Q:I've been reading some of your posts and it confuses me that you decided to run a blog about getting on SNL without knowing anything about the hiring process? I also don't see why you moved to LA and have done minimal standup and no improv, when they barely ever hire from LA or standups, and hire almost exclusively from improv groups. I just wonder why it has been 4-ish years with such poor planning. Sorry, just being honest.
Good evening/early morning to you,
I will answer your message as honestly as you claimed to have asked it: I have no idea what the hell I’m doing.
But let me try to explain it to you like you do actually care why I’ve done things the way I have.
Imagine you are 21 or so in New Hampshire and are working 70 hours a week between two jobs. You sense that your life lacks direction so you think to yourself maybe that silly dream of being on SNL could be a goal instead. But you look around and improv options are limited and your schedule doesn’t really allow for classes anyway. Now you know improv is where you need to end up because what SNL fan doesn’t know that, right? But maybe you should try to do another type of comedy in the meantime. A type of comedy that would allow you to write and perform without having to pay for classes or have a team or troupe or rehearsal hours right away. Well lucky you, there is a supportive stand up scene in your home state. You can work a ton and pay off your college loans and save for an eventual move and tell jokes all in the comfort of the state you love. Let’s try that.
You know what, your IT job of 9 years is getting kind of stale. Maybe it’s time to make a change but where to go? UCB in NYC, Groundlings in LA or Second City in Chicago (for starters dude) and each contender has a stand up scene too? Well, great. Let’s decide where to go.
NYC is good but maybe too close to home. You’re looking for an adventure and maybe further could be cool and new and scary and awesome. Harder go run home if you’re further away.
Maybe you should take a trip to Chicago? See a few shows, check out the city, try to picture yourself living there. Okay so put in the time off request at both jobs, book your ticket and hostel and get ready for a fun recon trip by yourself because it’ll be great. After four days in Illinois you head home and on Monday morning you look around your cubicle and realize that you need to make a decision and you need to make it now. Was Chicago for you? No, not yet anyway.
You know what, those two sisters you have in California who love and support you said you could live with them for a few months for free while you figure things out. Since you’d be moving 3,000 miles from home maybe it would be nice to have a safety net. Guess what! Two of your best friends also live in Los Angeles. Man, maybe you could try perfect weather and a new coast for a while. Maybe it will only be for a year or two, but who knows?! You’re young and excited and not tied down to anything. You can pick up and go a few times, freedom is exciting stuff.
You made the call. Better put in that six month notice at the company you’ve held a full time position at for the past five and a half years. Okay, now that they know you’re leaving you better set some fiscal goals for savings and loan repayment. Can you work more than 70 hours a week? Well you better hop to it! You have six months to get your finances in ship shape since having to move back home because of money would be kind of stupid.
Down to five months until the move. Maybe it would be a good idea to send out some of your resumes and try to find a job for when you arrive in LA? Good thinking. Go ahead and schedule those phone interviews. Better plan a trip to the Greater Los Angeles Area to do some face to face interviews as follow ups to those phone interviews you had.
Request time off from both jobs, book your flight, make plans to explore LA since you’ll be calling it home for a while.
Down to two months before the big cross-country-flip-your-life-upside-down-adventure move. You take a trip out west and have some job interviews that go well! Check out a show or two while in town just because but then it’s time to head back to New Hampshire.
Flash forward two months, you now live in Los Angeles. You went from working 70 hours a week to zero. The job offers you got weren’t stellar so you decide to keep looking, keep going cross eyed staring at Craigslist. You read thousands of ads a week and keep sending resumes. You only have three months of staying with your sister so you better find a job so you can afford to pay rent somewhere.
You don’t know how long it’ll be until you find a job so dropping $500 for an improv class at Groundlings may not be the best bet right now. But you can still do stand up! Don’t worry. You just need to remember how to be the new girl in the comedy scene again far away from all of your comic friends. Oh also all the jokes you would consider your best are only doing okay on the new coast. Looks like some tweaking is needed but that’s okay. New things for you to learn!
And man, you are surrounded by new things. New attractions to see, new museums to go to, new Doctor Who craft fairs and free board game nights to frequent! For the first time in 6 years you aren’t working double full time. You have time to see things. To do things! You’ve worked so hard for so long you almost don’t know what to do with free time but when you get used to it, you hope you never need to go back to 70+ because there is so much to do outside of collecting a paycheck. Freedom, hobbies and interests are all things you never knew you wished you had time for.
