I was talking to another Bay Area comic who got rejected from SF Sketchfest this year, and they were clearly a little frustrated and told me, “you always get in anyway.”
Five years ago, I didn’t, and never had – and I’d been applying for YEARS at that point. I’d just done some club auditions and was getting paid regularly to perform and thought it was my YEAR, and then I got rejected.
I was upset and angry but opted to go check out some Sketchfest standup shows to see what WAS getting in, and then took a long hard look at my own performances and material and went back to the drawing board on some stuff. It made me a better comic. I got in the following year. Then I created a show that takes even more work and organization and logistics, and me and my show got in the next year and every year since. But nothing is guaranteed. I kinda didn’t think I was getting in this year. I might get rejected next year.
Sometimes rejections don’t make sense. I’ve been told I was passed by a club booker, who then ignored all my emails. I was told by a club booker that my 3rd (and 4th, and 5th) auditions were “good, I just want to see you with a bigger crowd” (kinda more their problem than mine, but still) who told me to send available dates for another audition who then ignored me AND made sure to tell another club booker they didn’t like me.
BUT, these are their venues and they can book them however they want, and at some point you learn to handle the criticism and change what you can while still making the kind of work you want, or you pack it up and find the one venue who lets you put on a weird monthly show and doesn’t care that nobody shows up and you learn to be happy with that. Either way, you get to where you’re supposed to be, and you always have the right to walk away from whatever venue or booker or producer doesn’t seem to want to work with you. But I am 100% confident that getting bitter and angry and sniping about other comics, or how a venue or festival books, achieves nothing. The only thing I am very confident about within this silly life is that whenever something doesn’t go the way I want, if I get focused, make a plan and work hard, what I want (or some version of it) usually happens. And in cases where it doesn’t, the hard work and focus usually lead to other opportunities and I’m too busy to worry about what didn’t work out.
So, catch me in early 2020 in SF Sketchfest. Depending on the next year, who knows if I’ll be in it again, and it’s always a great festival with tons of amazing performers and shows.