I met the late, ferociously talented Phil Hartman only once. I didn't say much to him, because there are some people who you just want to listen to.
I came across this letter recently on a fascinating site called Letters of Note. It's a hand-written note from Phil to a 19 year-old fan who had written to him for advice. The aspiring young comedian had enclosed some of his writing and an audiotape of his performances.
Astonishingly, Phil listened to the tape and wrote back. What he wrote was honest, decent, and wonderful advice. And of course it makes it all the more stinging that we don't have Phil around anymore:
Hi. Thanks for your letter. I listened to your tape, enough of it to hear that you have true natural talent. Your voice is pleasant to the ear. That, I think is your basic talent. Your humor is like a lot of comedy I hear today...angry, somewhat mean spirited, okay I guess if that's what makes your friends laugh. Sure. Go there. Maybe I'm old. I honestly recognize that a lot of humor (my humor, too) is hostile. But when it's too on the nail..."I can't stand Alannis, Nickelodeon, etc."...to me, it lacks craft and subtlety....
You need to develop craft. In school, in a radio gig, a theatre group, improv troupe, or standup showcase. Don't be discouraged. You have talent. Personally, I like your own voice more than your impressions and character work. Just work, wherever you can. You'll grow and refine and be great. Be patient. (I didn't start acting till I was 27). You've got a head start.
Develop your craft. Don't be discouraged. Work wherever you can. Be patient. Good advice for everyone, not just young comedians struggling to break in.