Persist or desist? Let’s ask the half-assed Czechoslovakian goalkeeper

I’d love to tell you that my first time was an absolute embarrassment – that I was a flop – but I’d be lying.

I did OK.

I hopped on, lasted about 10 minutes, then got off.

She seemed happy.

“Help yourself to some casserole on your way out”.

Yep. Very happy.

===

How do you know whether you should persist or whether you should stop and give up?

When should you plough on because you never know if you’re “three feet from gold”…

… and when should stop and know when to “cut your losses”?

There are plenty of cliches and axioms for both, so they’re no help.

Here’s something that might be though…

On my first ever stand up gig, there was another comedian.

(They rarely give solo arena tour dates to brand new comics)

I forget his name, but let’s call him Cholmondley, just to make things easier.

Cholmondley was also doing a ten-minute spot.

Now, normally what happens at a comedy gig is that the acts sit at the back of the room, the MC announces them and the act makes their way to the stage to thunderous applause.

This night was no different.

(apart from the “thunderous” part. If you could replace that with “a smattering of” that would paint a far more accurate picture)

Rather than come to the stage from the back of the room, Cholmondley came from the toilets.

(Memo – contact SyFy with movie idea – “It came from the toilets!!!”)

When he emerged, he was wearing a costume – half goalkeeping kit and half business suit.

Not in a “top/bottom half” way…

… no, Cholmondley had gone for a left/right combo.

It’s probably best if I try and mock it up in Canva to show you.

(Brace yourself)

That.

Turns out that he’d thought of a gag about a comical situation that could arise if the then Chelsea goalkeeper, Petr Cech (pronounced “Check”)

… whose surname also resembles his Nationality, Czech (also pronounced “Check”)

… had to have a conversation with the Passport Office.

When he was pretending to be Petr, he would turn to the left, when being the passport control, he’d turn to the right.

“Oh, that’s interesting…”, I probably didn’t think. 

“I wonder what he’s going to wear for the rest of the act when he’s done with this quick pun?”

Turns out that wasn’t a problem.

The Cech/Czech pun WAS the act.

The whole ten minutes!

Now, far be it from me to criticise anyone’s comedy, but…

… I couldn’t quite get my head around how someone could put so much thought into this… ruining two perfectly good pieces of clothing (he stitched them together himself – the needlework was amazing!).

How someone could go through all that and NOT realise that this was a quick sketch at best.

In the spirit of honesty, I’m guilty of this myself. I milk things for all their worth and take things too far.

I know this because the woman I go halves with on the council tax with tells me, so I’m just as bad. 

I need to know when to quit.

One of the problems is that there are so many metrics to look at:

Views, likes, shares, reposts, comments, saves…

Should I change this FB ad? Shares are down but comments are up.

“What does that mean?”

In the world of comedy, only one thing matters:

Is the audience laughing?

Are the people who’ve paid good money, and organised babysitters, to be here laughing or not?

That’s the key to knowing when to quit – find the most important metric – the one that counts above everything else – and look at that.

If you could only look at one metric for this, what would it be?

For FB ads, it might be the conversion rate… or click-throughs.

For your sales page, it’s probably how much money it makes.

So, if you’re unsure about something…

… and you’re wondering whether to quit or change it…

Don’t do anything before you decide what the most important indicator of success is and look at that.

Because there is one thing that matters more than anything else and, once you find it, you’ll know what you need to do.

See you Thursday?

John