I was at a small comedy show recently where a panel of eight or so comedians discussed who they thought would be on the “Mount Rushmore of Comedy.” I listened as all the comics listed their top four comics of all time and only one woman, Maria Bamford, was listed. And she was picked by the host, who went last, who might have thought “Hey, maybe I should throw a woman in there.” (and I only say that because everyone vehemently disagreed with Bamford’s right to be on the Mountain) That’s 8×4=24+ “best comedians of all time” listed and only one female comic came up. Isn’t that weird?
As a lot of conversations among comedians start, I was on the train with my friend Mark. I asked him if he’d seen Master of None (MoN) on Netflix yet. He said, “Yeah! I thought it was awful – I couldn’t watch past the first episode.” And of course I was like, “What?! That’s crazy! I think it’s awesome!”
I lied: his real name isn’t Mark. Way to lose the reader’s trust 15 seconds in.
Pretty much everybody I know who knows that I do stand up comedy has at one point said something to me like:
“Wow, wouldn’t it be something if I saw you on SNL one day?!”
Or, “Maybe if you work hard enough, you could be on SNL! Wouldn’t that be cool?!”
Or, “Hey buddy! You on SNL yet?! Ha!”
And I’m like, “Haha! Yeah! Whatever!”
Because everyone outside of the comedy world thinks that SNL is The Pinnacle of All Comedy. Which is totally fine to think; don’t get me wrong, I think SNL is fantastic! But it’s a very specific style of humor with a very specific format. And I don’t think that either the style or format is really right for me.
What I’m thinking in my head when somebody says one of those things to me is: “This person clearly doesn’t understand my comedic sensibility! Even if Lorne Michaels begged me to be on the show…I’d have to think twice about it!”
What I’m saying is that SNL probably wouldn’t ever want me anyways. It’s just not the gig for me. And that’s fine; I’d want to do other styles and formats of comedy that I would enjoy more anyways.
But, if I’m never going to be on SNL, I realized that I’m guaranteed to be a failure in the eyes of pretty much everyone that I know. Which is totally refreshing, and 100% takes the pressure off. I can do whatever I want! It’s SNL or bust. And I am choosing bust.
It’s like if you were to go into a test knowing that you weren’t even going to answer any of the questions. And then after you fail the test, your teacher and your parents and the school are all like, “Why’d you fail the test, Stu? You’re not very smart.”
And you’re like, “Trust me: I’m smart! The test is stupid.”
The featured image is a picture of the Freedom Tower taken from 14th Street and Avenue of the Americas, right down the street from Bunga’s Den. It’s nowhere near 30 Rock, but it’s still cool. If you liked this post, please like and share below! You can also follow the blog through Twitter, Facebook, or by joining my mailing list.
Open mic comics are on the go. They don’t have money. Or time. Here are some cheats.
So, I decided to ask a bunch of people what they thought of me. Why? Well, It’s a really awkward question for people to answer and it’s fun to watch people deal with that. And I thought it could be funny. And I’m pretty much the worst at describing anything, especially myself. Why not let the masses do it for me?
Storytelling has been around forever. It might be the oldest source of entertainment. Besides…rocks? And like comedy, it takes a lot of experience to be really, really good at.
All over my neighborhood there are these graffiti tags that say “Stu.” Which on one hand makes me wanna be like,”Woah – I did not do that, officer!”
But on the other hand it makes me feel like I own Long Island City, which is pretty cool. I don’t mind owning all of the buildings and streets and cars that go by – I relish the power. People walk down the streets because I allow them to, not because they chose to do so. I let them take the train because I’m a good guy. I own that shit, but I’m humble about it. People bow down to me, but I’m cool about it. One time a man in a raggedy coat knelt down in the trash outside my apartment and I was like, “Oh no it’s totally fine, don’t worry about it.”
But a few weeks ago I noticed a new tag that as put up right next to one of mine. One that says “Randy.” And all of a sudden, more and more “Randy’s” are showing up all over Long Island City. Which makes me feel like I should be watching out for a guy named Randy. Who also lives in Long Island City. Because I feel like one day well just run into each other on the street and I’ll be like, “ARE YOU RANDY?!”
And he’ll be like, “YEAH!! ARE YOU STU?!”
And I’ll be like, “YEAH!!”
And then he’ll be like, “I’m a comic and my graffiti joke is better than yours! You didn’t even consider it from my perspective. Think of how much better the joke would be if you knew that we were both comics. You could say things like, ‘Mannnn, a comic will do anything for some free publicity!’ or ‘We should have been writing our jokes and twitter handles on the wall.'”
And I’ll be like, “Shit. You’re right. I am a pretender to this throne. Long Island City is yours.”
And he’ll be like “Nah dude, whatever.” Cuz we’re just regular dudes, neither of whom actually put up those tags.
I wish I also had a picture of a Randy tag.
The featured image was taken literally right outside my apartment. If you liked this post, please like and share below! You can also follow the blog through Twitter, Facebook, or by joining my mailing list.
I had an awesome childhood, I’ve been told. I don’t really remember any of it. The only thing that I remember about my childhood is that I really like to dig holes. I would grab a shovel, go outside, and dig holes in my backyard all day while my brother and sister sat inside reading and furthering their education. My mom would try to get me to read books all the time. She’d be like, “Stu, don’t you want to read a book like your brother and sister?” And I’d be like, “No. I’m busy can’t you see I gotta go dig this hole!” She’d be like, “Why? What are you gonna put in it?” And I’d be like, “I donno, books? That’s not the point!”
See, she didn’t understand me. I thought that digging holes was something that people just did. I grew up in Illinois where there are all these rock quarries all over the place and you’d drive by them on the highway all the time and there’d be these huge pits thousands of feet deep. And I never thought that anybody was digging them for any particular reason, I just thought they were better at it than I was. I was like, “These people are professionals. These people understand me.”
I was at a crowded open mic on a Friday night – the last one of the night that everyone who doesn’t have a show goes to. A friend I had made a few days earlier (say, Jess) made her way up to the stage and started her three-minutes set. It was early in the night and so the majority of the comics were in the room paying close attention. She told a couple of new jokes that didn’t go over so well, so she asked the audience of comics “why isn’t this funny?” It was a genuine question, although it was definitely rhetorical. She was just wondering aloud.
“You’re not being silly!” Someone shouted from the back of the room. Everyone looked back. It was another comic known to be brash at open mics, let’s call him Ryan.
I’ve been watching the show Mind of a Chef, a fantastic show on Netflix narrated and produced by Anthony Bourdain. It follows a series of chefs, each of whom get their own eight episodes focusing on a range of different topics and themes within the world of cooking. For example, “Noodle,” “Southerners,” “Roots,” and “Latitude” are some of the episode titles. The host of the show changes, giving each half of the season a different feel. However, the format of the show remains largely the same: the host meets up with different chefs, farmers, butchers, etc. and cooks delicious-looking dishes that, for whatever reason, the camera never shows being eaten.