It’s me, Josh! I’m in New York City, where, ostensibly, I live now. It’s been a lot of fun so far. In the daytime I’ve been writing and exploring and eating hot dogs and doing errands for Gaby so she doesn’t get sick of me living at her house and looking for my own house. At night I’ve been going to shows.
“What’s great about this city,” my friend Mike told me last night, “is that you can get up so much if you’re willing to put in the work. Tonight I’m doing a 6pm open mic in Long Island City, then an 8pm show in Manhattan, then back out to Queens for a 9:30 show, and then back into the city for an 11pm mic. It’s all about how much work you’re willing to do.”
That’s an exciting prospect. Even if the shows aren’t all winners, it’s cool to be able to get up and do so many sets in a given night.
On Monday, I cooked a quick dinner (trying to earn my keep) and then hustled downtown to try an open mic. When I walked in, it was a disaster. The room was full of the cast and crew of an independent film that had just wrapped. They were drunk and getting drunker and not leaving anytime soon. They were unaware that their party was going to turn into a comedy show at the crack of 10pm. It was going to be Ambush Comedy. Now, standup is a lot like making love (it’s not, but bear with me). If everyone is excited about it, it’s fun and great (so I hear). But if one party isn’t psyched…or worse, doesn’t know it’s going to happen…that will make it horrible for everybody.
That said, I was kind of excited to be a part of a train wreck and see that New York is not unlike Boston in some ways. I’m still not 100% comfortable in hip NYC comedy rooms, but I sure do know my way around a messy slugfest in a barroom. By the time I went on (15th) it was after midnight. It was 24 hours since I’d arrived in the city. Comics had begged and pleaded with the crowd to listen. They had demanded and shouted and flipped birds. I chose to ignore them (as a few others had) and focus on the comedians and few legitimate audience members.
It didn’t go great, but my expectations were very, very low. I was pleased to have Open Mic 1 under my belt.
Number 2 came last night. I hustled out to The Creek and the Cave (in Long Island City) for a 6pm mic. I got to do two and a half minutes in front of a room of all comics, but they were very supportive and fun, and it was a good hangout.
I took the train back into Manhattan for a show produced by friends Harrison Greenbaum and Sam Morrill and hosted by friend Baratunde Thurston. I caught up with Harrison while we watched the audience slowly fill up the back room of Bar 82 in the East Village. Once the show started, the crowd was a little slow to warm up, but Baratunde did a great job picking their energy up and getting them laughing.
My set was really, really fun. I was super lucky to get to go up in front of an awesome crowd my second night in the city. Then, as soon as I got offstage, Baratunde brought up Jim Gaffigan. Actual Jim Gaffigan. It was pretty neat. He was working out some really funny new material, and he opened by referencing my last joke, which was in the grand scheme of things not a big deal, but last night totally made me geek out.
After his set, I said hello and that I enjoyed his work. It was nice.
I know that things here will get grizzly and confidence-smushy at times, so I’m really happy my first couple of nights had lots of friendship and a good set and meeting one of my favorite comedians.