a comedian's notebook http://acomediansnotebook.com taking comedy seriously, but not too seriously Fri, 30 Nov 2018 17:56:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.1.1 http://i2.wp.com/acomediansnotebook.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/cropped-clown_ACN_logo.png?fit=32%2C32 a comedian's notebook http://acomediansnotebook.com 32 32 109825183 on tour in MN/WI starting today! http://acomediansnotebook.com/2018/07/tour-minnesota-wisconsin-comedy/ http://acomediansnotebook.com/2018/07/tour-minnesota-wisconsin-comedy/#respond Fri, 06 Jul 2018 14:53:01 +0000 http://acomediansnotebook.com/?p=1989 Here’s the lineup for my shows! Note: the Rigby Pub show has just been cancelled, but I’ll update if I add any more. I’ll also add the poster from my California trip below. Notice a theme? Also the new poster is a hodag, which is a legendary beast from the lakes of the great north … Continue reading "on tour in MN/WI starting today!"

The post on tour in MN/WI starting today! appeared first on a comedian's notebook.

]]>
Here’s the lineup for my shows! Note: the Rigby Pub show has just been cancelled, but I’ll update if I add any more. I’ll also add the poster from my California trip below. Notice a theme?

Also the new poster is a hodag, which is a legendary beast from the lakes of the great north woods.

#wisCOMEDYsinminnesoTOUR

 

 

The post on tour in MN/WI starting today! appeared first on a comedian's notebook.

]]>
http://acomediansnotebook.com/2018/07/tour-minnesota-wisconsin-comedy/feed/ 0 1989
season 1 of the Green podcast is live! http://acomediansnotebook.com/2017/06/season-1-green-podcast-live/ http://acomediansnotebook.com/2017/06/season-1-green-podcast-live/#respond Tue, 06 Jun 2017 16:44:14 +0000 http://acomediansnotebook.com/?p=1976 Green is a seasonal podcast where two green comedians talk to successful comedians about stuff they’re really good at. It’s hosted by me (Stu Melton) and Jake Fromm. Here’s a little preview of what the first few episodes are about: ep. 1 – How to create a podcast ep. 2 – How to get booked & be a working … Continue reading "season 1 of the Green podcast is live!"

The post season 1 of the Green podcast is live! appeared first on a comedian's notebook.

]]>
Green is a seasonal podcast where two green comedians talk to successful comedians about stuff they’re really good at. It’s hosted by me (Stu Melton) and Jake Fromm. Here’s a little preview of what the first few episodes are about:

ep. 1 – How to create a podcast
ep. 2 – How to get booked & be a working comic
ep. 3 – How to pitch a TV show

The episodes feature some of our favorite comics in NYC who know a lot more about these things than Jake and I do. The first episode features Corinne Fisher, who co-hosts one of the biggest comedy podcasts on iTunes with millions of downloads per episode: Guys We F****d. She tells us that, for our first episode, we’re doing okay. On the “working comic” episode, we’re joined by NYC comedian Lucas Connolly who regularly works club shows, independent shows, storytelling shows, and the road…and is blown away by our charming naiveté. Episode 3’s guest Dan Perlman was in the middle of developing an animated pilot for Fox when we sat down to talk about how exactly he got there. Fast-forward to today, when Jake and I are developing our own pilot with a major TV network. Pshh, we wish.

My favorite part about the show is that it’s recorded over the span of 7 months, so you can hear Jake and I become better hosts as the episodes improve. And, even cooler, you can hear us become marginally less stupid about comedy over time.

Although the episodes are informative, Jake and I also thought a lot about how to make it a well-rounded show. It’s funny, sad, smart, stupid.. .admittedly the best podcast you’ve ever heard.

YOU CAN LISTEN TO THE FIRST THREE EPISODES OF GREEN ON iTUNES HERE

Please rate, subscribe, and share!

The post season 1 of the Green podcast is live! appeared first on a comedian's notebook.

]]>
http://acomediansnotebook.com/2017/06/season-1-green-podcast-live/feed/ 0 1976
Matt Ruby of Schtick or Treat (Seeso) on recording his comedy album, life as a comedian, and how to get people to notice you http://acomediansnotebook.com/2017/05/matt-ruby-schtick-or-treat-seeso-recording-album-comedian/ http://acomediansnotebook.com/2017/05/matt-ruby-schtick-or-treat-seeso-recording-album-comedian/#respond Tue, 23 May 2017 15:48:16 +0000 http://acomediansnotebook.com/?p=1949 Matt Ruby is a touring comedian based in New York City and is the creator of Vooza. His newly released album Hot Flashes (top 10 on iTunes) is available now.  ACN: What was the purpose of starting your blog Sandpaper Suit? How has your blog changed or adapted since then? Why do you think blogs have … Continue reading "Matt Ruby of Schtick or Treat (Seeso) on recording his comedy album, life as a comedian, and how to get people to notice you"

The post Matt Ruby of Schtick or Treat (Seeso) on recording his comedy album, life as a comedian, and how to get people to notice you appeared first on a comedian's notebook.

]]>
Matt Ruby is a touring comedian based in New York City and is the creator of Vooza. His newly released album Hot Flashes (top 10 on iTunes) is available now. 


ACN: What was the purpose of starting your blog Sandpaper Suit? How has your blog changed or adapted since then? Why do you think blogs have such a bad reputation, especially among comedians?

Ruby: I wanted to share what I learned about standup as I was doing it and thought it’d be a good way to promote myself along the way. In the past few years, I’ve started posting less at the blog and more on social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Medium). Bloggers are a punchline because they seem to be folks who are afraid to get in the arena but like to critique from afar. I think the general impression of them is they’re a Greek Chorus of Wesleyan post-grads who read too much Noam Chomsky and lack a sense of humor.

ACN: Your yearly Halloween show Schtick or Treat was featured in an episode of Seeso’s The Comedy Show Show this past year. How is taping a show for television different from a live audience?

Ruby: Well, we taped it as a live show in front of an audience so it wasn’t TOO different than the usual show. However, we learned the comedy equivalent of Chekhov’s gun at the show…

“One must never place a loaded rifle on the stage if it isn’t going to go off. It’s wrong to make promises you don’t mean to keep.”

-Chekhov

“One must never bring a watermelon and a hammer onstage if you’re not going to smash it. It’s wrong to make promises you don’t mean to keep.”

-Everyone at Schtick or Treat during Jim Tews’ set as Gallagher

We promised the producer he wouldn’t smash the watermelon. Then we promised again. Then Jim went onstage. And it had to happen. The room wanted that melon smashed. The room needed that melon smashed. That promise needed to be kept. We are promise keepers! (Note: It’s amazing how much liquid is stored inside a watermelon.)

ACN: I’ve noticed you surround yourself with with talented people like Mark Normand and Gary Vider (who you work with on Hot Soup and Schtick or Treat).. .how much of that is intensional? How do you find the right people to work with creatively?


