A Phoenix Comic Going To New York City.
I’ve been doing stand up comedy for a year and a half. I’ve never done comedy outside of Phoenix, Arizona. So naturally I thought, “why not go to New York City?”
I always test out my material in different rooms in Phoenix. Urban rooms, Latino rooms, liberal rooms, conservative rooms, etc. I try to make my material universally funny. I don’t want to be that guy that says “THIS” is my crowd or demographic. My reason for traveling to New York City was to discover the comedy scene and test out my material in a different market.
My first night in New York was nothing less than spectacular…and soul crushing. I had my first show at the Comic Strip after a five hour flight and twenty-four hours with no sleep. It was incredible just being in the building with all its history.
Picture this: I’m waiting to go up onstage and T.J. Miller comes in and sits right next to me. A little shocked and excited, I introduce myself and watch T.J. go onstage and kill it. T.J. gets off the stage and it’s my turn to go up. Nervous and tired, I do my set. It was OK at the very best. I can immediately see the difference between New York comics and Phoenix comics. There seemed to be more of a laid back, confident, natural, and conversational style.
From there, I go to The Stand, which is held at the Rockwood Music Hall. The show was absolutely amazing. Everyone on that show was a killer. Every single comic crushed. T.J. Miller and Big Jay Oakerson went up and absolutely murdered.
It was finally my turn to go up. Having to follow Big Jay was not easy. I went up and had the biggest bomb of my life. I got some chuckles here and there. That crowd was HOT until I stepped onstage. It was such a humbling experience. I compare my experience to that of a high school running back who thinks he should play on the Steelers after he scored just one touchdown. I’m just not there yet.
The walk home to the hotel was a bittersweet one. I was happy, excited, and motivated after seeing all those amazing New York comics. I was also embarrassed about my set. However, that motivated me! My immediate thought was, “I need to get better. Period. No blaming the crowd or anyone else. I just need to be funnier.”
The next few days of open mics were fun. My buddy Reece Muniz, another hardworking Phoenix comic, was also with me on the trip. A lot of the open mics had a similar feel to the open mics in Phoenix. For example, they were mostly attended by other comedians rather than non-comedian audience members.
I definitely feel like performing stand up in New York forces you to adapt and get better. I was working hard on being more confident onstage and making my material more conversational. As the week went on, my sets got better and I had more confidence.
My last two shows in the city were at the Beauty Bar and New York Comedy Club. I seemed to be the only comic who didn’t have some sort of television credit. I also saw an amazing comedy show at the Cellar. Jim Norton, Chad Daniels, and Bobby Kelly were absolutely incredible. Seeing all those high caliber comics just walking around New York was crazy!
I came back to Phoenix with an even bigger appreciation for comedy. Even though I’ve always worked hard at comedy, I know I need to work even harder. I know comedy is a long game and I’m excited for what the future holds.