Success in comedy is about 10% skill, 90% luck. There’s a lot of great comedians out there, who have the capacity to be amazing, but they never get the lucky breaks that water those seeds, and as a result they fizzle out, and remain unknown forever. A tragedy, but such is the game.
Some people are just lucky in general, the breaks come faster. It’s been pretty clear since Day 1 that luck is not my thing. I wouldn’t say I’m unlucky, as I know I have a lot of great things going for me. But things don’t come easy. I know part of it’s because I don’t hang out, or schmooze. But I don’t like doing that stuff, and I would rather earn my keep off of merit alone, than just having sucked off the right comedian or industry person.
That said, every now and then something good will just fall into my lap. And Day 275 was no exception. I’m in New York for a 2 week trip for the Arab American Comedy Festival, but I came early for NBC Standup for Diversity, from which I was rejected. I had over a week to kill now before the fest, and I’m wondering what open mics I’ll do. I go on Badslava.com, a universal open mic site. I look up NY mics and notice a brand new post at the bottom from the Comedy Cellar, the most prestigious club in New York, and possibly the country, maybe even the world. They just so happen to be reinstating their late night program, where they put up comedians who aren’t passed there, though they have to be good, and cleared first by them. I submit a tape to comedian Rick Crom, who hosts it, and he gets back to me right away saying he likes my stuff, and immediately gives me, not one, but two dates at the Comedy Cellar. I think I was lucky that it was him who put it together and not some other kind of gatekeeper.
I boast about my booking on Facebook, and get praise and a lot of ‘how the f*@k did you get on at the cellar?’ from my New York comic homies. The shows are at midnight, so they recycle the audience from the 10 pm show. The first night the crowd is sparse and rough, and I go up and do okay, but there’s a loud heckler in the front. The second night I go back and it’s the most amazing midnight crowd ever. Everyone kills it, and I have one of the funnest sets I’ve had in New York. The place is really cool and deserves the hype. Comedy is always better when it’s underground. Closer to hell, where it’s from.