Ruby: I’d rather be around talented people than untalented people. Also, it’s not just talent – it’s people who get things done. How you do one thing is how you do every thing. Reminds me of quote that I love: “If you need something done, ask the busiest person you know.” As for finding ‘em, the good thing about standup in NYC is you get to see great folks prove themselves onstage night after night. Then it’s a question of reaching out/asking for help/offering something. I’m not always great at that but I’m trying.

ACN: You taped your stand up album this past fall at Comedians You Should Know, one of the biggest comedy shows in Chicago. What’s something difficult about planning an album taping that most comics don’t realize?

Ruby: There’s a whole art to structuring an hour set. In NYC, you’re usually limited to shorter sets. So for me, it was very helpful to go on the road before taping and do longer sets so I could figure out how to make it all work as a cohesive piece instead of a series of random jokes. One thing I learned: Split up your Jew material when you’re doing shows in Canada.

ACN: In addition to stand up, blogging, and hosting/producing, you’re also the creator of the web series Vooza, which pokes fun at start up culture. Is there a through line in how you approach your creative projects, regardless of the medium? A philosophy or perspective on how they should get done?

Ruby: I think there’s real value in starting small. Put something out in the world and get feedback a little bit at a time. Planning big may help you feel ambitious but I don’t think it’s always the best way to get results. Build it, release it, see what works, tweak, try again, rinse, lather, repeat. It’s what works in standup and the rest of the world too. Otherwise you can get stuck in your head which can be fantasyland.

ACN: With a hand in so many projects, how do you decide what’s important and what should take a back seat at any given time?

Ruby: I’d rather not do stuff. I’m lazy and busy. Well, at least I always feel busy but maybe that’s because I’m lazy. When I can’t let an idea go, that’s when I know I have to do it. Or when someone pays me. I do stuff when someone pays me. Also, deadlines. When I’ve got a deadline, that’s when I deliver something. Until then, it’s a lot of thumb twiddling and “wouldn’t it be nice?” thinking.

ACN: What makes something a good idea? 

Ruby: Ideas are overrated. Execution is everything. Explained well here.

So a good idea is something you really want to execute. If you’re excited to do it and willing to follow through on it and will be glad you did it regardless of the outcome, then it’s a good idea.

ACN: You’ve been featured in Timeout, The Huffington Post, Splitsider, etc. How do you get important people to notice you and, more generally, people to care about what you’re doing?

Ruby: Put yourself in their shoes. What’s exciting to you isn’t always exciting to them. I get more excited about my standup act while the rest of the world gets excited by something like Schtick or Treat because it involves community, costumes, celebrities, impressions, and is a unique event. I think the more you can give things a hook or make them new/newsworthy, the more the world will pay attention. Also, making stuff for a specific audience instead of for everyone is often a good way to grab people’s attention. I’ve seen this with Vooza. People in the tech world like it because they feel like it’s made just for them.

ACN: Would you consider any of your projects a failure? What have you learned from your mistakes?

Ruby: Many projects I’ve done have been less successful than I would have hoped. But at least I learned a lot along the way. Mostly that I’m too selfish and too precious about my art and that I need to collaborate with others more and be less of a control freak.

ACN: Do you have any great stories from hosting Hot Soup, Schtick or Treat, or just doing stand up around the city?

Ruby: It’s all a story. I do tons of shows for hipsters and tourists. And I do shows for dudes who work on an oil rig. I do jokes in London and Alabama. I travel alone a lot. I take a train to Canada to do jokes there. I get a ride from a stranger from Nashville to Chattanooga to do jokes there. I take a Greyhound bus from Portland to Seattle. I realize they call it Greyhound because that’s the only animal that’s been abused as much as the passengers. The guy who runs the show in Seattle hangs himself in the alley a year later. I follow a comic who explains why white people suck for ten minutes. I’m introduced by a host who talks all about a dead soldier friend who died in Afghanistan before bringing me up. I perform in a college cafeteria at noon in front of six kids playing Magic The Gathering and the school mascot. I do shows for black people in Harlem. I do shows for Jews in a synagogue. I do show for Christians in a church. I do shows for gamblers in a casino. I do shows where there are little kids in the front row. I’m constantly talking to people I would never talk to in “real life.” It drives me crazy and keeps me sane.

ACN: What’s the best comedy or life advice you’ve ever gotten?

Ruby: “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”

-Oscar Wilde


Matt Ruby is a NYC-based comedian and doer of many different things. Check out his new album Hot Flashes, which you can find pretty much anywhere you can find music/comedy. 

This post was written by Stu Melton, a NYC comedian and creator of ACN. You can find him on twitter @tellsjokes.

If you liked this post, please like and share below! You can also follow the blog through Twitter, Facebook, or by joining the mailing list.

The post Matt Ruby of Schtick or Treat (Seeso) on recording his comedy album, life as a comedian, and how to get people to notice you appeared first on a comedian's notebook.

]]>
http://acomediansnotebook.com/2017/05/matt-ruby-schtick-or-treat-seeso-recording-album-comedian/feed/ 0 1949
my dumb thoughts on comedy festivals – Patrick Hastie http://acomediansnotebook.com/2017/04/dumb-thoughts-comedy-festivals-patrick-hastie/ http://acomediansnotebook.com/2017/04/dumb-thoughts-comedy-festivals-patrick-hastie/#comments Tue, 25 Apr 2017 15:34:01 +0000 http://acomediansnotebook.com/?p=1953 Comedy festivals are huge right now. They got ‘em everywhere. Pretty much any city with a scene has its own festival. In my home state of Iowa there are 5 different comedy festivals right now. I’ve never done the *big* ones like Bridgetown, JFL or Edinburgh, but I have done a bunch of the smaller ones. … Continue reading "my dumb thoughts on comedy festivals – Patrick Hastie"

The post my dumb thoughts on comedy festivals – Patrick Hastie appeared first on a comedian's notebook.

]]>
Comedy festivals are huge right now. They got ‘em everywhere. Pretty much any city with a scene has its own festival. In my home state of Iowa there are 5 different comedy festivals right now. I’ve never done the *big* ones like Bridgetown, JFL or Edinburgh, but I have done a bunch of the smaller ones. Here are some of my dumb thoughts…

If you’re not familiar with how comedy festivals work, usually a group of producers (often comedians, sometimes not) come together and organize a multi-day comedy event where they bring in comedians from all over the country to do stand up (or improv or lectures or podcasts) in their city. There are usually a few headliners who are paid to perform and raise the visibility of the festival and scene, but majority of the comedians are performing for free.

To get into these festivals, comedians submit a video and pay a fee. That fee can be anything from $5 to $100, depending on the festival, although usually it’s around $25. This money ideally goes back into the festival and makes it possible to happen. Most festivals don’t have sponsors or someone bank rolling them. If that feels gross or shady to you, I understand, but I’m cool with it. I’ll submit to certain festivals just because they were good to me in the past and I want to help contribute to them.

