Saturday Night Live & The Infinite Game
Jim Carrey, Stephen Colbert, and a host of other hilarious people tried out for Saturday Night Live and failed. Years ago, before YouTube and the Internet–before Comedy Central, HBO, and Netflix sought out funny content like hounds to foxes–SNL was the place to go in comedy. But knocking it out of the park for Lorne Michaels didn't mean winning; it only meant access to the fast track.
The failure of so many prominent comedians to make the SNL cast (people who might not have been as successful and funny if they had been accepted) reminded me that a career, especially for an artist (broadly defined), is an infinite game. Getting Job X or Account Y is not the end-all-be-all. Do something well and opportunities will arise. Fail at one and pursue others. Succeed at one and keep reinventing, growing, persevering–keep playing the game!
What would comedy be if Jim Carrey or Stephen Colbert had viewed comedy as a finite game in which the only way to win was to get on SNL?