new york city

The Strip

I think brick-laying is in my future. My mother-in-law knows a lady who knows a guy who needs some brick layers, or something. I like working outdoors. I have never laid brick before, but I assume it’s pretty easy to smooth out the mortar, like smoothing out ice cream with a spoon. It’s not a great sign that I had to look up “what is the stuff that goes between the bricks” to find the word mortar. I knew it was mortar. I am ashamed. 

I don’t know if there are jobs here in Melbourne that all the comics do, like in New York. Over there, the jobs were dog-walker, temp, and mover. I was all of those things, often at the same times. The one comedian job I never got to do as a comedian in New York was comedy. Very hard to get paid for that in New York. I remember being at the Comic Strip, on the upper east side. I was waiting to audition to get passed there for late night spots. If passed, I would get to come back to the Strip on certain nights at 11pm or some crazy hour and get on stage for about three minutes. It was an insane system that seemed designed to dissuade young comics from trying to work there. 

I got there early and a comedian I recognized came out of the showroom and stood before the bartender. I expected him to get a drink, but no. The bartender gave him money. And the comedian put the money in his pocket! Like it was no big deal, like he’d been paid before. For comedy! Then he walked out, and as he did I gave him my classic half-nod, which he did not see. But that’s the beauty of the half-nod. If you don’t see it, did I even nod at you? You could argue that I didn’t, and therefore I am not embarrassed. 

I thought, wow, I am gonna be just like that comic. Someday soon I’m gonna amble into this dump at a way more reasonable hour than 11, do ten minutes of pure gold, and leave with money. I could even do pure shit and leave with money. 

I did get passed. The person in charge of passing comics was probably younger than I was, and I think his dad had worked there or something. He said I was okay, but that he wanted me to come back for a second audition. I did so and it went well and he passed me. It was a great feeling, and I was excited to start doing those spots. But then that guy was let go from the club almost instantaneously, I don’t know why. When I showed up to do a late night spot, a woman asked who I was. I told her and she couldn’t find my name anywhere in the club’s records of who passed or whatever, so she wouldn’t let me on. I didn’t have the balls to push back at her, or maybe I was too tired to argue because it was 11pm, a full hour past my preferred bedtime. I never did get used to being up late for comedy, and it made me wonder if I could ever be a comic, really. I still wonder. 

I never went back to the Strip, but I did pass it a few times while riding shotgun in a moving truck. If I choose to be a mover in Melbourne, there won’t be a lot of stairs. There aren’t anywhere near as many walkup apartments here. And even better, nothing is open late. Showing up for a spot at 11pm? That’s not gonna happen here. And if I’m “passed” at some club? and the person who passed me gets fired? and when I show up, the lady doesn’t know me? It’s Australia, so she’ll probably be a lot nicer, and just write me down as “passed.” Honestly, fuck that lady.

Go to hell, The Comic Strip

Go to hell, The Comic Strip