Then, the festival producers go through the process of watching these submission videos and picking who they want to invite to perform. Sometimes this is done meticulously by a board through a strict review process. Sometimes this is done by one or two people. You hope it is fair, sometimes it’s not.

After the submission and review process is over, they send out invitations or rejection emails. If you’re selected, you start making your arrangements. Majority of the time, travel to the festival is on you. You gotta buy a plane ticket or a bus ticket or drive. Majority of the time, lodging will be taken care of by the festival. This could be anything from a fancy hotel room to a comedian’s couch to a hostel bed in a church basement. However, every once in a while a festival will make you find your own lodging.

Once the festival starts, they usually give you a festival lanyard, t-shirt and a swag bag full of weird shit and then you spend the next few days doing nothing but hanging out with other comedians. This is always a good time. You go out, party, do drugs, drink, eat shitty food, go to museums, and bond like fucking crazy. People often compare it to summer camp, and I totally agree. It’s a blast.

The shows at festivals can be hit or miss. Sometimes you’re doing stand up for hundreds of people in a packed theater and sometimes you’re doing stand up for no one in a coffee shop. I’ve done 3 festivals this year and have had one of the best shows I’ve ever had and one of the worst shows I’ve ever had. I’m not the first one to say it, but you don’t go to comedy festivals to have killer sets.

Some comedy festivals are scams or cash grabs or they only exist so the producers can pay bigger comedians to hang out with them. It’s gross, but that is just how it goes. On the other hand, some comedy festivals are fucking great. I’ve made so many friends and got some much work from going to these weird places and hanging out and having fun. We booked 80% of the Young Dinosaurs Tour of relationships Nick, Albert and I made at various comedy festivals.

I’m not talking about “networking”, I’m talking about making genuine friendships with comedians you otherwise wouldn’t have met. So far this year I’ve made a ton of new friends. One from Tucson. One from Detroit. One from Toronto. Etc. Etc. Etc. Hopefully I’ll get to watch these comedians and do stand up with them for the rest of my life. And maybe we all would have met somewhere down the line, but since we had this whirlwind shared festival experience, it bonded us and I wouldn’t trade that for the world.

Plus, the good thing about comedians is that we fucking talk and gossip all the fucking time. If a festival sucks, word is gonna get around and if a festival rules, word is gonna get around. Cream rises to the top. So if you are considering submitting to a festival, Google and find someone who has done it in the past and ask what they think.

Also, I feel like I have been very lucky with the festivals I have been invited to and I have had way more good experiences than bad. So that fuckin’ rules!

Before writing this, I reached out to some friends and asked what they would be interested in knowing about festivals. Here are some of their questions:

What do you wish you had known before doing your first festival?
I did a handful of smaller Midwest festivals in 2011 and 2012, but I consider Out of Bounds in Austin in 2013 my first *real* festival. I was 2 and a half years in and had been living in NYC for 4 months. I was VERY in my head the whole time. I was nervous to go talk to people and the only real friend I had there was a comic who was 2 years ahead of me that I really respected, and so every interaction with him made me anxious. After the second day though I started to relax and ended up having a lot of fun. What I wish I had known was that everyone isn’t judging you, you don’t have to be shy and that it’s ok repeat material. Boy, I do not think this answered the question at all.

Which festivals should I apply to?
Whichever one is best for you. Do research. You don’t want to apply to a festival, get in and find out it costs $800 to get there. Figure out which ones have good reputations. Which ones have your friends done and liked. Go look at past lineups. That’s what I do. There are a few festivals that I don’t think I’m right for so I don’t submit to them. Also, if you want to know my true opinions on which festivals I think are bullshit, give me $4,000 OR just have a conversation with me for more than 15 minutes and I’ll probably tell you.

What makes a good tape?
I don’t know shit about shit, but I did recently go to a panel with a bunch of representatives from some of the big comedy festivals and listened to them, and so this is what I do know, submission videos should start with the first joke you want shown. Not the host! They specifically said “sometimes we wish we could book the host more than the comic”. Make sure the video is good. You gotta be seen and you gotta be heard. You gotta be doing well. If it’s a bad room, that’s gonna hurt you. Also, if you use a phone do it landscape and use a little tripod or something. Don’t just hold it. If you’ve been rejected a few times, don’t let that discourage you. Two of the biggest festivals both said they keep tabs on comedians over the years and look for growth. So maybe in 2012 you weren’t ready but in 2018 you are. They also said that if you’re a woman, you should 100% be submitting to comedy festivals because not enough are and there are SO MANY hilarious female comedians.

What if I don’t get in?
Who cares! You can continue doing stand up exactly the same as you have been doing and working to get better and maybe you’ll get into the next one. I feel like people think it is a lot more malicious than it really is. I’ve met so many festival producers and they are just people. They watch hundreds, sometimes thousands, of videos and have to whittle that down to 30 or 40 people. It’s hard. If you don’t get in, work harder, and try again. Don’t get mad. Don’t get jaded. Don’t reply to the rejection email with a nasty letter. Don’t write a Facebook post putting them on blast. It is only gonna make you look bad. Remember, in regards to the people who got in, it was never “you vs them” it just wasn’t “you”. So in that case, it might as well be “them.”

How do you handle rejection?
I try to be cool with it. I understand that it is part of this whole goddamn thing and so you can’t beat yourself up over it. I also try to be very honest with myself. In 2014 my tape was shit, I knew it was shit, I submitted to a bunch of festivals with it and didn’t get in. That is my fault. Also, I’m a 32-year-old balding white dude. There are 1,000 dudes just like me submitting for every festival. So it’s hard to take it personal. I have had some shitty things happen though. One time a festival sent me the rejection letter, which is not a big deal, but then a month later they sent me the exact same rejection letter word for word. It was like “hey, remember last month when we didn’t think you were funny, guess what, we still don’t!” Also once a bunch of my friends started getting the invitations and rejection emails from a certain festival, and I didn’t. I mean, I submitted. I got a receipt. I just never got an answer back. So that was crazy. I didn’t get mad though, I just know for the future not to submit to that one again. Also, I can’t imagine either of those things were actual slights at me. It’s like I said before, these things aren’t personal. It’s just the people running these festivals are regular people. If I had to email out rejections and acceptance emails to hundreds of people, I’d fuck up too.

What do you think about “partying” and the perceived obligation to hang out?
I think you gotta space it out. I used to get hammered at festivals, but now I don’t drink, so I’ll still hang out or eat an edible or whatever, but you can’t be out until 4am every night. I mean, some people can, but I can’t. What I like to do is go to bed early one night and stay out super late one night. That way you can have fun, but still feel like a person. I do highly recommend hanging out with comics during the day though. Don’t just sit in your hotel room or go do something by yourself. Make friends and get to know them. Plus, that’ll make the partying a lot easier.

