I'm sure all of you have been wondering where I've been. My posts went from being infrequent to non-existent, and you've been sitting on the edge of your seats waiting for a new post. Well, I have been busy over the last few months planning and executing my move to New York.
Yes, you read that right. I moved to the BIG APPLE. You might be wondering why I left Chicago when I was so popular, hot, and successful there.
I had lived in Chicago since I was 6 years old. I like to tell people that I knew I wanted to pursue stand-up at that age and forced my parents to move us to Chicago. But in reality, my dad just got a new job. But if it weren't for that move, I'm not sure I ever would have found comedy.
I love Chicago. It's urban enough to be close to everything, but it also has its quiet pockets. And let me tell you, it's a lot cleaner and better smelling than New York. So why did I move to a smellier, louder, rat-infested city?
I felt like my comedy career was at a stand-still. That's not to say I was at the top in Chicago comedy whatsoever. I was very middle of the hierarchy, if the hierarchy is even a real thing. There were still several shows that wouldn't book me, people who didn't like me, and I wasn't a headliner. But I didn't see that ever changing.
I had done well in front of plenty of people I had deemed "important". And they still weren't booking me on their shows. And I'm not here to be bitter. I totally respect their decision. There's a lot more that goes into booking a line-up other than who's "funny" and who's "not funny". Also, I'm not for everyone. You're completely allowed to hate my comedy. That's the beauty of the arts.
I often found myself getting bitter about being rejected from shows, but looking back, that's kind of ridiculous. No one has any obligation to book anyone, and I'm no different (except I'm also diabetic. That makes me kind of unique, right? But not in a bookable way.)
But I decided to leave because I felt like people who had decided they didn't want to book me weren't going to change their minds in the next year or two. And I felt confident in my skill-level, which says a lot because I hated myself for most of my life. Obviously I have so much further to grow, but I can do that in New York.
While living in Chicago, I visited New York a few times. And I loved it. Well, I loved the comedy. The city itself was stressful and dirty. Especially since I was couch-surfing and had to carry around all of my belongings on crowded streets and subways. I was not New York's favorite visitor. But the shows I did were amazing. I loved meeting new people, seeing different types of humor, and getting to perform alongside my comedic idols.
Too many people stay in Chicago until they are at the top, as if you can only move to New York when you're the best you're going to be. People seem to forget that New York is also a place to grow. It's not just a destination. That being said, Chicago made me 10x the comedian I was when I started, and I'm forever grateful for that.
I was at a point in my comedy career where I was comfortable starting over in a new city. I'm okay with the fact that not many people know who I am yet. It's actually really fun to tell your jokes to people who have never heard of you.
About two and a half weeks ago I made the move. At 3:30 am on January 2nd, I ubered to Midway Airport. I also got on a plane...it would be weird if my big move was just to Midway.
The past few weeks have been stressful. New roommates, apartment hunting, job searching etc. But I've found solace in the comedy scene. I was shocked at how welcoming, supportive, and friendly the comedians are. I had always imaged New York comedians as these cut-throat, competitive assholes. So far, I have been pleasantly surprised. People have introduced themselves to me, invited me along to go to open mics and shows, and I even got to do an awesome podcast with the amazing Andrea Allan and Emily Lubin (check it out here).
I have really been putting myself out there; saying yes to everything (that I'm comfortable doing). That has meant going to the movies with people I hardly know, going to parties where I know 3 people, and even exchanging phone numbers with other comics--I know, quite the feat.
Of course I miss my friends in Chicago, but technology is amazing. Did you know you can still talk to your friends and enemies even if they live in a different state? Try it sometime! I recommend these new devices called "cellular phones".
If you're thinking of moving to New York for stand-up comedy, or if you're just debating changing careers, I say go with your gut. My gut told me to move, and even though I probably have IBS, my gut hasn't betrayed me yet. Don't worry, I'm sure I'll be bitter in six months when people know who I am and I'm still not getting booked. But in the meantime, I'm gonna enjoy it!
A New New York Comedian
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