UCB, Billy Connolly Calls You Smart, how I started comedy

When I started stand up I only went to the clubs. Not only did I go to comedy clubs but I worked for them in order to get stage time. I would hand out fliers to drunk people on the corner of West 4th and MacDougal in the village. I ran straight from my day job and did this from 6pm to 1am in exchange for no money and five minutes of stage time. At the time I was pretty fucking excited. I was like “this is what true artists do! I’m paying my dues!” Now I just look back and am like “I’m pretty sure that was illegal. Probably should have looked into some union stuff.”

Sidenote – I just finished Sarah Silvermans book, which was great, and she worked that same corner in the village as me except got paid 10 dollars an hour. So I got totally fucked. I also just realized you can use the same terminology with comics and hookers. Which makes me sad/kinda happy.

So I would stand on the corner, chain smoke, and bitterly hand out fliers. Cause that’s what comics do! Not write jokes, or get on stage. I knew better!

Brain – You could really be doing a lot of creative work if you didn’t hand out fliers all day.

Me – Shut up brain. I’m going to kill you with alcohol.

There were a handful of comics who were great to me and I could watch them for hours. Watching them is what gave me courage. Dave Chappell, Marc Maron, Stanhope, Dave Attell, Jim Norton, Patrice, Todd Barry, these people would come into this shitty little club and kill in front of 20 people. Chappell was actually starting to come up with some of the most biting material about the war that I have ever seen. It never made it to TV before he split. Probably cause during these prolific rants some frat fuck would yell out “DO RICK JAMES!” I would have gone to Africa too. You know why? Far less white people.

Now I go into some clubs and I don’t know man. There is just this sense of bitterness. Comics are fucking mean to each other. A lot of times people are credit swapping or calling each other gay. It’s the kind of meanness I avoided in high school that drove me to comedy.

With that said there are a lot of friendships and maybe I’m the asshole avoiding everyone. This happens often. I’ll tell my wife no one likes me. She will ask if I tried talking to anyone. I walk away.

I got into comedy to avoid good looking people, athletes and being called a fag. None of that shit belongs here. I have been made fun of for not drinking or reading a book countless fucking times. “Books! With information?! What are you gay?!” I didn’t know that was a stereotype. But run with it gays. Idiot dudes think you all are brilliant.

When I first heard about the UCB I was told it was a bunch of angry hipsters with Daddy issues. Here is a little inside info for you. When comics tell you a place is shitty, that usually means they got turned down for a gig or had a bad set. There are no such things as bad sets in comedy land. Just entire cities of hipster assholes who don’t get comedy.

The UCB is an old strip club with duct tape seats and in some corners I assume, puddles of hepatitis breeding with more hepatitis to one day create a super virus which will take over New York City. It’s below a grocery store and sometimes during your set you swear you hear shopping carts being put away. The backstage area looks like where you would go to hide a body. And… I was afraid to make eye contact with the staff for about a year.

With that said, it is the most respected venue in NYC. It’s where 30 Rock, SNL, The Daily Show, And Colbert all did their shows LIVE during the writers strike to make money for their staffs. It’s where most of them found careers. It doesn’t have a drink minimum. You are not second to rum and cokes. The artist is the show.

It’s the first venue in the city where I did my solo show, and it will be the last. It was the first venue Allison got on stage. It was the start of Citizen Radio live. It’s the first theater where I have made friends.

Last night we had Billy Connolly. A comedy legend who plays huge theaters. He walked in and looked horrified. I had to tell him to trust us. When the show was done he said we had one of the smartest audiences he had ever played for. That’s part citizen radio but a lot UCB.

Thanks so much to everyone who came out last night. Moby was fucking brave and insightful. Dominic Dierkes and Sean Clements were fucking hilarious and Allison was great as ever. We will announce when the audio is up. But if you live or visit NYC please support this theater. They are the good guys.

You can subscribe to the show where we will post last nights gig at


  1. K said:

    Amazing show last night. The whole crowd was in love with it.