Biggest pro to doing comedy festivals?
As I said before, the relationships you make are huge. And it’s fun. Plus, it is important to travel and meet comics from other places. When you only do stand up in one place, be it New York City, LA or even Des Moines, you kinda start thinking that it is all there is. You forget that there are AMAZING comedians all over the country CRUSHING. So going to these festivals and seeing that kind of gives you a better perspective on stand up as a whole and where you fit in it. Comedy is so much more than your scene.

Biggest con to doing comedy festivals?
It’s expensive. In 2017 alone I’ve spent $900 on travel to do festivals. It sucks. Also, sometimes you get to a festival and find out it blows. That has happened to me. You’re a day into it and realize it’s one of those shitty ones and you just gotta tough it out. My hope is that meeting the people and hanging out and doing the stand up will lead to me getting to go back to these cities and doing stand up with these people and hopefully making the money back eventually. Hope is important.

Do you think you have to do comedy festivals?
I don’t. One of my good friends and favorite comedians has been doing stand up for 10 years. In that time he’s done like 2 comedy festivals and been rejected from tons. He’s great though, beloved and doing just fine. On the other hand, I’ve done 15 comedy festivals and nobody really cares. So you don’t HAVE to do them. Plus there is this thing Jake Head said once that I think about all the time because it is fucking true: “Comedy Life Hack: You can just go to a city when there isn’t a festival going on and get on better shows.“

Any other advice?
Only this, and it is my advice for everything, not just comedy festivals: BE NICE! BE KIND! DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE! At every festival there seems to be one or two comedians who are just goddamn dipshits. They big time, boast, brag, it’s so gross. Especially since EVERYONE is there because they are a good comedian. There is no use trying to prove it anywhere but on stage. Dang. Also, be polite. Politeness is important when you’re spending 4 days with people.

Do you have any horror stories from festivals?
This isn’t at all the festivals fault, but in 2012 Gideon Hambright, John Eide and I did the Great American Comedy Festival in this tiny little town called West Point, Nebraska (population: 3,380). It was a good venue and a great crowd and everyone had good sets. At the end of the night, all of the comics came out on stage to kinda take a bow, and the festival producer (a sweet little old lady) said into the mic “Give it up for all of your performers” and everyone clapped, then she said “This is a weird way to end a comedy show but we have just been notified that there are 2 fugitives currently on the loose in West Point tonight. Police officers from all over the state are looking for them. This building is on lock down. You can leave, but you can’t come back in. Please be careful, the men are to be considered armed and dangerous. Have a good night. God bless”. Then John, Gideon, the other 8 or so comedians and I all ran together the half mile across town to the hotel. It was pretty fucking crazy.


Patrick Hastie is an American television writer, director, producer, composer, and production manager. He has created a number of successful sitcoms such as Grace Under Fire, Cybill, Dharma & Greg, Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, and Mom. He also served as an executive producer of Roseanne and Mike & Molly. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife (Rebecca) and his poodle (who is also named Rebecca). 

In all seriousness, check out Patrick’s Blog at patrickhastie.com, where this article first appeared. Patrick Hastie is a NYC comedian who’s not only done a ton of comedy festivals; he also writes a ton of great articles like this one.

The post my dumb thoughts on comedy festivals – Patrick Hastie appeared first on a comedian's notebook.

]]>
http://acomediansnotebook.com/2017/04/dumb-thoughts-comedy-festivals-patrick-hastie/feed/ 1 1953
ACN in The Interrobang! http://acomediansnotebook.com/2017/03/a-comedians-notebook-the-interrobang/ http://acomediansnotebook.com/2017/03/a-comedians-notebook-the-interrobang/#respond Tue, 07 Mar 2017 16:48:26 +0000 http://acomediansnotebook.com/?p=1940 “14 Things You Can Say On Stage That Will Definitely 100% Make You Seem Funnier” is live in The Interrobang! Read that funniness! Shout out to Brian at ComedyArtwork.com for coming in clutch with some killer art.

The post ACN in The Interrobang! appeared first on a comedian's notebook.

]]>
“14 Things You Can Say On Stage That Will Definitely 100% Make You Seem Funnier” is live in The Interrobang!

Read that funniness!

Shout out to Brian at ComedyArtwork.com for coming in clutch with some killer art.

The post ACN in The Interrobang! appeared first on a comedian's notebook.

]]>
http://acomediansnotebook.com/2017/03/a-comedians-notebook-the-interrobang/feed/ 0 1940
what i learned from seeing Mike Birbiglia’s ‘Thank God For Jokes’ three times http://acomediansnotebook.com/2017/02/learned-seeing-mike-birbiglias-thank-god-jokes-three-times/ http://acomediansnotebook.com/2017/02/learned-seeing-mike-birbiglias-thank-god-jokes-three-times/#respond Tue, 28 Feb 2017 14:30:24 +0000 http://acomediansnotebook.com/?p=1928 This is a re-post from stumelton.com. the original article was published almost exactly a year ago. Thank God For Jokes is live today on Netflix…watch it! I also saw one of his Netflix special tapings and if you’re curious about what that was like, check out How You Can Make A Successful Netflix Stand Up … Continue reading "what i learned from seeing Mike Birbiglia’s ‘Thank God For Jokes’ three times"

The post what i learned from seeing Mike Birbiglia’s ‘Thank God For Jokes’ three times appeared first on a comedian's notebook.

]]>
This is a re-post from stumelton.com. the original article was published almost exactly a year ago. Thank God For Jokes is live today on Netflix…watch it! I also saw one of his Netflix special tapings and if you’re curious about what that was like, check out How You Can Make A Successful Netflix Stand Up Comedy Special Just Like Mike Birbiglia.


About a month ago, I made my way down to the Lynn Redgrave Theater on Bleecker Street to see Mike Birbiglia’s one man show, Thank God For Jokes. It was awesome. Birbiglia was fantastic as always and I got a glimpse of some other comedians like John Mulaney and a chunk of the cast of The League hanging out in the lobby of the small theater before and after the show.

In this Splitsider piece, the writer describes Birbiglia’s show as “a deceptively loose meditation on humor.” Actually, it’s a little hard for me to tell what the author is saying in this article. But, I think his main point is that Birbiglia seems really loose in performing his jokes when actually it’s a carefully written or “scripted” piece.

That’s a fine point to make and all, but I think you could say that about any stand up performance. Comedians are supposed to make it look effortless, so I think it’s a bit of an understatement. What I think makes Birbiglia’s performance unique (and more of a theater piece) is his ability to morph a stand up special into a story. He’s not just getting up there and telling jokes, he is crafting them into an incredibly thought-out art piece.

