a priori/a posteriori

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Over-thinking Shit in New York

As I sit at home on this Thursday night, having chosen not to go out to any shows tonight, I figure I might as well write out some of my thoughts about this ongoing New York experiment of ours.

Here's how living in New York can mess with you:

You don't realize it until you're here, but everything in New York makes it feel like the stakes have been raised. If I took a night off back in Austin or DC, all I was missing was an open-mic. Maybe you miss a good talk with Herbie Gill, or a funny story about Jake Flores, but it was nothing that wouldn't be there the next night, too.

In New York, it feels like every night you take off, the next day you're two more weeks behind. You skip one night, and you missed Ted Alexandro showing up and doing a set at the show you were gonna do. Rory Scovel and Kurt Braunohler showed up and did time. "I could have networked with them!" "They could have seen me perform and I could have gotten in with them!"

Every night I miss here feels like a lost opportunity. An opportunity I'll never get again.

Everything that happens in New York now was happening back when I was down in Austin, of course. But there, it didn't feel like I was missing it, because I couldn't have been there. So there's no guilt. But now that I'm here, everything I miss is something that I could have seen. Paradoxically, making the move to New York so that I can do more with my stand-up career often makes me feel like I'm doing 100 times less. So it's just really, really easy to get discouraged when you live here. You could be doing comedy-related stuff 24/7 up here, and you still feel like you're failing.

So at some point, I just kind of have to make peace with the idea of living my own life here. I can't live a hundred lives, so there's going to be a lot that I never get to do up here. I'm going to miss out on a lot of amazing stuff. I'm going to be on that "better" show the night Lorne Michaels comes to an open-mic looking for talent, I'm going to be on the road the night CK randomly stops by The Creek and the Cave, I'm going to stay in with my girl the night before Mike DeStefano dies...

You can lose your mind thinking about everything you didn't do that you could
have. But at some point, that becomes counter-productive, and you start not doing stuff because you're too busy feeling shitty for stuff you didn't do before.

In that way, I could feel bad for getting up seven times in about four months, from Thanksgiving until March. But there's no point. I had some great sets while I was in Austin for SXSW the past two weeks, I'm madly in love with what I'm doing onstage right now, and the past is the past no matter what.

So if you ever move up to New York, you'll probably have a phase where you panic because it feels like you're missing so much. You are, but that's fine. You can't do everything you're jealous of other people for doing. Deal with it, and find your own life up here. And if you're not up here yet, don't be jealous of me or anyone else here. Find your own life, and live that one.

There are people reading this that think they're jealous of my comedy career. I'm sitting in my apartment tonight, drinking a glass of juice. I have no shows tonight. If you're jealous of me, you're jealous of how at peace I am with my life, not with anything relating to stand-up. Don't confuse the two and chase the latter. It's the former that matters.

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