Big Apple Stand-up...in My Small Dress
In my previous blog post, "Setting New Goals: Fit & Funny," I discussed my #LA detox in preparation for one of my best friend's weddings in NYC.
Yes, I bought the bridesmaid dress a size too small. Yes, it was risky. And yes, I was freaked the f*** ou†.
So did it work?
Well, thanks to working out and my constant fear of shame, I successfully fit into that little red number (with a lil' help from my Spanx). JK. They was off-brand...
The big day came and went (and holy damn was it a beautiful wedding), but the next day was surprisingly a big day for me as well: my debut stand-up performances in New York City!
Just before flying out for the wedding, I learned that I'd booked a gig at the Sunday night at the Allstars show at GOTHAM COMEDY CLUB! The same iconic club where some of my comedic idols have graced the stage! And just after arriving in NYC, I learned I'd actually booked a second gig the same night at THE STAND COMEDY CLUB -- just as f***ing epic!
A few things came to mind:
- HOLY F***ING SHIT THIS IS AWESOME AND I'M SO GRATEFUL.
- I've never performed for a New York crowd. Will my material resonate? Will they like me?
- I'm so glad I feel comfortable in my own skin right now. The dieting/exercise really came at a great time, and I'm definitely keeping this up.
- I wonder if they'll serve a meal on this flight (unrelated)
I tried not worry too much about the set-list while doing wedding activities (it was the bride's weekend, not mine) so I worked out a general outline of what I'd talk about on the plane instead.
On Sunday, 9/3, after a day of shuffle board with friends in Brooklyn, I went home to prep for the gigs. Shower, meditate, review, Uber. Several friends from the wedding were going to meet me at Gotham, plus friends from the past -- including a teacher from high school who happened to be in NYC!
The show at Gotham was a success -- though my mouth was so damn dry. I was gurgling water before getting onstage, and I still spoke like I had peanut butter in my mouth for a minute. But I still won the crowd over. It helped that I made a joke referencing two prior comedian's sets, which they loved.
**TIP FOR COMICS: always address the room/what's been said before getting into your set.**
From there, I had an hour to get to my next set at the Stand. Once we arrived and I spoke to the host, I realized that I had double the amount of stage-time here vs what I'd had at Gotham. Meaning I had only 50% of a set prepared...
Instead of chatting with my friends before the show, I got my Google Docs out and started browsing jokes to see what I could tie in naturally to what I already had to say. Though I'd like to be at a place in my career where I just throw jokes at people, I still wanted to be prepared and smooth for that night.
**TIP FOR COMICS: always, always, always be prepared for everything. You never know when you'll get the chance to do a set, or more stage time. There are no second chances.**
Luckily, that ended up being a success as well! I messed up one joke, but I pointed it out and laughed at myself, which I think is more enduring for the audience to see. There was also a group of Indian tourists sitting in the back that LOVED my dad impersonations, which made me press into it to milk the reactions.
**TIP FOR COMICS: pay attention to what the crowd likes, and try to give them more of it.**
What I learned about NYC:
- The comics here are predominantly comics (not singer-actor-writer-mimers-influencers) and you can see the craft of good stand-up here.
- There are SO MANY comedy clubs -- it seems like a more stand-up forward city over LA.
- Realization: your material will work anywhere, as long as you stay true to your voice. There was no reason to be that worried. Versatility, and the ability to play for diverse audiences, is what makes a comedian great.
Here's to performing in NYC and beyond -- while learning more every day :)