This is the third time in the span of two years that I’ve seen Birbiglia perform pretty much the same hour of jokes. Once in Napa, once in San Francisco, and once here in NYC. Although the jokes were essentially the same, I was blown away by his ability to craft them into more of a narrative. The first time I saw him, he explained that his tour was just about jokes, just going back to doing regular old stand up and talking about how much he loves jokes. There were a lot of different stories there and they were kind of all about the same thing, but there was no structure. The second time, I did see structure there. He was trying to tie all of his jokes back to humor and what makes things funny. The third time, he began the show with a new video that gave the entire show an arc I never saw coming. He brought out laminated emails and jokes that he didn’t have before. It was a polished piece where one joke flowed from the next to the next, while still linking back to the main idea of faith and jokes over and over.

That’s what makes Birbiglia’s specials.. .special. He doesn’t say “I came up with an hour of material: here it is.” He works and works and works the material into an hour-long performance over the span of years. He had pretty much the same material two years ago…and it was great. But now it’s amazing. It blows me away how I could see his hour three times and get something new out of every single one. And yes, I’ve seen other comedians multiple times over the course of a year, but I’ve never seen them mold jokes into a show quite like that before. I just see them adding jokes to a queue that they will tell in their next special, changing the order here and there. Birbiglia writes his jokes into a narrative. That’s why I look at him performing his special as an off-broadway show and think “yeah he deserves that” rather than “oh that’s pretentious.” He applies a mind-blowing Seinfeld-like scrutiny to not just the jokes themselves, but the structure of his special as a whole.

Maybe that’s what “deceptively loose” is supposed to mean. Maybe it all looks effortless to other people, but I can’t help but see this special without thinking about how hard it must have been to craft all those jokes together perfectly.

Birbiglia is at the Lynn Redgrave Theater through May 29. You should see the show! It’s especially great if you’re a fan of comedy and “funny things.” I love that his whole special is about jokes. I think it’s brilliant!

If you couldn’t tell, I’m a huge Birbiglia fan. If you can’t catch him live, definitely watch his special My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend on Netflix. I’m telling you, man.


This post was written by Stu Melton, a NYC comedian and creator of ACN. You can find him on twitter @tellsjokes.

If you liked this post, please like and share below! You can also follow the blog through Twitter, Facebook, or by joining the mailing list.

The post what i learned from seeing Mike Birbiglia’s ‘Thank God For Jokes’ three times appeared first on a comedian's notebook.

]]>
http://acomediansnotebook.com/2017/02/learned-seeing-mike-birbiglias-thank-god-jokes-three-times/feed/ 0 1928
how you can make a successful Netflix stand up comedy special just like Mike Birbiglia http://acomediansnotebook.com/2017/02/mike-birbiglia-netflix-thank-god-for-jokes/ http://acomediansnotebook.com/2017/02/mike-birbiglia-netflix-thank-god-for-jokes/#comments Tue, 28 Feb 2017 14:10:13 +0000 http://acomediansnotebook.com/?p=1924 Mike Birbiglia’s new special Thank God For Jokes is out today on Netflix! If you’re a comedian there’s no way you’re NOT trying to get your own Netflix special one day. Who wouldn’t want a way to stream their jokes to an audience of millions? However, the steps up to that point seem so abstract… … Continue reading "how you can make a successful Netflix stand up comedy special just like Mike Birbiglia"

The post how you can make a successful Netflix stand up comedy special just like Mike Birbiglia appeared first on a comedian's notebook.

]]>
Mike Birbiglia’s new special Thank God For Jokes is out today on Netflix! If you’re a comedian there’s no way you’re NOT trying to get your own Netflix special one day. Who wouldn’t want a way to stream their jokes to an audience of millions? However, the steps up to that point seem so abstract… “I know I deserve it, but how could Netflix want to work with a dumb small-time comedian like me?” you ask. “I’ve never ever even been on TV!” That’s why I’m breaking down Mike Birbiglia’s achievement step-by-step to ensure that, one day, you’ll accomplish your own destiny of Netflix stardom.

Step 1

Get some really good jokes. Mike Birbiglia has a joke about Cats-achusetts, which is a cat-based pun on the state “Massachusetts.” This is a really good joke, for example, so try to write really well like that.

Step 2

Okay, great: you’ve got your jokes. Now it’s time to put them all together. Mike Birbiglia likes to have a theme for his shows. One time he did a show all about sleepwalking because he has rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder. One time he did a show about meeting his wife because he has a wife. This time he did one about jokes because he has REALLY GOOD JOKES (I can’t stress enough the importance of step #1). What are all your really good jokes about? I would make your show about that.

Step 3

Now it’s time to get Netflix on board. For this one it would help if you were Mike Birbiglia.

Step 4

Okay perfect. Use all your experience from having done stand up for 20 years and releasing three other specials as leverage to get a good deal. All that producing experience from writing/directing/starring in Sleepwalk with me and Don’t Think Twice will help you run a tough bargain. Make sure nobody gives you any shit; you’re Mike Birbiglia. You’re the boss. What are you afraid of? Nothing. Except bears.

Step 5

The first day of the taping you make sure everything goes as planned. Make sure all your cameras are scattered around the theater so you can use a bunch of sexy camera angles in the editing. Make sure you wear your favorite blue plaid shirt in all the shows so it doesn’t look like you’re suddenly wearing your (second-favorite) green plaid shirt for half a second.

Step 6

Make sure you’re feeling your best. Oh no: you’re sick.

Step 7

Time to go! Get out on stage tell those #reallygoodjokes. Do an incredible set about jokes that was molded over the course of 2-3 years of working on the road.

Step 8

Your vast comedy knowledge and experience tells you to make an announcement at the beginning of the show explaining that you’ve been sick for the past week, which made you lose your voice. Which is “unfortunate” because the special kind of features you talking. People will understand. Take a break to take a sip of water whenever you need. Your voice is your instrument. Play it as beautifully as you possibly can.

Step 9

Don’t pay attention to the two peevish women in the balcony who are all like, “I wish he would stop taking sips of water.” .. .What they should have said was nothing. Take another sip of water just to peeve them even more. Don’t spill on your favorite blue plaid shirt.

Step 10

Kill.

Step 11

You’re in the editing bay. Editing has just wrapped – Joe Bags pops open a bottle of champagne. They say, “This is a good one, Mike.” You say, “I know, thank you. I’ve been waiting a long time for this moment. I worked very hard on this.” They say, “That was a very genuine reaction to the conclusion of a long, difficult project. We thought you might have made a joke.” And you say, “You’re the joke.. .later.” Because that’s just how you feel.

Step 12

Now it’s time for you to promote the show. Pull on your favorite blue plaid shirt to look good on all those podcasts and stuff. “You’re not the Kenny G of comedy. You’re Mike Birbiglia.” – Mike Birbiglia

Step 13

Do it all over again.


If you like this post, you might also like What I Learned From Seeing Mike Birbiglia’s ‘Thank God For Jokes’ Three Times, which was featured on Mike Birbiglia’s website.

