I’ve had this idea in my head for a while now, and I thought it was time so share it with the everyone. Some of us have generated a lot of material, but we haven’t taken that next step of putting it into action. It might be creating a video for your sketch comedy, publishing the book you worked on endlessly, or simply going onstage to perform your new material. When I get into a ‘comedy rut’, I’m also guilty of not producing my best work. To get around that (and keep my creative juices flowing), I decided to interview people who are successful in this industry and ask them for advice. These are people who are who are successful at writing, producing, acting, and directing all forms of comedy. For the debut of ‘Words Into Action’, I had the good fortune of interviewing Mr. Tom Dreesen.
This year, Tom Dressen will celebrate his 44th year working in comedy. He has appeared on the ‘The Tonight Show’ 61 times, and ‘The Late Show with David Letterman’ 60 times, with a periodical visit every three months. A movie is being produced based on the book ‘Tim and Tom: An American Comedy in Black and White’. This book explains how Tom and his partner Tim Reid (of ‘WKRP’ and ‘Sister, Sister’ fame) teamed up in 1968, to became America’s first interracial comedy team. They were also the last!
Tom created his one man play ‘An Evening Of Laughter & Stories with Sinatra’ based on the 14 years he spent as Mr. Sinatra’s opening act. The audience is taken on an emotional ride as Tom explains the first time he heard Frank singing at age 8 on the radio, to be becoming one of the pallbearers at his funeral. Using a combination of videos, music, and comedy – the show became a smash it. Tom explained:
“A good comedian can make you laugh for an hour and a half. A great comedian can make you laugh AND cry for an hour and a half.”
In addition to motivational speeches he delivers for corporations, Tom provides career assistance for comedians with his free seminar ‘The Joy Of Stand Up And How To Get There.’ He believes the ability to provide laughter and joy to the world is the most important job on the planet. The entertainment business can be appalling at times, and Tom reminds comedians to stay centered and not worry about the careers of other comedians:
“If you’re not centered when you are poor and unknown, if you get rich….it only makes it worse!”
“The only competition is your former self. Don’t panic – this is a lifetime marathon. There is no end to the race in comedy. We never stop learning!”
After discovering this wealth of information, I had one final question for Tom:
“What advice would you give to ‘up-and-coming’ comedians?”
1. If you’re just starting out, start where you are! Work where ever you can. Charities, fund raisers, and volunteer yourself to other events.
2. Work as often as you can.
4. Realize no one is ever going to help you.
“You have to make yourself marketable. No one will help you until you are marketable, until they can make money from you. You have to create your act and marketability.”
5. Don’t ever quit!
“If this is your dream, if this is one you want…don’t let anyone step on that dream or get in that way of the dream. There are people in show business who didn’t have the common sense to quit. The best is yet to come! Don’t ever give up your dream!”
For additional information on Tom, please check out his website: