We had the good fortune of connecting with Jason Hedden and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jason, how do you think about risk?
Some people would consider a career in the arts riskier than a career in other fields. I don’t agree. I find it far riskier to dedicate your life and work to something that is “safer” but for which you have no passion. I know many people who have “good” jobs, but are miserable. However, I do believe there are practical considerations when it comes to earning a living that often come down to simple math. It costs money to live. I came to standup comedy in my early forties after years working as a college theatre professor and actor. As the sole income earner in my family, I am not in a position to approach my comedy career the same way some of my friends in their twenties do. I have a family to support, so the comedy comes second in terms of priority, however, I find the main job and the side hustle complement each other well. For example, I don’t worry about not having gas money to get to an out of town gig and my day job provides me leave and vacation time that allows me to accept gigs that require travel. Like in all things, achieving a healthy balance is key and that is often easier said than done.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am an actor, director, teacher, comedian and writer. It’s taken me some time to accept the title of comedian and writer even though I have been doing those activities for a few years now. For a while those seemed like titles that belonged to someone else. We tend to limit ourselves sometimes by putting ourselves in a box.
I have gotten to where I am by following my passions and staying open to learning new things. I also try and surround myself with people that are better than me. If you are a runner and want to get faster, you have to run with people that are faster than you. I have also been fortunate to have a supportive family and amazing teachers and mentors.
From my earliest days in the arts, people always asked me if I wanted to be an actor or a teacher, as if the two were mutually exclusive. The performing makes me a better teacher and the teaching makes me a better actor. My experience in the theatre has helped me in comedy.
Confidence comes from experience and experience comes from doing the work as well as creating your own opportunities. Don’t wait for someone to give you permission to practice your art.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My wife and son have been extremely supportive of my comedy. I have also had more experienced comics give me opportunities and mentor me in the business side of things. Henry Cho has gone above in beyond in this area as a role model and mentor. www.henrychocomedy.com
Lou Columbus Kayla May Rhonda Schaefer David Reiling