I’m writing all this out because it helps me sort out the lunacy of being a creative person in New York.
I got weepy on the plane coming back from Florida which makes no sense (I don’t really do that), and it made me want to move back to Boston. I think that coming to New York because you’re a creative person is a great, yet terrible idea. I think I take one step forward (was just at the Friars Club), and three steps back (I drink more now than I ever did).
I still have this issue where I don’t want to emotionally commit to comedy. It’s hard to commit to anything, emotionally. I think it’s funny (or not) that men have a hard time committing to women. I resist committing to my career because that’s way scarier than giving someone half the house. It’s a huge gamble. A lot of people are taking the plunge into performing (in New York, at any given time, there is a free comedy show, somewhere; several, even, on a single block).
New York is a gamble (and apparently I’m Ginger from Scorcese’s Casino) cuz I’m rollin’ the dice baby. Men don’t want to commit because it might ruin their life. That’s the same reason I resist pushing with my career. It’s fear. Ah, that little bugger. It also depends on what day you catch me on. When I used to work Vegas twice a year, I was, in my mind, in show business (to some degree).
Comedians are an interesting faction of show business, because we work the hardest and get the least respect. We are like boxers. We take all the risk. We are the writer, producer, editor, performer, booking and marketing person. No wonder I want to quit often. But I’ve only felt that way since moving to New York so I blame the Yankees.
We get the least respect because we are alone on stage so we get heckled sometimes, and the bookers are all frustrated performers with fickle personalities, who are just looking for an excuse not to book you. I think I’m going to a Met game.
When I got booked in Vegas, I worked at the Riviera. You got a hotel and had meals at the employee cafeteria. Let me tell you something, two shows a night for seven days, I woulda ate Chef Boyardee. But the reality of a day job is enough to make you want to die by some epic, old school way like consumption or sticking your head in an oven.
This double life is what is getting to me. (and I sort of get fired a lot). I come back to the day job after Vegas, back to the meaninglessness and futility of it all, and it’s hard to take. No wonder I drink too much. It’s all garbage. That is why I cried on the plane. First of all, I am a New Englander. Being in the 80 degree weather of Florida in December and then parting from it is reason enough, but as I find I am scrawling this out in an airport, I’m thinking there are other reasons as well.
Everybody who does comedy SPECIFICALLY in New York City has this I suspect – even if you’re doing well (this being=crying, wanting to quit, fear of commitment). But there is something that we're getting as a payoff. I suspect that it is the satisfaction that we are forging our own way in a city that many don't have the balls to move to, never mind navigate the pot hole-laden thoroughfares. New York demands the best out of an artist. That is a good thing. It requires an amalgam of ourselves into what we aspire to become. Ultimately it’s what we want. We want to be changed. We just didn’t know it was going to be this hard.