I watched a TV documentary recently about a famous British comedian, and there were some great goal achievement tips that screamed at me from the screen. In this post I want to cover some of them, but I promise not to scream…
Half of the double act Morecambe and Wise, who I didn’t know until now were quite successful on US TV, so my American friends can relate. As it happens, the goal achievement tips work even if you’ve never heard of Ernie Wise, so let’s get stuck in…
Born Ernest Wiseman, Ernie was onstage from a very early age, learning the tricks of the trade as he performed at weekends with his father. After a successful audition, he moved to London on his own to work for a big agent, and became a big success at the age of 13.
It was there that he met Eric, and they formed a double act. They worked their way up the bill, on to radio, and then getting a big break with a series on the BBC. The show bombed though, and they vowed never to do TV again.
They went back to the stage, and worked higher and higher up the bill, until they were persuaded to try TV again. After a few slots on other shows, they got their own show on the UK’s independent channel, ITV.
Hopefully you can see the lessons I write about over and over already – hard work, overcoming adversity, more hard work, learning the skills required, full on dedication.
Luck, or chance, is often part of the equation, and it’s no different in Ernie’s tale…
When there was an actors’ strike, the duo had to move away from sketches using actors, and revert to a fake stage frontage, falling back more on the stage chemistry between them, that came naturally to them after years on the boards. The strike was something they were not able to control, but used it to their advantage. It worked a treat, and cemented their TV presence.
Ernie had also learnt the ‘biz’ side of ‘showbiz’ as he had gone along, and knew what the act was worth, another key point. When the ITV channel refused to pay what he asked, the BBC agreed to pay it, so they switched.
At the same time, they parted ways with their scriptwriters. Another writer, Eddie Braben, was free after he had fallen out with another comedian, Ken Dodd.
This new partnership, forged by chance (there‘s that word again!), clicked right away and Morecambe and Wise developed into the biggest double act Britain had produced. So, chance had come into the equation, as had the willingness to stand firm for what you believed in, and take risks.
I’ve mentioned outside influence many times before, in fact I’ve already talked about it in this article, but there was one more example which is worth sneaking in.
When they were in the US, they got a slot on the Ed Sullivan Show. Sullivan was all powerful then, and he would watch rehearsals without interacting with the acts, and then make decisions about cutting them or not.
So, your big break could be taken away from you with the click of the finger. As it happened, Sullivan loved Morecambe and Wise, but there had always been the potential of him simply saying ‘no’.
I grew up watching them on TV, but I was thrilled to find some new goal achievement nuggets in his story, and I hope you too appreciate the earnest wise man tips from Ernie Wise!