I’ve been in Los Angeles for close to two years now. I drove here two days after my 22nd birthday, crossing the desert in August heat, and haven’t looked back. I listened to episodes of WTF with Marc Maron and dreamed of performing at the Comedy Store, a place he made sound like comedic holy ground. It was a breeding ground for comedy legends.
I remember the first time I walked into the Comedy Store, being taken up in a swirl of darkness and neon, sitting in chairs in the back of the room and watching the spectacle of the open mic, with the viciously funny hosts never missing an opportunity to let loose on particularly deserving performers. I remember feeling like I’d walked into where I was supposed to be all along.
Now close to a year and a half later, I stand on stage, performing as a member of the Comedy Store’s Friends and Family list for the fifth time. There is no audience.
Things change, things stay the same.
This is the halfway point in what has been one of my most chaotic, change-filled years. This year didn’t go how I thought it would. To some degree, it did, but I am wholly in a place that I didn’t anticipate being.
I have been doing a lot of comedy this year. I just did my 154th set of the year. I was at 120 by this time last year. I’m on pace to do at least 60 more sets than I did last year, and in all likelihood I’ll be doing even more. I feel unproductive if I’m not on stage at least five times a week now.
I co-started a comedy show in an old S&M bar with my buddy Tyler. We picked up steam and will be running our ninth show tomorrow night. (Come if you’re in Los Angeles.) It’s been a great place to learn about myself, my material, and my style - and, of course, to befriend some of the best comics in the game and watch them perform.
I have opened for Dana Carvey twice.
I have been getting paid to run a show since Super Bowl Sunday.
Tuesdays are my favorite night of the week these days ever since I became a very small part of one of the best shows in Los Angeles, the Roast Battle. Even if I’m working, I have a blast watching the comics engage in the weekly war of words. It’s the only show I’ve ever seen where people spill out into the street just so they can listen to the action inside. I’ve competed twice myself. I’m 1-1. I’ll be back in the ring again soon.
Unfortunately, things are not always great. After a long, love-filled relationship, I find myself single again. Comedy is partially to blame. I’m told this lifestyle has its share of casualties. I’m hoping one of those is the person who let things get so bad with the woman of his dreams.
I’m in therapy now, too. I’m attempting to grow as a person, to correct a lot of personal flaws. I’m too unsure of myself, too indecisive. I’m learning to be more fearless. I’m learning to confront issues instead of sweeping them under the rug. I’m learning that, if I want to become the comedian and the person I have the potential to be, then I need to make some changes.
I feel as though I’m in a totally different world than the one I planned on being part of when I moved to Los Angeles, especially based on how my education went, but this is a place I thrive in. I’m thriving. I’m living my dream every day, and I’m happy. I may not be able to see people as much as I’d like to, or have the kind of social life I imagined having, but it’s fine.
I have to work incredibly hard to maintain my dream and stay financially afloat in this city, but that’s fine. It’s all worth it. The least I can do is keep going. The changes will come.