Chapter 15 of 25 from Steve Martin

A Life In the Arts


Failure, rivalry, bad reviews: being a comedian is hard. Steve teaches you how to roll with the punches and advocates for a life of being in the arts.

Topics include: Love Your Rivals • Embrace the Struggle • Negative Feedback Is a Badge of Honor • Don’t Overanalyze Comedy • Leave Artistry Behind When You're on Stage

Steve Martin

Steve Martin Teaches Comedy

In 25 video lessons, Steve Martin teaches you everything from finding your comedic voice to nailing your act.

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Class Info


If you're watching this, you're at least fooling around with the idea of being in the arts. And I highly recommend a life of being in the arts and being with other artists. Because they're funny, have a happy life, they're creative, they think, they learn things. And it's a very exciting life. Whether it's your primary life choice or auxiliary, just opens your horizons. It's good to be in several disciplines because you gain friends in those worlds. If you have an interest in art, you don't have to be an artist, painter, but you can have those friends and they bring new things into your life. Musicians bring new things into your life. Comedians bring new things. Actors, directors. So it's good to be a polymath because you're going to meet so many different kinds of people who are going to affect your life positively and also affect your artistic life positively. You're going to have rivals. You're going to have people you're either jealous of. You're thinking, how did that person-- why do they love that person? Love your rivals. Your rivals make you better. They are going to inspire you to go further and also it's just wasting time because there's nothing you can do about it. No matter where you are, there's going to be somebody better. It's just part of being in show business or part of being in the arts. And you know, the best thing to do is to think of it as you're their compatriots. Get to know them. Find out what's going on. Hover around. You know, you can feed off each other. You can be good, confident, spirited rivals in a sense. But don't let it eat at you. If you're going to let it eat at you, use it. Use that kind of energy to say, what can I do? Don't get yourself down because someone is killing it out there, because it's always going to happen. It's not like you can say, I finally am better than everybody. Because then you just go like this, oh, I didn't see you there. It is hard to be a comedian. First of all, there is the travel, probably traveling alone. There is mostly rejection and failure and isolation, criticism. But looking back on it myself, I thought, I didn't know how hard it was. I only know now how hard it was. There was something about me personally that liked being isolated at that time in my life and liked being alone and was uncomfortable in groups and socially. I had some really close, good friends but I was always shy at a party, introverted. So there was something that suited me about this isolated travel. And like I say, I didn't know it was a struggle at the time. I looked back later I thought, that was a struggle. At the time I was enjoying it and I loved being on the road and I loved talking to people and picking up girls and having a cocktail and then going back to your depressing hotel room alone. I do an impression of what it's like, at least ...

A comedian walks into a classroom...

One of Steve’s first gigs was at the drive-in movies. When the audience liked a joke, they honked. In this class, Steve shares insights from performing for cars and humans over a 50-year career spanning sold-out arenas and blockbuster films. Learn how to find your voice, gather material, develop an act, and take your comedy to the next level.

Watch, listen, and learn as Steve Martin shares wisdom from his five decades in comedy.

A downloadable workbook accompanies the class with lesson recaps and supplemental materials.

Upload videos to get feedback from the class. Steve will also critique select student work.


Steve Martin

Steve Martin Teaches Comedy