The maternity nurse's aid held me in front of my mom in the hospital bed. I'd just entered this world not more than a few hours earlier. It was 1954. "Congratulations, Ms.
London," I used to joke that the OB/GYN told my mom, "It's a Realtor". My parents owned a very old real estate stable family real estate company and were from a generation where, if and when an offspring arrived, especially a male, they were born to be bred.that is, bred into the family business, or made to be the prodigal son who as wrong even when he was right.
Until this day, at age 53, I still get the feeling I do nothing right. And I may be right. Of course at birth, I was not aware of these southern traditional family values, and, as I became more aware of my environment around me, I was certain I wanted to have something to do with humor as I grew older.
How did I know this? The answer was quite simple. I was always in trouble in my youth, about to get in trouble, or locked in my room with no going out with friends for some wrong-doing (never violent or terrible); basically your garden-variety practical joker. Only a few times were my parents seemed joyful and smiling and not "on my case" and that is when they had weekend parties and were playing record albums by such comedy greats as Don Rickles, Tom Lehrer, Jack Benny, and the like. I introduced them to The Smothers Brothers as a teen, thinking I would earn brownie points but again given the pink slip for "leaning too far left".whatever that meant. I first tried standup at the (now defunct) Miami Playboy Club before moving to New York where I emceed at a small club in Manhattan called "Good Times".
Times were not so good (for me) there. Keep in mind this was farm-raised in rural Mississippi and this was my first sight of the "bright lights and big city". I thought I was loaded with talent. If only others had thought the same. I won't "even go there" as to how awful I was. It was sort of like Dan Quayle in his memorable v.
p. debate, but more like me debating, say, Steve Martin and my comparing myself to Lenny Bruce. Steve to me: "Mr.
London, Lenny Bruce was a friend of mine, and you, sir, are no Lenny Bruce." I think you get the picture. Not too much time passed before I got into humor writing, and was planning a book but decided on forming a group of artists and creating a cartoon instead. All of us were surprised when Londons Times Cartoons shot to the top of the Internet rating By the time I reached 50, after a lengthy illness, I decided to start opening stores, selling products with my cartoon images which now amount to over 8500 in number and our counter shows over 8 million visitors since 2005 (though we started in 1997). And to imagine a manufacturer is producing 85,000 of our licensed gifts and collectibles and selling them everywhere from our main superstore site to Ebay to Shop.com.
It's all like a dream. If it can happen to this would-be Realtor, it can happen to any misfit. Launching a comic strip is not an easy task, but an interesting and educational one. No matter what branch of humor in which one may find their niche, it is a growth experience and a process that can take months or years and even then is simply a crap-shoot. If it is in your blood, you will know it, and no matter what you were "born to be", will not matter. It will have to come out in some way, shape, or form.
Educate yourself, hang out with others who have blazed the trail, educate yourself and be persistence. Obstacles will show up, believe me. Learn to like obstacles as it is getting past those obstacles that make us creative and successful.
Cartoonist/entpreneur Rick London has created the largest independent offbeat cartoon site and comic gift & collectible site on the Internet. Over 85,000 Funny Gifts & Collectibles at LTSuperstore. Click here.