A lot of my friends in comedy do commercials to make ends meet. It’s not really my thing. I can’t get into it. I feel like I would be losing a part of what matters to me as a stand up if I were to do one. And that just goes for me. Not everyone feels the same, …obviously. Bill Hicks had that bit about marketing which is forever used as a point of reference for comics doing commercials. He said something to the effect that actors/entertainers who are struggling get a pass on doing them. But people who have already achieved a level of success, whatever that may be, do not. In his words, you do a commercial and “you are off of the artistic roll call forever”. I don’t necessarily agree with that. First off, I don’t consider most people in entertainment to be artist. As a matter of fact, they belong on commercials. They fit quite nicely on a conveyor belt hustling products. And then, there are some who wont do commercials,.. but they might as well. Integrity doesn’t equal talent, …you’re going to need the money. Go ahead,… push the hamburger. Maybe they will let you eat it afterwards, because lord knows know you’re hungry.
I personally don’t want to do a commercial because I would feel like a clown. hypocrisy is not the issue for me. No one, however sturdy in character, is spared that scarlet letter. We all fall short of an ideal. I just think commercials are an embarrassing medium. And no matter how funny you were when you booked the commercial, once you’re on it, now you don’t tell jokes, you are one! Now most of my friends do not seem to have a problem with it. Its money in the bank. And I can’t argue with that. But they do seem a little ridiculous talking about it. Dude I just booked a Weenierschnitzel gig! And immediately, other comics are jealous. Even me sometimes! It’s the money, not the credit. I guess its a difference of values. But they’re listening to this guys hot dog story and are actually envious. All of a sudden it’s this passive aggressive sowing circle of insecure comedians, who are bitter because only one of them gets to pimp a processed meat product. It’s kind of a humiliating scenario for those involved. Because it’s not like the person who landed the thing is humble. He thinks there is some competitive edge he’s gained by being chosen for the shit. Like looking good standing next to a weenier isn’t something you can learn, like you have to just be born with the sausage to face ratio IT factor!
And I know a lot of comics who do advertisements. And what I think of the whole situation aside, they are my friends. They can do what they want. It’s just not what I want to do. I may need money, I may consider going out to an audition, but that’s where it stops. I have given a lot of thought to it and It’s simply not for me. People are always like, “Mack you have a good look, All the Tattoos, you could book something”. I don’t want to do the whole tattoo minstrel show. I’m not going to be the type cast dirt bag boyfriend, hey I’m here for your daughter bro! Because that’s what I would be. And really, that’s not who I am. I think I would lose a lot of self-respect doing a commercial for anything I don’t feel passionate about. Or at least something I think would be funny. I would probably do a commercial for a defense contractor. A tattooed scumbag boyfriend moving cell phone plans is one thing. But a junkie tricking for mirved warheads is just pure entertainment! Sometimes when I’m doing all the obnoxious scummy things you assume I do because of how people who look like me are portrayed in our culture, I get a craving for modern colonialism! Thats why I use Lockheed and Martin daisy cutters! Get some!
All in all, I have given up the fight to either condemn or co-sign commercial acting in comedy. I don’t do it, you do, ok. Who cares? I am not trying to change society by refusing to partake in it. I am merely accepting what will work for me as a person.