Monday, April 12, 2010

The Year of Living Desperately.

Of all the sure-fire ways to get famous, I’ve discovered one that is surely the sure-firest. All you do is think of some routine, some anachronistic cultural ritual, some ridiculous pursuit, and do it every day for a preordained period of time, preferably a year. Then when you’re done write a book about it, or produce a documentary of it, or - to considerably lesser extent - blog about it, and wallah! You are now famous, or at the very least adorning advertisements on the subway.

That’s all you gotta do. It will literally work every time. It started with Morgan Spurlock, a Fu-Manchu-ed nobody who decided to film himself eating McDonalds every day and became famous while also losing the ability to bang his girlfriend. Mr. Spurlock and his “mission” became a national talking-point, spawned a TV show and even convinced McDonalds to change their dinner menu.

Super Size Me is hardly the only example of purposeful, documented excess. Journalist A. J. Jacobs practically lives his entire life this way. Among various other pursuits throughout his life, Jacobs spent in entire year following every rule of the Bible as literally and faithfully as possible, documenting it all in his 2007 memoir, The Year of Living Biblically. This includes such tasty tenants as stoning adulterers and sacrificing animals. The book was a bestseller, and has since been optioned by Brad Pitt’s movie company to become a feature film. There are plenty of crazed eccentrics who underwent such an ordeal and wrote about their experience. There’s Robyn Okrant’s Living Oprah: My One-Year Experiment to Walk the Walk of the Queen of Talk. (All those retched books!) There’s Ed Dobson’s The Year of Living Like Jesus (Little known Jesus-fact: He had terrible Athlete’s foot) and there’s Homer Glumplett’s The Year of Living Maury Povich-ly: One Man’s Attempt to Deny any Physical Resemblance to All His Kin. (Totally made up by me.)

Well, you know, yours truly isn’t above shamefully leeching on to any an all socio/pop phenomena for personal gain. So it is here I declare I will be going under a strenuous, completely illogical journey and then subsequently documenting it here and subsequently becoming famous and being asked on Oprah or at the they very least Craig Ferguson. The only problem is coming up with an interesting quest. This is where I will need your help, faithful, sexy readers.

I do have some ideas. I would like my quest to be distinctly New York, partly because I want to maintain the theme of this blog but primarily because I lack the funds to go anywhere else. And while the point of an undertaking of this sort is to be challenging, I can’t make mine excessively challenging because my garbage man by day/comedian by night dichotomy makes it hard to tackle any full-time commitment. And it’s not as if I can stop doing either of those. I’m also not eating meat, so A Year of Living Carnivorously is out. (Although for somebody else, a year of anti-vegetarianism – absolutely no non-animals – would be interesting. You heard it here first if this ever does happen. I’m contacting a lawyer.)

So here are three ideas I’ve come up with. My first inclination was A Year of Living Bad Slava, in which I would try to go to every single open mic listed on Bad New York City’s finest open mic list (currently about 80 mics listed in New York City alone) and writing about each of them. Logistically this wouldn’t be impossible. I get out of work too late for the 4pm mics, but I could focus on getting to all the late mics and then if I’m really chugging along, I can take a few afternoons off to finish the list. Seems like a noble pursuit, but something tells me many comics have already done this, without giving it a second thought.

My second idea was a Year of Living Transit-ly, in which I attempt to ride every single public transit line in New York City. Every subway, every bus, every MetroNorth Train, every LIRR, every PATH train and on and on. I could handle this on weekends and it would almost certainly bankrupt me. But my personal finances are in such disarray that it really wouldn’t make any differences. I don’t particularly like this plan because even if I did it, it wouldn’t be much of an accomplishment. What would even write about? The conditions of the MetroNorth bathroom? No, this one is stupid.

My final idea was a Year of Living Pamphlet-ly, in which I respond to and comply with every pamphlet, brochure, and coupon handed to me on the streets of Manhattan. Every hair-braiding, pizza shop, or night club pamphlet I come in contact with, I have to accept and dutifully follow. This one is, in my opinion, the best idea I could come up with, as it would no doubt lead me to hilarious and interesting situations, but it is by far the biggest commitment.

Clearly I need your help. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. I recently asked my good friend Scoots, and he was about as helpful as a blind man in an Easter Egg hunt. So anything would be better then Scoots. Let me know any way you like. I would appreciate it very much. Hell, I always do, every day of the year.


  1. How about "My Year on Public Benefits: Making a Little Go a Long Way" Then you can document how you cook dinner for Colin and me every night with food you bought with food stamps.

  2. Your last idea has already been made into a movie called "Yes Man"..


    As an actors i've always wanted to do try this, but as a stand -up it might work. " A Year of Letters"; fine the bigest stand-up agent in the city and write him/her a letter every single day, with a new joke in each letter and also asking for a in-person meeting.
    I think it's its cool and hard and do-able!

  3. This reminded me of the Little Brown Dress ( She wore the same dress every day for a year.

  4. what if you acted homeless for a year? I know it seems kinda of rough, but maybe once a weekend you can film yourself spending a full 24 hours outside, regardless of weather. you can also show how your dreams of being a comic in city that exploits its population so brutally usually leads to people having to live on the streets - or at least close to it. then you can document the hell the real that homeless people have to live everyday. so, not only are you fulfilling your year obligations, but it becomes a window into a life that people often neglect and make fun of and at the same time promotes your comedy career. You can have rules like spend at least one day in every borough, meet other homeless people along the way, make light of your situation and try to integrate one of your weekends into your set. it's also shows a deep dichotomy of the serious and sadness of living on the streets while showcasing laughter and humor with your life as a comedian. i dunno, just a thought. i have a feeling Nick is gonna shoot this down in a second calling me gay or something.

  5. a year of living the gay lifestyle, and all the aids jokes one could make

    a year of twittering every 3 min, oh wait, some have already been doing this since the beginning of twitter.

    a year of NOT using recent technology(internet/cell/gps/google/maps). called "land before time". Must use a rotary phone. MS Word, and this blog still ok.

    a year of not beating it.

    a year of doing exactly what your zodiac says