This may be a little insider-y for some, but I wanted to share my parting words to the hundreds of comedians who were regularly or not-regularly booked at The Hollywood Improv during my 6 year run as Artistic Director of the club. Getting booked for comedy in LA, especially at the biggest clubs and on the best shows is near impossible, and I wanted to bluntly share the realities of it from the other side, with the hope of inspiring, or at least giving some perspective to all the people vying for stage time.
If you haven’t already heard, next week will be my last as Artistic Director of The Hollywood Improv.
After a whirlwind 6 years, it’s finally time for me to move on to pursue the next phase of my career in writing and producing. My departure comes on only positive terms with the club, and it’s absolutely bittersweet, as this has been a magical home for me for over 6 years. This job is equally the most fun and challenging I’ve ever had, and I am very proud of how the club has evolved in my time here. I couldn’t have done it without all your amazing talent, without the support of Budd Friedman, the guidance of my boss Erin Von Schonfeldt, and of course my partner in crime in taking the club to new heights, our GM Reeta Piazza.
I’m sure my replacement will be inundated for her first several YEARS as the booker, so please be patient. Especially the first few months, allow them to adjust to the flow of the job before you bombard them with booking requests. I know from personal experience that it takes a really long time to learn the ins and out of booking at this level. She has a lot to absorb and will need to familiarize herself with you comics, and the 150+ monthly shows we currently have going on here.
For a lot of you, my departure might seem like potentially bad news, as you know I am a fan of your work and you don’t know if you’ll continue to get booked when I leave. For substantially more of you, my departure might seem like fantastic news, as you are rarely booked or haven’t been booked for a set in years and now you have a chance to get back in the mix. As far as I see it, the booker may be changing, but the vast politics of this venue will remain. My advice is to just continue working on your craft, becoming undeniable in as many rooms as possible, and be as cool as you can be to our new booker, our staff, and your fellow comics. There will no doubt be changes over time, and I genuinely hope that some of you who either weren’t on my radar or weren’t always my personal taste will have more opportunities in the future.
Many of you know that I am a comedian at my core. For better and worse, I’ve understood and empathized with the struggle of getting stage time and trying to make it in this insane business, which has made my job here all the more difficult. I consider our comedy community here, our comedians and staff and regulars, my family. And having to constantly say no to your family members can be the toughest thing in the world. Just know that even if you didn’t get up as much as you wanted during my time here, it was never personal. I have only respect for all of you pursuing your dreams and passions.
Please remember that every single night of the week I’ve had to say no to hundreds of headlining comics that I consider to be supremely talented and cool and with credits and with agents and managers and all those things everyone thinks are required to perform here. So just know that if you didn’t get as much stage time as you wanted, you’ve never been alone. It’s just a harsh reminder that there are no guarantees in this business, even when you are seemingly doing everything right. So just keep working hard, be genuine and authentic, throw any entitlement you have out the window (as hard as it may be), and when you do get the chance to go up on one of the stages here, absolutely murder it. Easy peasy, am I right??
I truly love you all, and wish you the best in your careers and lives. I’m sure I will be working with many of you in various capacities for years to come. I thank you all for allowing me this time to experiment, to both succeed and fail, and to grow as a person.
The Hollywood Improv has a bright future, and with our amazing staff, along with all your tremendous talent, the next 6 years will be even better than the last.
All my love!
PS – And I’d be remiss not to plug my Gatekeeper podcast, where I talk to bookers and decision makers in the comedy world in order to inspire and educate comics about this world and the best ways to navigate a career in comedy.
Shameless self-promotion… See, I told you I was a comedian at my core!