What It Takes to Break a World Record
I started interviewing comedians in 2016.
I got good feedback.
Some people tweeted, “I’m unsubscribing.”
But comedians are business people. They start from scratch. They start with an idea.
Nobody supports them.
Everyone says, “You’re not going to make it.”
The comedian, just like the entrepreneur, has to ignore the doubters. They have to push against the current. Write every day. Get up on stage. Bomb. Get up again. Then they have to figure out to make money, book shows, grow a fanbase, market.
They have to be 100% in.
Just like any founder.
That’s what Aaron Berg did. And it finally paid off. He broke the world record for most sets in one night.
And filmed it.
This documentary is like a masterclass in comedy. It’s called “25 Sets” (you can pre-order it on iTunes now). Or get it on Amazon October 15.
He does a lot of crowd work. Which means he has to relate to people, be in the moment. And find the funny.
This is one of the thousands of skills that transfer from comedy to business.
I’ll give you an example from my podcast.
I was doing a live show. One of my producers held up a sign. She wanted to get my attention without distracting the audience. Or stopping the show.
But that’s awkward.
So I called out, “Why are you holding a sign that says ‘Mic?’”
The mic was going in and out. I didn’t know. So we replaced it in front of everybody. Which is better than if she tried to crawl on her hands and knees, act invisible and swap mics.
You have to call out what’s happening.
That’s how you get people engaged.
That’s how you build trust.
I’ll give you three more lessons from my interview with the world-record breaking comedian, Aaron Berg.
1. ENJOY WHAT YOU’RE DOING FIRST
“Great is an unachievable goal,” Aaron said. “If you set your goal to be a great comic, you’re going to fail endlessly. And it’s going to be miserable all the time. If you say, ‘Hey, I want to enjoy this. And make these people enjoy this, and whatever happens, happens, that may happen.”
2. DON’T FAKE IT
“I just try to feel what I’m actually feeling,” Aaron said. He doesn’t pander. He doesn’t make up. Or try to say “the right thing.” He’s just real. And flawed. And fine with that.
3. GO PAST YOUR LIMIT
It’s the same way how Olympic runners train for distances farther than their race. Baseball players practice with weights on their bat.
Aaron did 25 sets in one night. Now doing four sets in a night seems so easy. That’s the benefit of going past your limit.
Here’s a list of everything else we talk about in this episode:
- Find out how to create more financial freedom for yourself [0:00]
- Episode sneak peek [1:05]
- I introduce Aaron Berg, a world record-breaking stand-up with a brand new documentary, “25 Sets” [3:03]
- Why Aaron Berg’s new record is incredibly difficult [3:18]
- The mental attitude Aaron used to beat the world record of the total number of sets performed in one night [4:38]
- The importance of getting along with people [5:08]
- Aaron’s attitude about rejection. “Don’t take it personally. It will happen when it happens. You’re thinking, ‘I should be working at every club. I should be making a living. I should have a fanbase,’ but that stuff takes longer than you think it would take. It’s not when you’re ready for it, artistically. It just happens when it happens.” [6:40]
- “Keep your eyes on your own paper.” Don’t compare yourself to other people. Because it makes you miserable. Aaron said, “ There’s always people aheadof you. There’s always people behind you.” So I asked him, “What’s the most miserable you’ve been?” [7:30]
- Making your own thing. Don’t wait to be chosen [9:18]
- How Aaron got the idea to do 25 sets in one night [10:47]
- How Aaron measures success [12:22]
- Aaron makes fun of podcast producer extraordinaire, Steve Cohen [13:49]
- What’s good comedy? Then vs. now [14:30]
- We talk about Dave Chappelle and Bill Burr’s new specials. And how they keep their finger on the pulse [17:15]
- What role does anger have in comedy? [19:29]
- Recommended: “The Great Depresh” Gary Gulman’s new special [20:08]
- Listen to one of Aaron’s best performing jokes about Trump [21:38]
- Does watching the news actually improve your life? [22:48]
- I ask Aaron how he paid for his new special, “25 Sets” [23:55]
- Aaron talks about couple’s therapy. Which was filmed in a ShowTime series called “Couple’s Therapy” [26:55]
- Why Aaron almost got divorced [27:47]
- How Aaron approaches each set. And what makes one great. Versus bad [30:04]
- There’s value in going past your limit. [31:23]
- How to engage your audience. 1. Don’t be pre-canned. 2. Call out what you’re seeing. This works for business meetings, interviews, emails, etc. [34:28]
- The thrill of “going 100% by the seat of your pants” and being in the moment [36:43]
- I ask Aaron what made him switch from performing his own material to doing crowd work [37:45]
- How to develop your point of view [38:19]
- How Aaron gets the audience to laugh at things they feel uncomfortable laughing at [40:17]
- Recommended: Will Smith’s show on Facebook called “Bucket List,” specifically the episode with Dave Chappelle [41:18]
- What’s more beneficial? Getting people to laugh at things that make them uncomfortable. Or getting people to use the right pronouns and avoid certain language? [42:16]
- Comedy is under attack. Aaron says the new definition of comedy. And why people are getting offended at things from back in time [42:45]
- Aaron is an equal opportunity offender. And gives an example of the fake outrage that everyone is using to try to virtual signal [44:47]
- Aaron says, “You can’t work for great. Great is an unachievable goal. If you set your goal to be a great comic, you’re going to fail endlessly and it’s going to be miserable all the time. If you say, ‘Hey, I want to enjoy this. And make these people enjoy this and whatever happens, happens, that may happen.” [45:45]
- Hear one of Aaron’s most controversial jokes. [46:53]
- The importance of having confidence [47:40]
- I ask Aaron if he’s ever lost the audience. And how he wins them back. He gives an example where he’s on stage. And doing crowd work. Then finds out that the people he’s making fun of just lost their daughter [48:04]
- Don’t exaggerate. Aaron says, “I just try to feel what I’m actually feeling.” I ask how he developed this ability [49:45]
- Aaron likes to engage hecklers. Because normally, he only sees hecklers online. So when he gets one in real life, he sees it as an opportunity and a challenge. [50:42]
- How Aaron offended a table of black people by saying “Your laughs matter.” And then won them back over throughout the night [51:20]
- How life experience helps Aaron talk to the crowd [52:42]
- I ask Aaron why he wanted to be a stand-up [53:55]
- Recommended: Aaron’s morning show with Geno Bisconte called “In Hot Water” [54:14]
- I ask Aaron if it’s more difficult to perform with a large crowd [55:14]
- I ask Aaron, “What’s next?” [56:37]
- We talk about one more offensive joke about Netanyahu [59:13]
- How Aaron gets away with the most politically incorrect jokes [1:00:11]
- I ask Aaron my final question. But get distracted. [1:01:17]
- Why Aaron’s documentary is like a masterclass in comedy. And where you can get it (it’s on pre-sale on iTunes. Or you can get it on Amazon) [1:02:14]
- I say my favorite moment with Aaron Berg. And thank him for coming on the podcast. [1:02:56]
Links & Resources:
- Watch Aaron Berg’s documentary “25 Sets” (you can pre-order it on iTunes)
- “American Etiquette: Failing Upwardly in a Fox News Nation” by Aaron Berg
- “Mr. Manners: Proper Etiquette for the Modern Degenerate” by Aaron Berg
- Aaron Berg’s Albums: “Comedy Coltrane” & “Unscripted”, both available on iTunes or Amazon
- Aaron’s Radio Show “In Hot Water” , LIVE Tuesdays at 2pm
- Listen to my first interview with Aaron Berg – Ep. 316 – “The Fearless Comedian (How He Finds The Funny)”