Hey you found a job! Just in time too because you had maybe another week of groceries and gas before your credit card was maxed. Congratulations. Now you need to find an apartment! Your new job is a bit of a distance from your friends and sisters out here so you need to move to an area south of Los Angeles where you don’t know anyone at all. Oh boy, rent and bills but it’s okay you have an income again thank goodness. Living paycheck to paycheck is tough but you’re doing it.
Damn though, gas is really expensive. And with being an hour from a lot of comedy things you can’t afford to do or attend more than one or two shows a week. But it’s really okay because your bank accounts will be back to normal and then you’ll be able to go out more! Keep writing those jokes down, you’ll be able to get out more often soon. I promise. And hopefully you’ll be able to afford protein and veggies for your diet again as well.
And even on your good days where the new job is going well, the sun is shining and a new joke you posted on Facebook is doing better than you thought it would, your remember that you are 3,000 miles away from some people you miss more than anything. And you get sad. You get sad and you miss home so you cry and you get scared that you made the wrong choice because you’re lonely and you still have so much progress to make.
I’m sorry that I’m replying to this at a weird time. See, I was at an open mic an hour from my studio from 8 PM-12:30 AM so I could do five minutes and try to get a little better and this comedy thing.
I will be taking improv classes when I can afford it without losing my apartment. I will keep doing stand up and will keep improving and will go out more when I can afford gas to get me to the shows. I could stay in LA forever or I could up and move to Chicago or NYC next month because anything and everything could change if I decide to make it happen.
Why start a blog about trying to get on SNL when I know so little about the hiring process? Because I was 21 years old, so I didn’t know anything about anything. People are growing and changing and learning all the time, man. It’s a pretty cool thing. And you know what? Maybe I’ll change my mind. I can totally do that. I have the ability to change my mind completely without any repercussions from anyone in real life or on the Internet. I’m young and still growing up and if I wake up one day and realize this isn’t the path for me then that is my decision to make. I know that I will be okay and I know that my parents and friends will still love me no matter what I’m up to.
Of all the plans mentioned in my response, the only one that matters is to be good enough to where I can’t be ignored. And I may be a long ways away from that point but everyone who I admire was far from ready at some point, too.
I realize I invite messages like yours by continuing to update this blog but I’ll say an honest thank you because this was a nice stroll down memory lane.
I hope that your own comedy pursuits are going as well as you’d like them to. Also, if you checked back for my reply and read all the way to the bottom, good for you. Seriously. High five.
It’s 2:52 AM and I have to work in the morning so I think I’ll end it there.
Actually a Pretty Good Planner
Learning lessons and putting material together.
Finally got a great set at the Comedy Studio. It took a long time, but I am very proud of last night’s performance. The owner told me to be careful of my umm’s… I’m not sure if I can pluralize that. I watched the video and I had a few umms which do need to be taken out. I need to smooth out a few small things but the material is improving, and the timing is getting better. I have a few pieces I want to put into the middle of my set to make it longer and stronger. Yeah Viagra!
My next set is on 8.13. So I want to tinker a bit, but the set should almost be perfect next time I perform it. No more umms… Thanks Zac!
Comedy is not easy. It’s probably the hardest thing most could ever do.
In the last few weeks I have lost 2 meaningless contests. The two loses were some of the best sets I have ever presented on stage. Although I did not win, I got an unexpected high five from a well respected comedian in Boston and it has made all the difference. I feel like my comedian has gone to a next level, like I warped a level in Super Mario Brothers. \
Level Up! Do do do do do doot!
Twitter Sucks. (And By That I Mean I Can’t Figure It Out.)
Twitter sucks. Yeah, that’s right. It sucks bad. Anything that I don’t excel at with little to no effort is trivial and meaningless. Get outta here Twitter.
Now, you might argue that maybe I suck at Twitter. That’s possible. I don’t hate all social media. I like Instagram and Facebook. Those two seem to work better for me because they’re more visual mediums where I can post a link with a thumbnail or a nice picture with a filter that makes everyone think I’m a great photographer (they don’t think that.) Either way, I like Instagram and Facebook because I get a lot more likes, comments, and feedback from them immediately. Makes me feel good. It’s like a party.
Caleb: (Kicks down door) What’s up Facebook!?!
Facebook: (Doing a keg stand) Come on in, Caleb!
Twitter seems more like an office Christmas party where nobody knows or cares that I’m there. Everyone’s just there to pick up their bonus and get outta there. That’s how I feel at least.
Our community is like… massive. It’s legit huge. It’s grown from Dana Jay Bein, Will Luera, John Serpico, Rachel Rosenthal, Bobby Smithney, and Christine Cuddy (among others) goofing around in a basement below what is now All-Star Sandwich Bar to a serious theater of hundreds of…
Monologue joke of the Day
In an attempt to get out of finals a Harvard Student emailed in a bomb threat.