This post was written by Stu Melton, a NYC comedian and creator of ACN. You can find him on twitter @tellsjokes.

brian-taylor-logo

The featured image is original art from Brian from Comedy Artwork. Comedy Artwork specializes in illustration & poster design, logos, album design, profile avatars, graphic design, web graphics, etc. If you’d like to talk about a project check out his website http://ComedyArtwork.com or you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @comedyartwork

If you liked this post, please like and share below! You can also follow the blog through Twitter, Facebook, or by joining the mailing list.

The post how you can make a successful Netflix stand up comedy special just like Mike Birbiglia appeared first on a comedian's notebook.

]]>
http://acomediansnotebook.com/2017/02/mike-birbiglia-netflix-thank-god-for-jokes/feed/ 1 1924
getting booked Mad Libs http://acomediansnotebook.com/2017/02/getting-booked-stand-up-comedy-mad-libs/ http://acomediansnotebook.com/2017/02/getting-booked-stand-up-comedy-mad-libs/#respond Tue, 21 Feb 2017 15:36:18 +0000 http://acomediansnotebook.com/?p=1912 Every comedian is trying to get booked these days, so it’s hard for us to stand out in the crowd. Getting booked is tough. But, if you just think a little differently, you can really capitalize on your colleagues’ lack of creativity and get yourself on more shows. Just fill out this sheet and stick it … Continue reading "getting booked Mad Libs"

The post getting booked Mad Libs appeared first on a comedian's notebook.

]]>
Every comedian is trying to get booked these days, so it’s hard for us to stand out in the crowd. Getting booked is tough. But, if you just think a little differently, you can really capitalize on your colleagues’ lack of creativity and get yourself on more shows. Just fill out this sheet and stick it inside the notebooks of all your favorite comedy show producers and watch as the bookings start to roll in!

Dear Loved Comedy Colleague,

Hey, you know which comic has really been killing it lately? If I had to pick one, it would have to be [__insert_name__]. Did you see how well he/she did at [__last_show_you_did__]? The performance was completely earth-shattering! He/she absolutely [__killed/crushed/slayed__] it up there! I’ve never seen a more impressive set of comedy in my life.. .truly, without exaggeration. You know what? [__insert_name__] seems to do well in every single type of room there is: [__type_of_room__], [__type_of_room__], [__type_of_room__] – doesn’t matter! [__insert_name__] will murder no matter what!

I think all of us in the comedy community are currently asking ourselves the same question: how is [__insert_name__] NOT booked more?!

Well anyways, I was randomly thinking the other day about how the fantastic comedy show you produce, [__name_of_booker’s_show__], is really quite well-run. Not only that, [__name_of_booker’s_show__] is an amazing platform for rising comics, such as [__insert_name__].

Hey there.. .I just had a great idea!

I don’t think I’ve ever seen [__insert_name__] on your show, but I couldn’t think of a better comic to book! Not only would [__insert_name__] do well, but I’m sure he/she would be [__adjective__] to you and the other producers and performers, tip the wait staff [__adverb__], and invite [__number__] of his/her closest paying friends to the show!

I just wanted to say what a great job I thought this particular comedian was doing in relation to his/her other colleagues. That’s all I wanted to say! Nothing like a bit of altruistic compliments from one person to another regarding a third-party comedian.. .don’t we need more of this type of positive non-competitive camaraderie in the comedy community??

Signed,

A very trusted close anonymous friend of yours (whom you can trust)

 


This post was written by Stu Melton, a NYC comedian and creator of ACN. You can find him on twitter @tellsjokes.

The featured image was taken from Mad Libs and, well, edited. 

If you liked this post, please like and share below! You can also follow the blog through Twitter, Facebook, or by joining the mailing list.

The post getting booked Mad Libs appeared first on a comedian's notebook.

]]>
http://acomediansnotebook.com/2017/02/getting-booked-stand-up-comedy-mad-libs/feed/ 0 1912
a made up story about the time Bill Burr said i was an inspiration and then did completely consensual submissive mouth sex to me – Alex Ptak http://acomediansnotebook.com/2017/02/bill-burr-inspiration-completely-consensual-mouth-sex/ http://acomediansnotebook.com/2017/02/bill-burr-inspiration-completely-consensual-mouth-sex/#respond Tue, 14 Feb 2017 16:38:22 +0000 http://acomediansnotebook.com/?p=1905 People are going to say this story isn’t true, only because it is fake. They are going to say “Alex is just trying to be funny” or “Alex has a tumor in his brain that makes him lie to the public.” When you get right down to it, why can’t we both be right? Cannot … Continue reading "a made up story about the time Bill Burr said i was an inspiration and then did completely consensual submissive mouth sex to me – Alex Ptak"

The post a made up story about the time Bill Burr said i was an inspiration and then did completely consensual submissive mouth sex to me – Alex Ptak appeared first on a comedian's notebook.

]]>
People are going to say this story isn’t true, only because it is fake. They are going to say “Alex is just trying to be funny” or “Alex has a tumor in his brain that makes him lie to the public.” When you get right down to it, why can’t we both be right? Cannot a lie be the most true? Would that be crazy?

Yes.

Anyway, here is a fabrication where a comedy legend tells me I am great and then puts his damp mouth-barn around my squealing flesh-hog.


Monday night. There I am, waiting around backstage at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade theater in Chelsea for the Whiplash show to get started. Leather jacket. Blue jeans. Ray Bans hanging low. I’m twitchy — twitchy as the popular game streaming website twitch.tv. I’ve only been performing for around 3 years, and this improv mega-church is one of the hottest joints in town. This ain’t some mud farmer’s hovel like the UCB East. No, according to this story, I have never performed at such a venue. I am Billy Joel waiting at the table for his fourth bottle of wine before he hops back in his car. I am Marshall Mathers sipping on his fourth bottle of vodka before he hops back in his car. I am God.. .hopping back in his equivalent of a car.

Lost in a flask of absinthe, I spin around too quick when The Host taps me on the shoulder. For the sake of anonymity, I won’t use her name here. With the depravity of the story to follow, I would not want to drag anyone through the mud. Also, and I cannot stress this enough, none of this happened.

“Hey Alex, there’s uhhh last second change in the lineup,” she pines. “Someone is dropping in and you’re going to follow him.”

“Better be Jesus Christ, himself,” I growl, fictionally.

“Well, no, but actually somebody dropped in and–”

That’s when I see modern entertainment savant Bill Burr rounding the corner of the green room. He is coincidentally also wearing a leather jacket, blue jeans, and Ray Bans.

“Bill Fucking Burr,” I hiss.

The Host can tell from my sunday school verbiage that I’ve gotten to the bottom of the situation. “Yes, it’s modern entertainment savant Bill Burr. He has to go scream at some trans kids outside soon so we’re gonna put him on first and then you can do 40. Does that work?”

Another swig of my flask lets The Host know it sure as hell doesn’t. The gesture is lost on the millennial, already sucked into her phone as she gets ready to start the show.

