Monday, May 10, 2010

The First Six Months (C-.)

After work a colleague and I wait for the subway home. He lives on 175th, mere three stops away. On my way to Crown Heights, I look forward to a 90-minute commute home. Every day.  As the A train approaches the Dykman St stop, barreling ahead so fast it looks like it hasn’t the slightest intention to stop, my friend turns to me and says, “every time the train goes by I wonder what it would be like to jump right in front of it,” and I nod in recognition, because I know what he means.  I’d say I even consider it ever so slightly, wondering what would happen to my body as it hit the scorching train; wondering if it would bounce around the track like a rampant flesh pinball, or if it would simply fall to the side and be dragged limp and lifeless, like the bodies of so many cell phone-retrieving idiots.

I’ve been in New York City six months now.

These are the thoughts that now inhabit my mind and I blame the Big Apple. When people ask how New York is going (as if I have some sort of influence over the city as a whole) I usually answer with this anecdote. If nothing else, it ensures they will stop asking.  Because when you’re not doing all that great, it kinda sucks to talk about it.   

(Let me explain however, that I harbor no actual suicidal fetishes, even ones so spectacular. I don’t actually want to jump in front of the train. In fact, as a staunch atheist, I am inclined to a pursuit of immortality. I would gladly drink deep from the fountain of youth, and in time would get over the inexorable deaths of my friends and family. I would regard their passing with a kind of reserved acceptance, similar to how I will feel when The Simpsons are finally canceled.  So please, no worrying.)

New York City-wise, and by extension life-wise, I’m doing super.  A+ across the board. (With the notable exception of my savings account, which is gone.)  Comedy-wise though, it’s been much rougher. I’m thinking a C-, and only because the professor rounded up from a D+ after I cried in her office. (Did that in college)   
The main problem I have is trying to quench that inner voice that keeps telling me I may have done a lot better for myself and my comedy career had I stayed in Boston.  I was making ground there, making a name for myself, and plenty of comics have made it via Boston. The voice says I gave up on Boston prematurely, that I completely blew it when I tried moving to New York.  I hate that fucking voice.  That asshole can suck it, because he always conveniently forgets that I lived in my mother’s basement and spent most of my time cleaning up the splattered excrement of mentally-challenged adults. Still, it’s tough thinking about how much better I was doing only this time last year.

I know there are comics out there who have been working the mic scene for years. They still pay 5 dollars at 5 in the afternoon, still drag their friends to bringers at 50 dollars a head in the hope a booker will see their set and offer them their chance, and they keep going, head down in the wind. It’s incredible. I am completely drained already, and I’m still watching the same basketball season that started when I lived in Massachusetts.  I cannot give up though, I have given up so much and spent - get ready for this - close to 7,000 dollars to live here 180 days, to call it quits now. So I won’t.  But I plan to bitch about it frequently and you, as the ever-faithful readers of this blog, will be the recipients of that largesse.

My entries in this blog have dwindled because my whole comedy-experience is slowing. I can’t bring myself to write a blog about another mic, or tell you about another show in which I did the same old jokes, or tried new jokes that didn’t work, or barked on a street corner for a show that was cancelled. What new is there to report?  How often do you want to hear about the unyielding embarrassment of leaving a show to blazing sunlight, or a paid open mic in which a third of the audience was asleep, or fooling around on their smart phones, or masturbating vigorously in a clown costume. (That last one seldom happens, but would be a welcome reprieve at this point.)

If I jumped in front of the A train? Now that would make a great blog. 

I can’t quit writing this blog however, for without anything but my shower curtain and my soon-to-be long-suffering girlfriend to bitch to, I will be dead, sanity speaking. I need this and I will carry on (apropos of the name I have just discovered), but I am going to have to find some creative ways to keep this whole thing palpable.  Maybe there is a break right around the corner.  You will be happy to know that Scoots and I are brewing, and I feel a long-dormant creative potential could soon be erupting. 

I must be honest; not all shows lately have been bad.   I will write about these shows, I promise. And like I said, life in New York City hasn’t been bad. Sometimes it’s great.  If this whole reason-I-moved-here-in-the-first-place thing was going alright, I would give the whole New York experience high marks. But as it is it’s a C-, holding on desperately to a cliff of average.

I hear the vindictive voices telling me I should have known. Not the voices of my parents of course, they are always supportive. (Please send checks made out to Gregory Quinn, Brooklyn, NY….)  But I hear those snide voices who knew better. They are completely right: I should have known this would be impossible.  But I would like them to hear me. I know how stupid I have been, but I have learned no lesson.

I’m not going anywhere. 


  1. I really enjoyed this entry. Lord knows I feel the same way often enough. I don't think there was ever an artist that sincerely believed that he or she was going to "make it." But we do it because it's in us. It's who we are, and we can't stop, for better or worse. I like to think better.

  2. I'm going through the exact same thing. Everyday I get up and I stare at that goddamn espresso machine and contemplate throwing it at the next person who orders a god damn caramel frappe. I like to think it's all part of this sick scheme. That we must suffer before we can truly prevail. Or maybe it's time to go back to living in my parents basement.