That out-of-sync first gig -- those early days doing "I'm so white/fat/ethnic" "jokes" to more coughs than laughs -- that stretch of time you smoked a lot and called yourself a poet: whatever line of the arts you're in, there are going to be some growing pains ("growing pains" being nice language for "You suck and nobody wants to see/hear/be in the room with anything that comes out of your brain right now, unless it's their job to take your fast food order").
AV Club (DOT com), purveyors of pop-culture knowledge and creators of the brilliant already-hit A.V. Undercover, have scored again with a new animated web series about COMEDIANS. Just launched last week, the first two targets -- Patton Oswalt and Maria Bamford (who the above title link will lead you towards) -- each discuss a rough early gig in hilarious detail.
Patton narrates the possibility of finding your own "magical black man" and Bamford nails the angst of visiting a morning radio show where the behind the scene isn't what you'd expect from the other side. Both are executed as brilliantly as you would expect from two of the best currently working comedians. As the AVClub usually knows what's up, I fully expect more interesting tales from excellent comics.
Common cliche says that it takes "10,000 hours" to get really good at something. That number seems too even for me, so I like to look at something Patton Oswalt himself said on the DVD from The Comedians of Comedy Tour: (to paraphrase) "If you want to get really good at something, take two years and just DO it. Just do THAT. All the time."
What all this should tell us is that we tend to respect the wrong angle of fame -- we shouldn't melt in the presence of celebrity just because they are famous -- we should respect the commitment and work it took to get there (except for you, Kardashians). Because wherever they're at, they weren't born that way (except for you, Michael Phelps... ya freak).
The tales of these tough starts should give us all a break. Keep working on it. You've got time.
It tends to start like baseball (expect mostly failure), moves on to jump-shots (50/50 at best) and, if you work hard and get lucky, ends in a nice long bike ride (don't stop pedaling!).
Nobody is born a professional.
Most artists are just born weird.
[ And if you'd like to see Oswalt absolutely brain-rape a heckler without the assclown even knowing it: here. ]