Sunday I performed three times, Monday two times, Tuesday three. It’s incredibly easy to get up 20 times a week here, and by “easy” I mean “killing yourself.” With a tv credit, extra cash, and little time commitment to a job, you could get up 30+ times a week. These spots typically range from 2 minutes to 8 – 10 for shows.
In my first week here, I performed 13 times. And that’s really in 6 days, because I took it “easy” today since I’m getting sick. And I still almost performed (went to the show but it got canceled) and watched a show at Stand Up New York. But the point is, I probably averaged about 4 or 5 minutes per spot, which means at most, I was onstage 65 minutes this week. In Boston, I average 7 minutes per set with the extra time I take at my own club, so I only need to get up 9 times for the same effect. And in Boston I have waaaaaaaay more time to write and everything’s cheaper.
All that said, the vast majority of these comics are getting up 15-20+ times. And the real hustlers are doing several 8-10 minute shows a week. So at some point there’s more stage time in New York if you’re willing to throw away most everything else for it.
There’s an 11pm show at the People’s Improv Theatre, where everyone gets two minutes. There is a whole theatre of 60 comics, each waiting their turn to go on. Several of them have TV credits. Nearly all of them seem to feel worse about themselves after seemingly doing well. It’s quite pronounced, the change from “Thank you!” to the bitter scowl. I don’t know if it’s any different from Boston, or anywhere else after the initial “honeymoon” period of comedy is over — when you stop bragging to everyone that you’re a comedian, because you realize you don’t want them to know for a while.
It’s all been interesting to take in. There’s a lot of decent-looking, in-shape dude comics here. I actually heard a guy tonight, say, “I want to start an open mic around here, so I can get some Midtown vagina!” And he was being even less ironic than his faux hawk. There’s a lot of attractive female comics, too. And most of both genders can tell a joke. I’m not saying it’s an interesting joke. It’s probably about shoes or putting stuff in a butt or something, but it’s eye-opening to see. There’s a lot of guys that look like me trying to do stand up. I’m gonna have to figure out how to separate myself.