Pete Holmes gave me great advice a year ago. He said “New York will make you better by beating the shit out of you, and that you need places to go to remind yourself that your funny.” That used to be Grandma’s Basement for me, but recently the audiences have been so full of returning people (which is great!), it’s not fun to work on the jokes I would like to over and over again.
Basically, I’ve quit the Hojo’s. Not yet, but as of January 1st, I’m done, and I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing. I may just live in New York and spend much more time than I would like to contacting bookers to get more shows. I may move to Washington, DC, where I could accrue some feature work before returning to New York, so I’d have other places to go to feel funny. I may move to San Francisco, where I have a ton of college friends and believe I would have the most opportunity to perform, or maybe Chicago where I could try to do more clubs and improv. The most fun sound like SF and Chicago, and I’m not moving to Chicago in January, so there’s a good chance it’ll be SF. At this point I’d move to rural Mississippi if I knew I could perform a bunch and make a living, but I think my supporting myself through art stage is still years away.
I’m probably over-thinking everything, but I’d rather work food service and do several shows in front of audience members per week, than try to hustle my way through the bottom of New York. It doesn’t seem necessary. Plenty of people move in and get on better shows immediately. Don’t get me wrong, if you want to pay me to do anything to stay here, I will do it. But I’d rather travel and develop in different cities, exposing myself to different ideas, than perform in front of the same people constantly. I never envisioned my act to be a series of one liners. I always imagined I’d have an interweaving, borderline one-man show, with some real emotion as well as comedy, and I don’t think I’m going to be able to develop that in New York. I think New York will be my ultimate destination now that I have an idea of what level of comedy I should be at to live here, but I’d rather do a several of feature-length spots in another city, than infinite open mic spots in New York. I’ve seen the people who rise quickly in this city, and they’re typically either attractive young black dudes, or sad young white men (there are plenty of exceptions, but that’s how it feels). And I say this not meaning to take anything away from those people. Everyone who rises quickly here is working harder than everyone, and is FUNNY. But they’re also getting stage time in front of audiences that don’t necessary like them immediately, but there’s an affinity for them. In the same vane, I think whatever my character represents would work well in San Francisco. That might just be an excuse for my ego’s sake, but that’s what I’m going with for now. Decisions soon!