Whenever you tell people you ‘freelance’, all they hear is, “I haven’t showered today,” which is as offensive as it is sometimes true.
The only career that gets more derision is comedian. OK, maybe performance poet, but comedian’s not far off.
Freelancing is hard, but even harder is explaining what that means to your family. Up until this year, my parents still sent me jobs they found on Seek that were ‘comedy adjacent’. One job was a writer for softcore porno magazine People, which I imagine is an endless creative exercise in coming up with adjectives for tits.
If this sounds familiar to you, rest easy. You’re not alone. Maybe you’re a musician, or a graphic designer, or even a performance poet (although I hope you aren’t). Whatever your vocation, you’re probably tired of having to reassure your family and wealthy friends that it’s all going to be OK for you. And I have some good news for you – with the following guide, you won’t have to.
Five ways to make it look like you’ve got your shit together (when you definitely don’t)
1. Maintain An Enigmatic Instagram
Social media curation is key to any lie that you’re doing well, and Insta should be first priority. Inspiring quotes, photos of your workspace accompanied by captions such as “a l w a y s w o r k” or “making $$$”… and when you need to pull out the big guns, a heavily filtered selfie accompanied by an essay of all the people and opportunities you’re grateful for should help persuade your doubters that you are in fact the Kanye of your generation.
2. Colour Coordinate
No one has ever looked at an entirely aesthetically matching person and thought, “I wonder if they’re OK.”
3. Remember, Everything Is A New Diet
Your successful friends want to go out for lunch. Of course they do – how else will they get to see who’s the king? And you want to go, but you definitely can’t afford anything on the menu. Even eating a free breadstick would put you in debt. Well, you don’t have to, because you’re on a new diet that they’ve never heard of! You’re cutting out all carbs, proteins, liquids and solids. Anyone who’s dieting can’t be doing too badly.
4. Take Fake Phone Calls
Your uncle Wayne has that look in his eye. He’s going to ask you if you’ve considered leaving comedy to get a trade. Before he can get the words out, you hold your phone up – “I’ve really gotta take this!” – and have an incredibly important-sounding meeting with any made-up person you choose. It could be your agent offering you a role in the new Scorsese film. A client offering you a $40k contract. Maybe another Chili Peppers guitarist got addicted to heroin, and you have to step up. Uncle Wayne will be silenced by your (fake) success.
5. Remind People You’re Not A Performance Poet
Unless you are – then you’re on your own.
What’s funny this week?
Saturday February 18
The Hour Of Power at The Comedy Store. A killer hour show featuring my fave comedian/enemy Becky Lucas [below], along with Matt Okine, Mike Goldstein (US) and Wilson Dixon (NZ).
Monday February 20
The Comedy Lounge, Surry Hills. This firecracker of a room puts newcomers and famous comedians on the same stage. I’m actually hosting this one.
[Main image: The fake phone call, a foolproof way to look busy]
Cameron James is a stand-up comedian.
You can follow him on Twitter at @iamcameronjames, or in the streets.