I’ve been on the road full time since 2009. In the last five years I’ve worked about 211 weeks, been on stage in front of around 60,000 people and driven 200,000 miles. Because when you’re a Road Comic, that’s what you do. But in LA you GET IN LINE.
I used to get on stage every week and if there was an off week I was home I could run up to The Comedy Caravan and get some stage time. But LA is a completely different beast. If you’re “Somebody” or have a manager you can pretty much get a set whenever you want, but if you’re like me...a road comic that no one has ever heard of it’s a little more difficult. Who am I kidding...it’s a LOT more difficult. If I want to get on stage say at The Laugh Factor in LA, I have to show up around 3:00 p.m. so I can be one of the first 15 people in line to sign up at 6:00 p.m. to get on the open mic a week later. The Comedy Store has a lottery, HaHa’s is “pay to play”, The Improv is impossible....Tonight I’ll be going to a club...hope that I can get on the open mic so I can get 3 min probably somewhere around 11 pm or so on a Tuesday night. Lord Jesus.
I know I’m in a new place and it’s part of the process, part of the journey, but at the moment it makes me feel like the last seven years were for nothing. Of course, I know that’s not true, the last seven years made me a pretty damn good comic. But the first few years on the road is when you pay your dues. Unless you move to a new city then you start paying your dues all over again.
God grant me the serenity to accept the fact that it’s hard to get stage time, The courage to keep going for it, and the wisdom to know that Dreams aren’t easy, but they’re worth it.
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.” Good advice Thoreau....I’m trying sir....I’m trying.
I’ve moved a lot in my life, 21 times in 21 years, but never cross country. So much of it was familiar. The painstaking process of purging and packing. The mad rush at the end when you’ve run out of time and you’re throwing random stuff in boxes just to empty the place. We spent one last night in a barren house on an blow up mattress. I’m not sure if I didn’t sleep because of the excitement of the move or the fact that air was slowly leaking out of the bed, but either way it was a restless night that led into a ten hour day of driving a 20 ft moving truck pulling a car trailer. When all was said and done it was 40 hours of driving, spread over 4 days - 2100 miles to ponder the question “WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING?”
As a comic, at some point, if you want to make it the next level, you have to move to NY or LA. Flip a coin and LA it was. I’ve talked about moving to LA for a couple of years, but talk is so much easier than action. The boxes were all sealed, the truck packed, I was lying on the air mattress thinking, “WOW this is it, no turning back now”. Driving across seven states is a long way to let self doubt creep in. What if they don’t like me? What if I don’t have what it takes? What if I’m not special? Though my thoughts and fears are no different from anyone else. The little voice of fear that holds us back...the fear that paralyzes us into settling for less.
I woke up morning one in our new apartment in North Hollywood so EXCITED to be here. I woke up morning two in a complete panic, “Why did I move here? I’m never going to make it?” When I woke up in Louisville I knew what to do. I knew how and where to get stage time and work and people knew me. Here in LA I don’t even know where to start and I’m just another comic in an overcrowded sea of faces trying to make it big. It was easy to get wrapped up in the process of unpacking and setting up the apartment, but now that the last box is empty and everything is in it’s place it’s time to face the music and do something. Anything. Get out of the comfortable, safe apartment and make a connection, figure out how to get on stage, get new head shots, find an agent, make a friend, get on a show.
Yesterdays emails and calls and texts all seem to be dead ends at the moment. But, courage is what keeps me going...chasing the dream. One of my favorite quotes is by Mary Anne Redmacher, “Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow”. Goodnight LA, see you tomorrow.