How did you learn to get booked and network with other comedians?
I started in the “alt scene” so I was doing free shows just to get a drink ticket. I was trying to kill every show, trying to meet everyone who booked it, and be nice to people. Niceness is key; there’s not enough nice comics. I think if people are comfortable around you they’ll book you because they like being around you. So I was kind of going off that. And I think people saw I was working hard, and I never said no to any gig. I’d do any gig – “Hey we got a gig in the Bronx for no money” and I would’ve been like “Oh, I’ll be there!” I think that helps. I think my desperation showed. After a gig I’d email the guy and say “Thanks for having me, I’d love to do it again, really appreciate it” – and then yeah, I think it grew from there. I’d meet your Comedy Central lady or I’d meet your manager guy and be like “Is this my break? Is this it?” like a real loser, like a wide-eyed idiot.
And another thing – meet every single comic. When you go to these open mics and you go “Ooh, that guy sucks,” just go meet him! Don’t push everyone away, don’t be like “I’m the man, I’m gonna fuckin’ take over this town.” You’ve got to be nice to everybody. They’re just as eager as you and you’ve got to be the bigger man and just go “Hey, good set! I’m Mark! I like that one joke you had.” Because they’re all scared, and you’re scared, so if you just step up and say hi they’ll be like “Oh thank God, someone’s talking to me.” Don’t be the scared guy. I mean you can be the scared guy, but realize they’re the scared guy too. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met at an open mic my first year when I didn’t know what the C train was, and then I see them five years later and they’re like “Hey, you were that guy, do you want to do my show?” and you’re like “I’d love to do your show!” Just always be nice.
This is probably especially true in local scenes where there’s hardly anyone who draws or kills hard enough that someone could be a jerk and a booker would still think, “I’ve GOTTA have that person on my show.” If I walked around being rude to people in Atlanta, it’d be easy to find a comic who’s just as funny as me but less difficult to have around.
The other night I was sitting and watching television with a good friend of mine. He works as a paramedic and couldn’t give two shits about the entertainment industry. We were watching a rerun of The Simpsons, specifically, the one where Sideshow Bob tries to kill Bart and destroy…
This was maybe the biggest revelation at my first TV writing job, summarized very well by my boss at that job! Please bear this in mind when my episode of Surviving Jack airs this spring and there aren’t as many fart jokes as you were expecting.
I only know that because she messaged me a picture of the five Christmas tree ornaments my grandmother bought her while we were together, so she must have been pulling decorations out of the attic and ran into them.
My grandmother, or “Grammy,” is a big QVC/Home Shopping Network fan, and every year she’d get us each an Auburn University-themed Christmas tree ornament, usually consisting of Santa in or on an orange and blue mode of transportation (plane, sled, rocking horse), with “Auburn University” written on the side and a bag of presents peeking out from somewhere.
In the picture she sent me, there were five ornaments on the coffee table, acting as an odd, unintentional time piece.
Five ornaments, five Christmases, five years.
When I got the ornament picture, I let myself wonder for a moment, how different would our lives be if this picture held a different number of these blown-glass cheer-givers? What if there were more? What if there were fewer? Is there a Christmas shopper more consistent than Grammy?
But I remembered what was great about being with her much more clearly than what was difficult, so five was probably perfect.
This Tuesday November 19th! It’s time for Delivery Room. 13 comedians, each performing 5 minutes of brand new, never before heard, jokes. We’ll have free cookies at the door, reasonably priced drinks, and maybe a special guest or two.
This month we have a crazy great lineup, complete with an…
This show has been invaluable to me while I’m in a phase where I underestimate when a joke is worth writing, even knowing that they’re all worth writing, but you get it, shut up.
My grandmother bought a bunch of dead currency. Iraqi dinar. When I heard about it, when she told me she’d bought a significant amount as a gift for me and a few other relatives, I was both grateful and infuriated. I read something a second ago that woke up this tricking old people anger.
It’s a weird party-line scam. You listen in and can contribute to a call and people talk about the fluctuating stability of a dead currency, and how just the other week, there was a run on the banks for it, and they make jokes, and things are heating up or cooling down in the Middle East, and most banks don’t want to redeem it for cash, because, well, they like how it is, but if you know just the right teller who’ll know what you’re talking about, they’ll hook you up with money, if, for whatever horrible reason, you decide you want out of the dinar game, but e-mail us and we’ll get you that sweet, sweet Iraqi dinar.
I think she just enjoyed the folksy phone calls. We should call her more.
Had a great weekend doing my first shows as a feature act in Williamsburg, Virginia. Last night’s show was rough, but tonight’s show was fun all the way through. I got to bring my dad along. He was standing next to me after tonight’s show, when I was asked to submit dates I could return to this club next year, so that was validating. Took that dude to Colonial Williamsburg for the first time on the back of a bunch of jokes. That’s crazy. I’m going to pass out now. Joe Zimmerman’s great.