In 1994, I did a string of one-nighters in Minnesota with a long haired comic who spoke like jazz. His name was Mitch Hedberg, and he’s dead now.
In 1996, I moved to Boston and met a wild-eyed mulleted man who was pure lightning on stage and off. His name was Kevin Knox, and he’s dead now.
In 2001, I flew to Chicago for a half-baked comedy festival with a comic who became a cop and was brilliant at both. His name was Mike Baker, and he’s dead now.
That’s the thing about comedy, man. Once you’re in – really in – there’s only one way out.
Find something you love, they say. And let it kill you. What they don’t say is that it might just kill you slow, like lung cancer, and thirty years later, you’re Roy Batty in the rain.
How’s the career going, Tim? Super duper. Thanks for asking. I’ll be headlining the Stone Church in Newmarket, NH on December 9th. Doors at 6:30. Show an hour after that.
Comedy in Boston is such a squirrelly motherfucker. On the one hand, you have the Immortals, saying the same things in the same places and doing just fine, thank you very much. If it ain’t broke, you know? Three shows on Saturday, cash is king and let me tell you something, folks…
On the other hand, you have those goddamn kids, reinventing comedy from scratch, millennial-style, doing shows in basements and laundromats and on the fucking subway, making it work even when it shouldn’t, doing crazy madcap shit like having women and black people on stage. They don’t need no 15/30/45/check drop/tip the waitstaff comedy shows. A couple of hashtags and an @midnight and they are set. Next stop – Netflix special.
And sandwiched in between – if you look real close, you can see it – the Gen X of Boston comedy. We didn’t move, but we didn’t quit. We’re still banging away, even if the Boomers on Route 1 are spending our inheritance. Sure, we hang out in the alt rooms, but we’re just trying to steal their life force so we can stay alive another year. Can you do comedy in Boston, stay fresh, and get paid? That right there – that’s the question.
Personally, I want to write like Durso and Karski and get paid like Sweeney and V and sleep in my own bed and see my kids every day. But that ship is sailing into the West, man. The Third Age of Comedy is coming to an end. There are still gates and gatekeepers, and gates can be closed. You can do comedy for decades and still fade from the picture like Marty McFly.
But then again, maybe there’s a kickass guitar solo at the end.
As long as you don’t bang your mom.