>Michael Jackson was surrounded by “Yes Men”. So was Elvis. In fact, find a mega-superstar, and he was likely surrounded by “Yes People”. These are people who constantly tell the celebrity that he’s always right, and constantly say “Yes” to anything he suggests or attempts. It’s because of “Yes Men” that so many entertainers are huge narcisists and have a problem believing they could ever come up with a bad idea.
Anyone in show business knows that the worst thing to be surrounded by are Yes Men. In fact, most comedians I know go out of their way to find people who won’t constantly tell them how right they are. It’s Yes Men who told Michael Jackson that The Neverland Ranch wasn’t creepy, and Yes Men who told Elvis that “The Jungle Room” looked good. Yes Men created “Battlefield Earth”, just so you’d know.
I’ve been lucky over the past few years to have my career starting to kick in a little bit and for my star to shine a teensy bit brighter. Think that, along the way, I’ve accumulated a few Yes Men of my own?
Nope. Not at all. Whew.
As nice as it is to not have myself surrounded by people willing to lie to me in the face of my own bad judgement, I have to admit I’ve been craving a little bit of happy, blind faith lately.
Despite what many of my agents would have me believe, I know that–deep down–I’m not an asshole. For that reason, I’m lucky enough to have many friends, family members, and genuine fans around to support me and all of my endeavors in this ridiculous business we call “Show”. Everyone is honest and sincere, and that’s great.
And that often sucks.
Because I accept (and expect) honesty from everyone I know, I get brutal freaking honesty from everyone I know. This means that every person I know freely shares with me his opinion about every last project in which I’m involved. The only part that sucks is that these opinions are rarely the same.
The last TV interview I did, I was told by one friend that I was extremely arrogant. Another friend told me I came off as insecure (?). My girlfriend’s father told me I wasn’t funny. A friend in Ohio told me I was hilarious. Several people said I needed a tan. A few people told me I should dress differently. Others told me I dressed better than in other interviews.
The crititques come full force, and they are rarely the same. It gets to the point where I have no idea to whom I should be listening. Do I take the advice of the person who tells me that I should be less arrogant…? Or the person who tells me to bleach my hair? Should I try to be less funny? Should I crack more jokes? Every person that tells me I’m hilarious is followed by someone who tells me I’m boring.
I cannot imagine being famous. Is it all of this times a thousand? Would I be surrounded by people constantly telling me how I do nothing wrong…or surrounded by people telling me everything I do wrong, like I am now, with me baffled at how each person has something different to say than the last one did? And I’m nobody. Nothing. Not famous. If dozens of people breathing down my neck gives me a headache, what will thousands feel like?
They say that everyone’s a crtic. They aren’t kidding.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy to have so many supportive people in my life that everyone wants to see me succeed. After all, that’s the only reason people offer criticism in the first place. No one wants to see me fail, and for that I’m extremely grateful.
But a few “Yes Men” would be great right about now.
See, I’m never trying to fail. Whenever I do a joke, or write an article, or do a TV interview, or appear on the radio…I’m always looking to succeed. I want to have the best show, the best article, the best interview. I don’t go into anything thinking “Here’s my chance to be mediocre…hope everyone is apathetic to it”. I want it to be a smash, every time. But, if something goes wrong, or simply is delievered in a way I didn’t intend, there’s always a million reasons for it, and they’re not always in my control. Trust me, I’m doing my best.
I don’t know if my feelings in this matter really make any sense. My father was an aeronautical engineer. He worked with brilliant minds and can still do Calculus in his head. I often wonder if he had forty different mathematicians around him giving him forty different opinions on how he designed the left wing on a jet plane. If so, I can finally say that–other than a love for George Carlin–we have finally found that one thing we have in common.
Of course, if he took the wrong opinion, an engine on a plane might fall off. If I take the wrong opinion, I wind up with bad hair on “Good Morning America”.