Little Reid, Big City #12
By Reid Faylor
Reiders. Hello. You are important to me and I love you.
I love you.
Last Saturday I engaged in one of those seminal comedy experiences – a club audition. It was announced earlier in the week and spread at every mic by word of mouth that the New York Comedy Club would be holding an open audition at 2 o’clock on Saturday. Thus, myself and a gang of persons gathered at about 11:30 outside the doors to grab our spots in line. I had a great set at the audition, didn’t get passed but had quite an enjoyable time – the crowd of only comics was surprisingly really supportive and positive, and three of my close comedy friends got the cherished guest spots we were all auditioning for. Honestly though, waiting in line was probably the most fun. I was at full “Reid” – I was very comfortably myself, making up vaguely violent dances and changing the lyrics of “Like a Rolling Stone” so they were about putting an action figure into your bottom until it bleeds and you have to call a doctor. Essentially: I was being an idiot. But this is the way I act when I’m very comfortable; it’s how I acted in Cincinnati with the comedians there. It only just dawned on me that in the past couple months I have hit the level of comfort again.
It’s amazing what a supportive group of people can do to one’s comedy. There’s a group of about ten of us now that are all pretty close – we write together, hang out, give each other feedback and lines. I feel like I grew a lot when I came out here to nothing – my confidence was shattered and my comedy abilities felt abysmal; I had to build myself up again. But among this group of comics, I’m finding new growth now that I’m again in a place of comfort. I feel like I’ve been really hitting my stride lately, and I think it has a lot to do with my mindset for doing stand-up. With the knowledge that there’s a group of people I can trust to support and like me even if I’m shitty on stage, I’m writing and performing less to impress people, and more to have fun. The bits I’ve been writing aren’t about proving anything; they’re about being an idiot in the way I enjoy so thoroughly. I’m doing better at a lot of mics, even the ones with more negative atmospheres. I’m having fun again.
This scene can be very cliquey, hard to get into – it can be easy to feel like an outsider, mostly because there are some people who are happy to tell you that you don’t belong. Those comics stood out at first, seemed like the nature of the scene, but of course they stand out: the person you’re afraid to perform in front of is harder to miss than the person you’re comfortable with. With this group of comics I’m getting closer to, it’s good to see the alternative to that attitude. At a mic a few weeks back, my friend Greg Stone (a damn fine comedian/person) was the first to embody that alternative in my mind. A comic went on stage and immediately started ripping on the comedian before him. The comedian was clearly pretty new, and this wasn’t a friendly rib about her material, it was a clear attack on her ideas themselves. The mood immediately tightened, and Greg responded the way I feel a good comic should – he immediately yelled at the guy.
“Hey! That’s not cool!”
“What?” responded the comic on stage.
“Don’t make fun of other people’s jokes.”
It was so strange to hear someone actually standing up to another comic, trying to stop that negativity from ruining a show. Somehow, that moment put me immediately at ease. It was good to see that the comics who stood out at first, intimidating and hard to impress, were not necessarily the norm. It’s good to know people like Greg exist out here, people who actively support other comics and actually try to make comedy less miserable – after all, it doesn’t really need the help.
Andrew Short (had a birthday, this is his birthday present): “Reid, do you think this is a zit or a boil?”
Dean Masello (had a birthday, this is his birthday present): “The most difficult part of my day is resisting the urge to eat your peanut butter.”
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In response to Andrew: it later turned out to be a gummy bear. In response to Dean: we spent twenty minutes debating whether this was a good guest sentence. We settled on the fact that it was okay, because twenty minutes debating a guest sentence in some ways defeats the point of a guest sentence.