By the way, I should have mentioned in this story I am a 52 year old navy SEAL. So I do not like millennials and my hands are weapons. Hooyah.

Tonight’s crowd is weird from the start. A veritable army of feelings warriors, mean lit professors, and elderly spoon nuns packs out every seat in the house. The Host tries her best to get them laughing with some observational takes on myspace.com. Each one of the creatures responds by spitting derision back in her eye from the safety of their own individual palaces of silence. A lone sympathizer responds to a punch-line by politely clearing their throat. Realizing this is the best she’s likely to do, The Host starts listing credits as everyone claps. The animal is hungry and ready to eat. And now it’s Bill’s turn to work.

The spectacle that follows is nothing short of theater mastery. Fifteen seconds is how long it takes for the man to transform the room to pudding. He’s barely uttered three sentences before a woman in the front row guffaws so hard she throws up guac onto the stage. He’s doing whacky faces. He’s moving his hands to mime bringing the hemipenis of a snake to climax. He’s doing impressions of everyone’s race as a milkman. He’s impersonating beloved American president William Henry Harrison.

Understandably, I’m starting to feel a twinge intimidated that I will be following this act. Just from the sheer number of vomiting audience members (one), this set looks like a tough peak to top. At this time I could never imagine the peak of sexual pleasure I will be topping later, with the same man using his legendary physicality for the task of reaping sperms.

Twenty minutes passes like so much sand through a shattered hourglass and all of the laughs have been siphoned out for Bill Burr. He pinwheels his arms as he moves through his big closer.

“You’re a faggot! And you’re a faggot! And you’re a faggot! And you’re a faggot!”

A roar fills the room of a crowd watching a gladiator carve the liver from a lion. You can hear it outside. In the back, I grab the beer bottle from a man overcome with joy and smash it against a wall. The crowd reaction completely drowns out any sound from the glass. The Host points to me for a reminder I’m up next as Bill takes a bow.

We can mostly gloss over the next part. It is a steeply embarrassing fictional set for me, and I wish it had gone another way. I get a few chuckles in with my topical material. The older stuff doesn’t do so well. I mean, this is a crowd that just watched a bald man “milk” a snake using only the power of the human imagination. Not to mention I’m really stretching for time to do 40. I actually spend a good 12 asking a college girl what the weather is outside and then pretending like I can’t hear her and going “did you say rain? What? What is the weather? What?” Long story short, I pale in comparison to Bill. I don’t call anyone a slur, and a guy in the third row actually pulls out a laptop and does some copy editing while I’m on stage, which, as a gesture, can be very hurtful to a performer.

As the crowd is filing out, all I can do is collapse against the back row and sob deeply. The sadness crawls like a wound from my chest to my throat. It sounds like I’m hiding a bird in my shirt. TV’s Raven Simone is there (wow!) and checks to see if there actually is a bird in my shirt, so I spin around suddenly while screaming and smash a second bottle.

“That’s no Raven,” she gasps.

I scream. She screams. We scream together in various pitches and volumes until she decides to attend to business elsewhere in the city.

Now I’m the only one left in the UCB Chelsea. The crowd is gone. The house staff has been chased away. The Host threw her keys at me and turned the lights off. The absinthe has exited my body through the eyes. I am in the dark, alone to dive the sea of entertainment failure: the most perilous journey known to man.

That’s when I feel a brush against my leg.

A rat! I kick out my foot and the trash beast flies into the air, landing drunkenly and skittering into a vent. I can’t believe the Upright Citizens Brigade theater in Chelsea is infested with rats. This is one of the premier comedy venues in America. To think that they have rats crawling around the place mere minutes after the lights turn off is unbelievable. Not to mention a public health issue for thousands of people every week. It’s especially ridiculous, because this place has money coming in hand over fist. And no food to attract rats. There’s really no excuse for them to have any kind of pest problem. How many spiritually barren finance bros give these people bags of gold every month for classes specifically to take care of things like getting rid of rats? And in 2017? This is a pivotal point in human history where the accelerations of climate change and antibacterial resistance are coming to challenge an existential threat to the human species. What an incredible display of non-care. Absolutely incredible. Rats. Is no one going to call the city about this?

In the sudden tussle with the rat, I realize I’ve dropped the keys. I fumble to find them like a blind beggar atop the cobblestones of London in 1804 for at least another 45 minutes.

The streets are completely clear by the time I step back into the cold. There is only one figure left around. Contemporary performance genius Bill Burr. The Bald Bastard. The Man Who Made Philly Cry. He’s not smoking a cigarette, or playing with his phone. He’s just staring and waiting alone in the dark and the cold.

I hide my head in shame and pull on the shutter for the club. It is past my bedtime now, and I need to be home before morning if I want to wake up early and end my life with a blunt instrument.

As I adjust the lock around the gate with my numb paws, a warm hand reaches around my fingers and helps me close the latch. Bill Burr is less than a foot away, staring into the back of my head unblinking.

“Ya gotta lock the gate tight, ya gangly retard.”

A laugh is pulled from my lips. Damn him to hell, he can always make me laugh.

“Ya did really good tonight, asshole,” he still hasn’t blinked, “I think you’re an inspiration.”

I step back with an actor’s gait. “Thank you Mr. Burr, but I don’t think the fine people of New York tonight would agree.”

“Listen, they’re a bunch of fags. I’ve been following your great twitter account @PtakJokes. You’ve got some really great stuff on there. Normally I don’t do much on social media, but you’ve got some really great stuff.”

“You can’t think that. You’re one of the greatest of all time,” I protest.

“But I do. I think you’re criminally under followed on social media and that’s me saying that — the real Bill Burr.”

Naturally, this is all too much. Wet warmth greets my cheek as tears begin to well up again. It’s too warm, even. I open my eyes and realize the moisture isn’t from my tears, but from Bill’s tongue. Its alien tendrils probing my face in small circles like he is Jabba The Hutt and I one of his foreign concubines. His gaping maw emits the noise of a ravenous bear. From up close I cannot only feel, but I can smell his desire. His is a lust that takes on sound and shape and surrounds the human body like a shell casing, eclipsing all notion of an outside world.

The details of our love are not important. The most important thing to understand is that nothing in this story ever came even close to happening, and that I made it all up right now. Just on the spot. Like this isn’t even a 3rd draft. Like if you look back through it, I bet a bunch of the details don’t even line up. I’ve never seen Bill Burr outside of a screen and I’ve never heard anything to make me believe that he is interested in men, or that he pleasures them asexually to make them feel better after a weird show with his mouth.

Also understand that your man splooged gobstoppers.

The. End.


This article was written by Alex Ptak, a NYC comedian and co-host of the political comedy podcast Left Jest. Alex also wrote a newspaper called The Terrible Tribune and hosts a monthly show, Industry Night, at The Village Lantern. You can find more of Alex on Twitter @PtakJokes and his personal website alexptak.com.

