I’ve traveled a lot the last week. I finished up in Atlanta on May 25th, spent the 26th in Nashville, the 27th in different parts of Kentucky, the 28th-31st in Chicago, and I just got to Minneapolis an hour ago. I had been having car trouble of unknown origin, and was planning on coming back to the Northeast to get it checked by a friend. Then the battery died, forcing me to find out the problem was exclusively the battery. With the car clearly working, I made a last minute dash for Chicago, and I’m glad I did. Chicago’s great, and I want to spend a lot of time there. So why am I in Minneapolis?
Upon getting to Chicago, I asked for my Instacart account to be switched to there. It was, but not in time to pick up any shifts until this Sunday. Therefore I have a week where I can’t work…and I want to utilize it for fun! That’s how you know I overthink things, “No work…I should use these days for the utilitarian purpose of enjoyment!” ACME Comedy Club in Minneapolis has an well-recommended Monday open mic I thought would be perfect to check out. But also I thought, “It would be stupid to do drive a 900 mile round-trip for one open mic.” But then I noticed Shane Mauss, one of my favorite, not-well-enough known comedians, who I haven’t seen in years, was performing all week, and thought, “It’s a sign!” And by “sign” I mean “a 900-mile excuse!” Also, on Wednesday there’s supposedly some great open mic in Milwaukee I will check out on the return trip, and I might go to visit family the day after that. But then it will be working in Chicago until I feel like leaving, which could be mid-June, or it could be early September (probably mid-June).
“But Tom, how will you couch surf that long in one place?” I’ll get to that question next post! Either way, while emotionally it’s been up-and-down, I love living like this! I love that 5 days ago I was passed out at 5pm in my car in Kentucky because the Bourbon Trail was too generous! And today I’m in Minnesota! And Instacart has given me an Executive Membership to Whole Foods, so 25% of my diet is free samples (they have A LOT of free samples)! So as of right now, I’m very proud of what I’m doing, and enjoy doing it! I’ll probably bomb at this club and be sullen later! Yay!!!
(I won’t bomb (knock on wood!).)
I’m posting this because, firstly, Jenny Zigrino is very funny and this is one of the better first late night sets I’ve seen in a while. Secondly, Jenny was one of my most used performers back when I ran Grandma’s Basement, and she was going to be successful regardless, but I’ve been happy to watch her rise the past 6 years. Ladies and gentlemen, Jenny Zigrino on Conan:
Weirdly, couch surfing is more restful than living in NY, where there’s traffic, and hissing pipes, and clanking metal, gunshots, drunk kids yelling, drunk old dudes yelling, raccoons going through your trash, bottle-seeking old asian ladies going through your trash, people selling illegal fake purses outside your window, Constant construction…coma-inducing heat because its summer and you can’t afford AC, freezing temps because your landlord died in February and they left the least amount of heat on for you and the roommates who were left behind, dogs barking, cars backing into parked cars and then screeching away….trash being picked up every day, your roommate making food at 2 am right outside your door because you don’t have full-time access to the kitchen so there’s a microwave in the hallway…you get it.
If I’ve learned anything so far, its that I need to be around supportive people. Because I don’t really like my sets unless they’re one of the best I’ve done. I’m not happy with my stand up like 90% of the time. So while I learn perspective, I really need other people to be minimally supportive, or occasionally say they liked something I did. Otherwise I just sink into wondering if I’m funny or ever was. And logically, I’ve lived long enough to know I am funny, I’m just less good at crowd control, confidence, performance, you know, being a paid comedian. And I’ve told other comics I feel this way, and they’ve brought up times they remember me handling difficult heckler situations really well, or how things going wrong don’t seem effect me. I only remember how I feel inside, which is usually terrible. But again, I need those moments of support. Or just to talk to other comics about how great I am more often!!! Hah!?! Anyone!? Fine…
But overall things are going well. I’m gonna make it through all of Atlanta without sleeping in my car, so that’s great. It’s a really fun scene here, with a lot of open mics with audiences. If you were a big deal, you could probably jump around to a lot of these shows and get good decently fast. I still miss New York, but I feel like I’m getting my sense of fun and confidence back, which I felt I lost when I bought a car and just drove away.
Right now I’m trying to decide where to go next. I was initially thinking Chicago, but San Francisco is somewhere I time and high-paying app-based jobs. And I’m also thinking of a complicated New York-Boston-Philly-DC combination which excites me. I’ll figure it out soon, one way or another.
Hey Fanlaps! I’m still alive, just been spending too much time trying to figure things out. More updates tonight!
My initial plan was to help (mostly) pay for my couch surfing tour by driving for Uber, but I’ve found Instacart makes more sense. With Uber, you have to obtain in-state license, registration, and insurance, which is both costly and time-consuming if you’re changing cities constantly. Instacart requires nothing to be instate.
So far, it’s been a $10-13 dollar an hour job, which isn’t bad when you don’t live anywhere. Gas is a bit more of an issue here in Atlanta, because in Boston, I was probably driving 25-30 miles each 8 hour shift I worked for Instacart. Atlanta’s a more spread out city, so here it’s like 60-80 miles per 8 hours.
Right now, I’m actually on shift, it’s just my iPhone is nearly dead, and the fastest way to charge it at the moment is through my iPhone. The Instacart App eats power, even though my phone is charging in my car constantly.
I’d have to talk to the Instacart people, but I’m considering seeing if I could get several Instacart cities activated on my phone, and doing comedy in all most of those cities with New York as my hub. If I could go to other cities for just a week, work for Instacart, and return to NYC. That would be ideal. I’ve been planning on staying places for 3 weeks, because I felt like I could get a good lay of the land, but ultimately I’d like to live in NYC and just travel outside of it as much as possible.
Actually, I just realized I could totally work for Uber and Lyft in one city, Instacart in another, Postmates in another, [blank] in another, etc. Hmm…I may have just had a breakthrough! And my phone’s finally charged enough! Back to work!
Here’s me getting complimented by the host (Dave Thomas) after a set at the Shaskeen in Manchester, NH:
Last night around 8:30pm, I found out the Atlanta abode I was supposed to stay in was no longer available. I have a blanket and pillow in my car for such emergencies, but after a harrowing hour of texting, another comic offered me his futon. And even made some great chicken and margaritas for me! Not a bad deal.
Atlanta’s great so far. I did a fun set at The Laugh Skull Lounge, which is the most popular club in Atlanta, and then went to this cool open mic with a weird twist: you spun a wheel (like Wheel Of Fortune) and it chose whether you did a set, or had to sing karaoke. I was like, “Finally! Musical improv will carry over to my real world endeavors.” Lots of funny, nice comics here. They seem to like to hang out and like each other, are excited to perform, it’s 90 degrees and every dude has a beard. Comedy!
The drive down here was fun too. I cheered every time I entered a state I’d never visited before. I’m one of few people to shout, “Yes! I’m in West Virginia!”
Still ironing things out with Instacart/making money down here, and its going to be work to find more places to stay, but I’m gonna make time to catch up on some video stuff today.