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You will never be able to identify the moments while you experience them that will shape your career’s success. Just be glad that you are one of the lucky ones who can have moments in stand up comedy’s history as one of its participants. Years later you will look back and smile and just know that all the driving, all the writing, and all the hanging out paid off in way you cannot properly verbalize. We all chose to be these people chasing these crazy laughs and no one of us is better than another. The moment you think you are somehow incredibly important or supremely cool, that is the moment you forgot that we are all luxuries and totally unnecessary. Don’t forget that the only reason you’re able to even consider this life is because you were lucky enough to birthed into a part of the world where it even exists. Get some perspective before you big time somebody because you think your shit don’t stink as a stand up comedian and think you can treat people like shit or make crazy demands like any of this shit really matters.
Upon my five year anniversary from graduating college, I can report with confidence this is 100% accurate.
3 years ago today
I performed standup for the first time. It was not an open mic. I don’t like to admit it, as it’s usually frowned upon in the community, but it was a stand-up comedy class. I had already enrolled in grad school for the fall, and with a few months left in New York before leaving for Bloomington Indiana, after a lifetime of comedy nerdery (and more recently concentrated into obsessive Marc Maron, Maria Bamford, and John Mulaney fandoms), I decided to give it a shot, bargaining that I had nothing to lose.
My first performance, after writing 5 minutes of precisely worded, meticulously crafted and in hindsight, painfully unfunny ”jokes,” I received absolutely zero laughs, a few confused stares, and, apparently my body shaking profusely. This is the kind of thing that should send sane people running for the hills, but it only made me want to do better. Next week, I got my first laughs, and I knew I’d found something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Within a year I had dropped out of grad school, returned to New York to pursue comedy full time, and never looked back.
It’s been a chaotic road, full of more ups and downs than I can even begin to recall, offstage drama, new friends and personality clashes, a borderline problem with alcohol, terrible jobs, broken relationships with women and old friends, and more crying than most straight 26 year old males would care to admit. But it’s been the best decision I’ve ever made, and every time I try to imagine something else I could do with my life, I am completely bereft of ideas.
Wait, you’re telling me Seth Macfarlane made jokes that were offensive to women?