The featured image is original art from NYC comedian and animator Irving George. You can find more of Irving’s work on Twitter @irvillainy, Instagram @irvillainy, and his website irvillainy.tumblr.com.

If you liked this post, please like and share below! You can also follow the blog through Twitter, Facebook, or by joining the mailing list.

The post a made up story about the time Bill Burr said i was an inspiration and then did completely consensual submissive mouth sex to me – Alex Ptak appeared first on a comedian's notebook.

]]>
http://acomediansnotebook.com/2017/02/bill-burr-inspiration-completely-consensual-mouth-sex/feed/ 0 1905
how to network in comedy from a real pro – Alex Ptak http://acomediansnotebook.com/2017/02/network-comedy-real-pro-alex-ptak/ http://acomediansnotebook.com/2017/02/network-comedy-real-pro-alex-ptak/#respond Tue, 07 Feb 2017 14:53:38 +0000 http://acomediansnotebook.com/?p=1896 Illustration by Rachel Lenihan Alex Ptak is a top talent man for KRB Talent Empire. He has done many big deals with top comedy talents like Geraldo Rivera and the Rivera Family Band. He is also currently represented by ACA as a Networking Star. Before leaving to work as talent man at KRB, Alex worked … Continue reading "how to network in comedy from a real pro – Alex Ptak"

The post how to network in comedy from a real pro – Alex Ptak appeared first on a comedian's notebook.

]]>
Illustration by Rachel Lenihan

Alex Ptak is a top talent man for KRB Talent Empire. He has done many big deals with top comedy talents like Geraldo Rivera and the Rivera Family Band. He is also currently represented by ACA as a Networking Star.

Before leaving to work as talent man at KRB, Alex worked on a steam boat where he quickly rose to the top by networking. After many years of hard work on the poop deck, Alex became a famous stand up comedian in only 3 weeks. He is now ready to pass his show business lessons on to you.

So, you want to be a comic, eh? Well you better take a squat, sailor, because you’re going to need some well rested sea legs if you want to run this race.

Everybody knows there’s only one way to make it to the corner office in the business of laughs and it sure as hell ain’t performing for free like a landlubber. You gotta network your butt off, and then put your butt back on your butt socket and network some more until your butt falls off again.

Now I know to some of you autists, the idea of talking to actual people might be foreign as a long sail to the South China Sea. Luckily, I’ve broken it down here in 7 simple steps.

Tell Everyone You Are A Comedian

How for the love of Christ are you going to get anywhere if no one knows you’re a comic? Jesus. The folks who run the Chuckle Barge aren’t putting astronomers up on the late night show to discuss Polaris, or Orion’s Belt, or some such. They’re only looking for STAND UP COMEDIANS.

Everywhere you go, bring your business card with the little picture of you and your little microphone and throw it at every Tom and Mary around. They’re not all going to take it well. That’s fine! Your friend’s roommate’s sister doesn’t get you and frankly she’s probably a mutinous dog.

Be At The Places You Want To Work

You want to board the success steamer and get late night spots at the Chuckle Barge? Be at the Chuckle Barge. All the time. Everybody has friends who don’t like to buy 10 dollar beers in the waste land of upper Manhattan. They are snakes in man clothes and you need to cut them out of your life.

Being at the place of opportunity provides access to all of the opportunity that flows forth from the sea of opportunity. Meet the other comics. Meet the staff. Casually lean on things. Get a catch phrase, everybody knows and loves, like “ahoy, mate!” Now you’re beginning to sound like a comic. Nice work!

Lock Down Steve

This is most important step. Steve is the only entrance into the inner circle at the Chuckle Barge. Everybody’s gonna be working Diana because she’s the one who books the shows. Screw that noise! Steve is the gate and the key. Diana is the gargoyle. This metaphor is getting wordy here but frankly I do not care for her very much. Go start talking to Steve. Tell him you want to do spots.

Pick Up Steve’s Kids From His Ex-Wife On Thursdays

Steve’s got your business card. You’re both friends on social media. You’ve listened to him yammer on over the course of three nights. You’ve deleted all other contacts in your phone in front of him. Now it’s time to start building some trust.

Heck, the guy is burning both ends of the candle between two jobs and his exotic pottery collection. Why not do him a favor and pick up the girls from Katie’s house? You know Steve doesn’t get along with her new husband, and it would really free up his schedule to spend more time at the pottery store.

Cancel your plans to hit the open mic. Picking up the kids is your next step to success in show biz. Don’t tell Steve. Just start doing it.

Kill For Steve

Now you’re really getting sick of that monkey faced fuck over at Katie’s. Every time you come by (sure it’s only been once so far) Superman over here has to know “who are you?…why are you taking my kids?” It’d be a lot easier if he was out of the picture. I mean did you spend all that time learning how to knife fight on a steam boat to come to the city and get nagged to death?

Follow him to work. See that something happens in the train station. Steve’s gonna love it. Plus, this is going to be a great source of material later if you spin it right!

Let What Happens, Happens

As soon as possible, you’re going to want to tell Steve what you did after the Barge is closed. He’s going to act upset at first. Maybe even freak out a little. This is a lot to take in at once and absolutely natural. The guy did theater in high school, remember? He could have been the next DeNiro.

Hold him close for a second with your thick, tattooed arms. Let him cry it out. No problem. WHEN HE STARTS TO KISS YOU A LITTLE BIT, YOU GO WITH IT. This part is crucial and that is why I have put it in capital letters for extra emphasis.

It’s going to feel wrong but also maybe it is the only thing that’s right. This is a fine time to use your tongue techniques from the steam boat.

Work Late Nights At The Chuckle Barge

So Steve’s going to stop talking to you after this, most likely, but you’re going to start getting those spots you kept talking about. He’s a real classic James Dean type and maybe he doesn’t want to think about the greatest night in either of your lives, because it challenges his whole identity. Whatever.

One week of late night. Dice drops in. He takes you on tour. You’re a famous stand up comedian. Career: land ho!

This plan worked for me and I am convinced it is the only way to work in comedy. If you go through with this plan, please do not change any steps, you will only fuck yourself up like an idiot. God bless.


This article was written by Alex Ptak, a NYC comedian and co-host of the political comedy podcast Left Jest. Alex also wrote a newspaper called The Terrible Tribune and hosts a monthly show, Industry Night, at The Village Lantern. You can find more of Alex on Twitter @PtakJokes and his personal website alexptak.com.

The featured image is original art from NYC comedian Rachel Lenihan. You can find more of Rachel’s work and material on Twitter @RachelMLenihan and Instagram @r_lenihan.

If you liked this post, please like and share below! You can also follow the blog through Twitter, Facebook, or by joining the mailing list.

The post how to network in comedy from a real pro – Alex Ptak appeared first on a comedian's notebook.

]]>
http://acomediansnotebook.com/2017/02/network-comedy-real-pro-alex-ptak/feed/ 0 1896