Breaking into a Competitive Field: Why Tenacity Wins Out Over Nepotism and Talent

Margaret Cho: Wherever there is a lot of opportunity for money and fame, there are many, many, many people out there trying to do the same, and, for me, the competitiveness of the industry, combined with the fact that I am Asian-American where it is mostly white men in comedy who are performing, and I’m a woman, I’m queer… there are many aspects to my personality that don’t really fit within the idea of what we think of traditionally as a stand-up comic.  So I was fighting a lot of people’s expectations of what comedy was and who should be delivering the jokes also, fighting this notion of invisibility of Asian-Americans or for Asian-Americans in entertainment.
 
If you really want to do something, you should just go for it and never let go.  And I think that tenacity wins out over talent.  Tenacity will win out over any kind of education or any kind of nepotism or any kind… I mean, I think, tenacity, if you really stick with it… there’s a reason why you feel something.  There’s a reason to have a drive to do something.  And if you have a drive to do something, then you should do it.
 
A lot of people make the mistake of allowing their families to choose their path for them.  They allow other people to advise them into careers that they don’t want to be in.  When you can overcome what other people’s expectations of what your life should be, then you've really won. And I think that when you do what you really, really want - when you do what’s in your heart - then you really are bound to be successful.  And by successful, I mean the reward is doing what you love.

Directed / Produced by
Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd

"I was fighting a lot of people’s expectations of what comedy was and who should be delivering the jokes," says Margaret Cho. But if you really want to do something, you should just go for it and never let go.

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