT he claims that,”I have had more than 70 jobs in my life. A BUNCH of odd jobs. [laughs] The joke from the town that I grew up in was that I worked every job in the entire town—and I kinda did. I worked in the sandwich shop, the pizzeria, the flower shop, the ice cream parlor—I was a life guard at TWO different pools—the library, the bike store, the hardware store, the grocery store, the pharmacy…I worked everywhere! [laughs]”
PABLO FRANCISCO: Domino’s Pizza
“I would make fun of the people I delivered pizzas to…and we had a buncha fuckin weird drivers, so I’d make fun of them—in a tasteful way. And my manager was laughing at all my shit. In fact, that’s where I came up with my ‘Little Tortilla Boy’ bit.”
ELLEN DEGENERES: Selling Vacuum Cleaners
In an interview with Willie Nelson, Willie mentioned that he also used to sell vacuum cleaners!
DANE COOK: Newspaper Delivery Boy
“The thing that sucked is when I would go collecting everyone acted like they weren’t home.”
ZACH GALIFIANAKIS: Strip Club Bus Boy
“I used to be a busboy in a strip joint in New York and so I hate strip joints, I’m not that kind of person.”