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Comedian Told to 'Embrace Bombing' to Get Better

The NPR radio show "This American Life" featured a story about a French comedian named Gad Elmaleh, probably the most famous stand-up comedian in France. He performs in huge arenas and gets mobbed everywhere by fans and paparazzi. But about a year ago, Gad embarked on a strange quest. He decided to try making it as a comic in America in English. This is an incredibly difficult and totally unnecessary thing for anybody to try to do. In France, everybody knows Gad Elmaleh. It was going great for him, but instead he gave all that up to start again at the bottom, doing small clubs and venues. He had to reinvent how he does his whole job. And he was struggling, and sometimes his acts completely bombed.

So a reporter turned to four famous American comedians and asked them to watch a video of a 15-minute set Gad did at the Comedy Cellar. They all agreed he's a pro, but that he has a long way to go to make it in America. Could he be a great comedian in America? Here's how the reporter summarized his findings about Gad's chances for success in America:

The comedians I talked to were adamant. For Gad to come up with the kind of material he's going to need to be great in America—the personal stuff, the stuff he really cares about—the only way to develop that is to do painful sets on stage where he tries out all kinds of stuff and lets himself bomb. In France, he doesn't do that. And Gad told me it goes against all his instincts—against 22 years of training—but he's going to have to override that instinct. He's going to have to embrace bombing, learn to fail at comedy at a whole new level, if he's going to succeed here. It's a concept that's totally foreign to him.

Possible Preaching Angles: The advice to "fail at a whole new level" and to "embrace bombing" could apply to so many important areas of the Christian life—service, mission, ministry, preaching, volunteering, the use of spiritual gifts, etc.

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