We’ve all had those internships: coffee runs, sitting around and waiting for work, staring at the clock like there’s a picture of Ryan Gosling on it, but every so often an opportunity comes up where an internship is worth it.
When I was given the choice between the $600 a month fellowship or the unpaid internship doing PR for stand-up comedian Robin Cloud, I chose the unpaid internship (much to the dismay of my grandparents who keep telling me I am being taken advantage of). I don’t regret it even a little and neither would you.
I have always been interested in comedy. My celebrity crush was Jimmy Fallon, not Jesse McCartney. I went to one of the biggest party schools and I still rarely fell behind on “Saturday Night Live.” I have the upcoming schedules of three different comedy clubs in my top visited websites. While I have always wanted to work at a nonprofit, why wouldn’t I jump at this chance to try something new?
Robin Cloud isn’t just another run of the mill comedian; she’s got the stats to match her talent. She has been featured in GO magazine’s “Top 100 Women We Love,” Time Out New York’s “Quote of the Week”, and was a semi-finalist in NBC’s “Stand Up for Diversity Competition.” Her eight years hard at work in comedy have clearly paid off.
Now besides the things that everyone loves about a part-time internship; flexible hours, lower stress levels, business casual dress; I am also getting experiences I wouldn’t at any other job. I go to comedy clubs and call it research, I tweet, I listen to new material. The first thing I learned was just how hard working stand-up comedians are. If you think they are simply “funny for a living” you are sorely mistaken. Robin does stand-up, has two web series (Driving While Black and Benches), runs an advice column for dapperq.com, is a college speaker and by day is a successful real estate agent. She is one of the most hard-working people I know.
Now if internships are about learning, and I think they are, here is what I have learned: the best ways to reach out to campuses and comedy clubs for booking, the successful formatting of a motivational speech, the basics of the comedy industry, and how to get the most visibility for upcoming events in NYC. In the upcoming month Robin will be teaching a workshop on writing stand-up and I am extremely excited to add that to the list.
Paid jobs are wonderful, I won’t pretend they aren’t; but right now is the time where I should take the opportunities to do things I won’t get to do in the future. I am hoping in the next few months I get a full-time job, and when I get one I will be armed with all the knowledge this internship gave me.
Dream jobs unfortunately aren’t entry level – unless the talent agent for SNL is entry level in which case please see my LinkedIn page. I go to work each day excited to feel like a part of an industry that has been such a huge part of my life. I look forward to the new and exciting challenges I face. My internship is far from boring and even further from wasteful. To my grandparents who say I am being taken advantage of, I say that I am taking advantage. Robin has given me the chances to grow and learn each day and all I have to do is send a few emails. Thanks Robin!
Everything else aside, this is the view from my desk: