Legal Blogging Inspiration from Dana Carvey

This past month I had a chance to spend some time with my good friend Adrian Lursen from JD Supra and he shared with me something that I absolutely loved. At a small comedy club near his offices, Dana Carvey often shows up with a stack of new jokes to share with the audience. Some of the jokes are duds, some of them completely bomb, but once in while, every now and again he hits on something that just works. And the crowd goes wild. He may go through an entire stack of jokes before he finds something great. It sounds humiliating, doesn’t it? But Dana Carvey (one of my favorite comedians as a child) can handle the rejection because he knows it is far better to get rejected with the small audience than to take jokes on a national tour that aren’t that funny.

Blogging is just like Carvey at the small comedy club. Blogging provides you a test market for your content. More about that in a minute.

Dana Carvey has an attitude towards joke creation that can best be described as entrepreneurial. He is willing to lose a lot in order to win big. It seems crazy, I mean a professional comedian with decades of experience should know what is funny and what isn’t, but even the very best and most talented sometimes miss the mark. Just look at the final season of Arrested Development. I LOVE that show, but the final season just wasn’t that funny.

It reminds me of when Conan Obrien spoke to the students from the University at Buffalo while I was in Law School. There was a Q&A section where Conan was asked, “now that you are taking over the Tonight Show, will you stop the skits with the (Omitted) Bear in your show?” (Note: at the time we had no way of knowing the Tonight Show with Obrien would only last a few weeks) He responded with something like:

“Being funny is really hard. It doesn’t work if you put too many limitations on it. Look at NBC, they have unlimited money to make a funny show, but they haven’t come up with anything really funny since Friends went off the air.”

Legal Blogging is hard and those that are really successful are willing to put themselves out there. They need to have a certain tolerance for rejection.

“I’ve written two blog posts, why isn’t anybody reading them?” I’ve heard many lawyers complain.

“Because they are boring and uninteresting,” I want to say.

I don’t say that though, what I say is that it takes time to build an audience. It takes times for people to identify you as someone they can trust for quality content. But more than any of those things, it takes many “failed” attempts for your first blog post to go viral. Keep at it, and remember just because your last blog post did about as well as Dana Carvey’s little-remembered movie “The Master of Disguise” your next post may be your “Wayne’s World.” Keep Writing.

Adrian Dayton is a daily blogger at and a weekly columnist for The National Law Journal. He is the author of two books, Social Media for Lawyers: Twitter Edition (ARK 2ed. 2012) and LinkedIn and Blogs for Lawyers: Building High-Value Relationships in a Digital Age (West 2012, co-authored by Amy Knapp)    Grab a free chapter of either book at

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