And Instantly the IT department had their final, to track down the emailer.
Monologue joke of the day
A small town cop called out Kanye west by saying “you better check yourself, before you wreck yourself”
Kanye responded by saying ” Too late.”
Taylor Ketchum: The Highest Highs and the Lowest Lows | Julie Seabaugh
Taylor Ketchum co-hosts new biweekly show Hot Crowd, along with Joe Zimmerman and Jono Zalay, Wednesday at Over the Eight in Williamsburg. From college football star to homeless heroin addict to New York standup, his is a compelling story unlike any other in the comedy industry.
“I am from Los Angeles. I don’t tell people this all the time, ‘cause I’m not some kind of Hollywood fuckface, but I was actually in the movie Trainspotting…for about 11 years. I played Division I college football, and then I became a heroin addict, and then I became this. I’m not really sure what’s more tragic in that chain of events, to be honest. It’s kind of a bizarre trajectory for a life to have. It’s like: college glory, getting laid, varsity, letterman’s jacket, things are going well, hepatitis, death, abscesses, loneliness, ‘Eh, I guess you’re not hurting anybody.’”
I love Los Angeles. My family’s there, all my friends. I went to high school there. But I’ve always wanted to be a New York City comic. I like it here better as a comedian. It’s not always easy here. It’s not always comfortable or fun. But for comedy, it’s the best.
I don’t necessarily tell the whole story because I don’t have time, and not all of it’s funny. The addiction stuff, all you’re going to hear about is the nasty, good, weird stuff about it, not what led up to it. I try to be as honest as possible up there. If I need to edit something and get to the point and not tell the whole thing, then I’ll do that. I don’t make things up. All that addiction stuff is all real. It’s kind of CliffsNoted, but it’s all stuff that actually happened.
I always liked drugs and partying. But I played football, and it kind of babysat me. Whenever things were getting too out of control or too hairy, I always had this football thing to be like, “Oh, okay, I should go not be a scumbag now. I’ve got to play football.” I started playing in fourth or fifth grade. It was just what the kids in my neighborhood were doing. I just moved there, my parents had gotten divorced about two years before. I didn’t have a dad around. They were playing and I was just like, “Oh cool; I’ll try that.” I ended up being pretty good at it.
I smoked pot, and I got really into the rave scene when I was in high school. I was taking ecstasy. But then I would always get re-focused and really get back into football. I got a scholarship, and I went on to play in college [at Ohio University]. The last week, we were supposed to play North Carolina State. It was the last game I was ever playing. I knew it. And I knew that I wasn’t going to have that babysitter anymore.
Rory Scovel has become a little motivation to me. He has created an act that is half stand-up, half improv and a whole lot unpredictable.
I watched the first two episodes of Ground Floor and he killed it.
He makes me want to have a lot more fun on stage than I have. I looked at my last few tapes at the Comedy Studio and I am getting better and better. I applied to the WICF and I think things are improving slowly for me. 2014 is going to be a big year. At some point I have to believe I am a stand up comedian and I think that 2014 is the year I solidify that belief.
Let’s go 2014. Thanks, Harvard!
Comedy is not pretty nor is it easy. I have learned this the hard way. Getting on stage is easy. It takes years to not suck, to be funny on stage is hard. Being good is difficult. Killing on stage is almost impossible.
I have gotten on stage many times. I sucked for a few years. I have been funny a decent portion of times over the last year.I can count the numbers of time I have been good, I have never killed.
I realize comedy is not a marathon. It’s not a sprint. It is a tough mudder. At certain times you need to be able to run and sometimes you need to be able to put all of you energy into 45 seconds of a strong burst, leaving you exhausted.
Comedy takes so much mental energy, focus, time and dedication. I have given it a lot. I need to give it more. I have a few goals for the next year or so.
1. I want to be getting weekend spots at the Comedy Studio in 2014.
2. I want to Comic in Residence at the Comedy Stuido for a month in 2015. (They have already picked them for 2014.)
3. Get into the BCF in 2014.
4. I would like to travel to NYC, LA, Chicago, Austin, Portland or Denver to try out different rooms and cities. ( I am starting to learn how to do well in the Comedy Studio and I want to push myself.)
I think I was thinking about my plans and my desire to purpose my passion or not. A quote from sleepwalk with me.
"You say you want to be a comedian, your a bartender, pick a damn plan and stick with it."
Although I have dedicated a lot of time to the pursuit of comedy. I guess what I am trying to say is I want to be a comedian. So everything has to be heading in that direction.