Beginning to Start Over

I’ve moved!  I live in Astoria and help dog sit a fun, 8 month-old pug.  A pug I’ve already yelled at — in human language  — several times.  It’s driving me mad and I wish I could punch it in its minimally functional face, but sometimes it sleeps on my lap and that’s nice.  It’s one of the few relationships I haven’t left as soon as got frustrated with them!  Progress.

Since I’ve moved to NY, it feels like I’ve started over.  Comic friends with shows will recommend me to their bookers, and their bookers won’t return my emails.  Then again, I’m trying to contact more people about shows.  Like most comics, I hate the mundane and non-creative nature of asking for spots (because I’m a smarmy sprite who thinks he’s above it somehow), but you have to ask.  There’s too many capable comics, and sadly we’re not nearly as irreplaceable as our mother’s may have told us.  Open mics will help you with pieces of an act, but you need shows to put them together.  The adversity of NY is sort of a positive:  it forces you to grow up and adapt, or lay fetal in a pool of your own misery.

I’ve been in NY since Jan 1st, and in the past 23 days I’ve done 53 hours of improv classes, 3 musical jams,  6 regular jams, 31 open mics.  I’ve also gotten sick twice, and only worked 3 days, which may become problematic in the future.  But I figure if I can keep pounding out shows, remain a decent person, and gather the courage to be myself around the people I want the approval of (or maybe even become man enough to not need their approval!), I’ll end up just fine.

I came here hoping I could look cool and make friends with a bunch of funny people.  Well, the odd thing about trying to look cool or funny is that it never works.   That said, even though I’ve felt like a real dipshit at some mics, and have had a few vague breakdowns onstage…some people still like me!  Regardless of how terrible I think I’ve been.  Take that my inner 15 year-old girl who’s listening to Billy Talent III right now!

I’m enjoying improv more and more.  Particularly at the Magnet Theater.  I love the focus on comedic humanity.  Empathetic characters are my favorite.  I like being forced to rethink my assumptions about people, who they are, where they came from.  It’s much more interesting, to me, than the Neverending Story references I keep hearing (although those are fun!).  I would recommend improv to everyone.  It helps with…I feel like an unimaginative person to use the phrase “active listening,” but that’s what it is.  And whatever you do in life, the ability to understand what people are saying beyond their words is an important skill to develop.

The biggest thing I’ve taken from these awesome first 3 weeks:  comedy is difficult and takes a long time, and you might as well not take it that seriously.  Be professional and take care of the basics, but I have to keep reiterating to myself this is fun.  And when I remember that, it usually is.


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