Since I shared the big news about my book deal, I have received so many wonderful congratulation texts, emails, Facebook posts, tweets, and more. It's really amazing to be surrounded by so many wonderful, supportive, positive people. Man oh man.
So many of the congratulations came from my fellow comedians, and it really speaks to how amazing that community can be. People often assume that the comedy scene in New York City must be cutthroat and hostile, but I've found it to be the opposite, for the most part. I've met so many amazing people here, and when new and exciting opportunities come up for peers (be it going to the Montreal Comedy Fest or doing a set on Fallon or getting a great new job), the majority of the community is genuinely thrilled for the person.
This weekend I caught up with two old friends a bit, Pete Schultz and Brandon Bassham. I met those guys in a sketch writing class at the Upright Citizens Brigade, when I first arrived in New York City, 5 years ago. Our sketch class had a few shows at UCB, and then ran a free show (called Black Habanero) in the basement of the Two Boots Pizzeria, where it was BYOB and audiences would watch sketch, standup, and improv. Brandon's teaching sketch for UCB now and running their fantastic new theater space in the East Village. Pete was just hired to write for Saturday Night Live, doing Weekend Update stories full-time. All of this recent excitement reminds me of a wonderful interview between Sean McCarthy (of The Comic's Comic) and legendary storyteller Tom Shillue.
What tip would you give to any comedian who moves here? Comedy is a community. Other comics are your resource. Comics who are on your level -- that's important. A lot of comics are restless -- they want to network with the pros who they perceive as 'one level up' from them. Those guys can't help you much. It's your peers that will help you. Forget the dog-eat-dog stuff; like it's just you and your jokes against the world. That used to work, but not anymore. Make friends with people who make you laugh, produce shows together, build an audience together. Don't worry about trying to climb your way up the comedy scene, just hold hands with your friends and you'll all rise up like a balloon, laughing along the way.