Little Reid Big City #20
Hello again, Reiders.
I did it! I have now lived in New York City for a year. I am a pleased young man (with myself!). Instead of doing the traditional blog post, to commemorate the occasion I thought I would do something a little different. When I first moved out here, I asked a lot of people for advice, but seeing as I didn’t really know a lot of comedians in New York, most of that advice was terrible. I didn’t know what to expect, where to start, or how to really get involved, so I decided once I did get some kind of grasp on such things, I would try to share it. What follows is some advice for the comedian moving to New York. To make it a little more comprehensive, I’ve turned to other friends who made the move in the last year to get their side of things. Of course there are different ways to approach the move, ways to make it in the scene and entirely other scenes to get involved in here, but I think this can provide good reference for a recent transplant. Hooray!
1. Hang out. Stick around after your set, after the mic/show, and get to know everyone, even if they’re not the best comic. Having friends makes all of this easier, and becoming a part of the scene is almost as important as crafting a new joke. –Me!
2. You HAVE to get a job when you move here. It doesn’t matter how much money you’ve saved. It’s better to have a job you hate to pay bills and do mics than run out of money and be miserable. You will lose your mind. There is no way around this. –Andrew Short
3. If you have a car, keep it. Once you get in at clubs or whatever and meet people, if you have a car they might use you for work! It’s crazy but undoubtedly true. That being said, try to make sure you’ve got the chops if you’re invited to do a gig. –Robbie Collier
COUNTER POINT: I got rid of my car after being here a while, never used it, and it is very expensive. You don’t need it for the city, but he is right you can get taken places if you do have it. Weigh the cost versus the opportunities, or maybe keep it somewhere else until you need it.
4. Take advantage of the city. It’s usually better to get up than to watch a show but NY is the best city in the country for comedy and there are a ton of great shows you can see for free, so go out once in awhile. I will never regret skipping a mic at the Creek to watch John Mulaney tape his special. I will also never regret skipping a Saturday mic to go to the beach. –Mark Chalifoux
5. Find a mic you like, and keep showing up. The best way to integrate yourself is to become a fixture -make it easier for people to recognize you. They won’t trust you on stage at first, so earn it. –Me!
COUNTERPOINT: Mix up the mics you do. Don’t get too comfortable in front of one crowd. There are music open mics, club open mics (avoid the ones where you pay an individual, stick to the ones where you buy a drink or pay the room), alt rooms, black rooms, yadda yadda. Do them all and mix up which ones you do. Take out the friendly factor. –Robbie Collier
6. Everyone thinks you need thick skin to be a comic in New York. Not true. You can have thin skin as long as you also have the knack for living with constant feelings of inadequacy, fear, and vague, undirected anger. –Brendan Eyre
7. Learn where all the cheap eats are: dollar pizza, falafel, Vanessa’s Dumplings, etc. It’ll save your ass and your wallet for mic money. –Robbie Collier
8. You have to start your own show. –Andrew Short
COUNTERPOINT: No really, you have to. Wait until you’re integrated a little maybe, but it really helps with everything.
9. Bringer shows are almost always a scam and don’t bark to earn stage time. Your soul will get crushed in plenty of different ways, you don’t need to accelerate that process. –Mark Chalifoux
10. No one pays attention to you unless you’re good. Had a bad set? No one cares. You didn’t lose any opportunities, no one will remember. Be comfortable and get better -that’s when people will remember you. –Me!
11. Every time anything happens to anyone, roll your eyes and say “only in New York.” –Brendan Eyre
12. Get up as often as you can every night. No exceptions. New York truly is the Harvard Law of Comedy. The best of the best are here and every day you take off there are 200 other people getting better. –Robbie Collier
COUNTERPOINT: You need to have a life outside of comedy. –Andrew Short
13. Talk to people. Feels like no one likes you and is ignoring you in the scene? That’s because comics are all awkward, uncomfortable people. Take the first step, say hello, compliment a joke -you’d be surprised how few people are actually assholes. –Me!
14. Become friends with people that are funnier than you are. They will continue to come up with incredible jokes that impress you and will force you to keep pushing yourself as hard as you can to keep pace. Also, you just need people to sign you up for mics. –Mark Chalifoux
15. This one is important: Don’t come here. I’m serious. Stay the fuck home, you cocksucker. –Brendan Eyre