We’ve kind of fallen off the wagon a little bit here at The Hajj. I’m trying to decide how I feel about that.
Apparently pretty happy, judging by the photo I just took of myself, as I write this. Let’s try to figure out why.
Most of my posts on here have been a commentary on the challenges of moving to New York, both personally and professionally, and attempting to break into the comedy scene here.
Well, the inactivity of the past few weeks is probably as good a lesson as any blog I could have posted. It’s hard to keep up with anything in life. It’s hard to not have other stuff happen that distracts you from a project, or a goal, or a career pursuit, or whatever.
For me, I spent 4 days last week back home in Pittsburgh, which was my first visit home since I moved here in January. When I got back last Tuesday, I immediately threw all my energy and focus into the fundraiser comedy show that happened this past Friday. It was a stand-up show that I put on in order to raise money for Resolve, the non-profit that my partner (romantic, not comedic - so Vijaya, not Lucas) runs here in New York, and that I am closely involved with.
That, coupled with trying to start a makeshift fantasy football blog, and getting sucked into that world, has taken up a lot of time the past few weeks. And I have no way of guaranteeing that I’ll jump back into this blog full-bore (pun intended).
I hope I get back to updating it more frequently. But life happens so damn fast. Sometimes before you even realize it, you’ve made your list of priorities in life. I’ve wanted to see my family for months. The only chance I had to squeeze it in was last week, and so I didn’t get onstage for 5 nights in a row. Then I went crazy putting together a fundraiser, and that cost me a few days of writing and a few nights of shows.
And though I haven’t made much mention of it in this blog, a huge part of the New York experience is financial. Maybe I’ll write a long, wordy blog about that someday. Just not today. But I don’t want to make it seem like that’s not something that hangs over your head constantly while you’re here. As it does everywhere else, of course. There’s no getting away from money, unless you go off the grid. And it’s tough to make a name for yourself in the comedy game when you’re living in a shack in the foothills of South Dakota.
So money is a priority, too. And for me, so is family. And so is Resolve. And so is writing out my thoughts, and trying to stay sane, and trying to make sense of life.
That’s not to say that I can’t pursue comedy just because I have other priorities on my list. They can each be my top priority, at different times and in different contexts. But they are all there. They are all things I think about, and that I am not willing to give up altogether.
Part of doing stand-up comedy is deciding how much of your life you’re going to give to it. It’s something worth thinking about, both before you make a move to New York, and once you’re up here. The answer is ever-changing. If I had to guess, I bet there will be months at a time, maybe a year or two at a time, in the future, when I fully devote myself to comedy, and I commit to making it my top priority. I’ve done so before, for 6 months to a year at a time.
But time goes by quick in life. So maybe I’m just lying to myself. Maybe the choices I’m making now are limiting the ceiling of how great a comic I can be. Or maybe being more well-rounded will make me a better artist than I could ever be if I only focus on the craft of stand-up, and not the substance of the message that it could potentially provide.
Or maybe I should just shut up and tell some dick jokes.
Hmm. Maybe. I doubt it, though. Maybe for other comics, that’s honestly what they should do. They should just be funny. And it’s not my job to judge whether or not that’s universally right. I’m not a comedy God, after all.
What I need to do is worry about what’s best for me. And for me, I think I need to keep trying to be honest with myself. And keep trying to be a well-rounded person, and to live my life as well as I can. And sometimes that will mean doing 20 sets a week. And sometimes it will mean writing 10 blogs a week.
And sometimes it will mean having to write one that tries to explain why I’ve blown this blog off for most of the past month.
That’s life, sometimes. I think I’m okay with that. Which is why I’m smiling as I write this. I’ll try to get three sets in tonight. Maybe three more tomorrow. Then Wednesday I’m on ‘Rubber Bullets’ - a great weekly show in Brooklyn, and by far the biggest show I’ve been invited on since I moved here. So I just need to keep working, and keep trying to make sense of myself.
Back to work.