Me and Kevin Hart
Comedian Kevin Hart and I have a lot in common.
We share a deep love for Philly.
We were both raised by single mothers.
We share the same height 🙂 .
But it wasn’t until I read his recent memoir that I related to the successful comedian as a fellow artist.
In his book, I Can’t Make This Up, Kevin Hart writes about his experience auditioning for the NBC television show Saturday Night Live. His agent managed to snag him an audition with Lorne Michaels and crew in 2012. Kevin brought his best material. He presented. He shined. He joked. They passed.
Now, as we all know, Kevin went on to become one of the most well-known and recognized comics in recent years. He’s held the top spot as the most well paid comedian in America for two years running and shows no sign of slowing down. Was Kevin disappointed to have lost out on SNL? Absolutely. Did he let it stop him from working on his art? No way.
And while Saturday Night Live continues to be one of the most popular shows on NBC, they actually have quite a record of rejecting talented comedians. Steve Carell, Robert Townsend, John Goodman and Donald Glover were all rejected by SNL. Jim Carrey was actually rejected twice. Ouch!
For all of these people, rejection and disappointment is a piece of their history. If you are a comic, a writer, a painter, or a business owner, disappointment will be a part of your story as well.
Why is Disappointment a Part of the Story?
Because it is. It must be. Even my own publishing journey contains disappointment.
A few years ago I received an offer for a publishing deal. I’d sent out a query letter to a publisher along with a sample chapter. A month later I received an email and a phone call. The email surprised me. When I later heard a voice on the phone telling me a company wanted to publish my novel. I was over the moon. The representative told me congratulations and spoke with me about their editing team, contracts I’d receive, and how long it would take before the book was published and distributed.
Then the rep asked me to promptly send in my check for $4000 along with my signed contract to get the ball rolling. I declined. The company continued to contact me regularly until it shut down due to bad business practices.
I was disappointed. But I didn’t allow the experience to determine my outcome. All artists are taught to have a thick skin when it comes to rejection. We aren’t often taught how to handle career circumstances that just didn’t work out. But they happen.
A Setback is a Setup for a Comeback
Yes, I borrowed that title from Dr. Willie Jolley. It is true by the way. However, it’s only true when you rebound from the setback with a mindset of determination. If Kevin Hart had allowed the SNL rejection to stop him, he wouldn’t be the highest paid comedian (and we might have been spared Ride Along 2). But, he also wouldn’t have been able to list the experience in his book as a part of his unique journey.
My experience with a predator publishing company helps me when I speak to aspiring novelists and non-fiction writers. Women have contacted me through social media to tell me about their upcoming book and new deal and the first thing I do is tell them to check the web about the companies business practices. In at least one case I know of, someone avoided writing a large check to a publisher.
Your experiences contain value. Disappointments matter, but they can never determine the future because you are writing your own story every single day. And unless you didn’t wake up this morning, your story is not over yet. Keep going. Work on your talent. Push forward. Let your setback launch you forward to your comeback.