When I first started doing comedy, I saw Colin Quinn perform at Caroline's in NYC. After the show, I went up to him and said I was a brand new comic, and he kindly told his agent and friends to wait for him upstairs while he chatted with me for a bit. They were annoyed but he didn't care. I couldn't believe it.
He then sat me down in a booth and talked comedy with me for 20 minutes. He told me there are 3 T's to comedy: Talent, Timing, and Tenacity. He said the first anyone can fake. The second can be taught. The third, you either have it or you don't. And the ones who make it in this business have it, because that's the one you need the most when you're getting rejected over and over and over again.
I remembered that advice and, for the next few years, hit the stages at the open mics, clubs, bars, coffee shops, restaurants, colleges, bowling alleys, elk's lodges, moose lodges, any other kind of animal lodges, etc. as hard as I could, getting rejected over and over and over again in between.
A few years later, he came through Kansas City and I was booked to open for him. I was really excited to talk to him again and show him how I've stuck with it. I didn't get a chance to see him before the show because he got there late, a little drunk. But after the show, I went back to the green room and said to him that I took his advice from years ago, and now, I'm definitely faking the Talent, I'm working on the Timing, but I think I have the Tenacity.
He looked up at me and said, "Who the fuck are you?", then took a swig from a bottle of Jameson.