In high school I started a daily email jokelist THE CHUCKELELIST. I’d string together jokes submitted by readers, and ones I scoured from the internet and other jokelists. At the beginning of each email I’d write my own attempt at a humorous paragraph. In 9 months I grew it from a handful of people to about 3,000 before I sold off the email list for a few hundred dollars.
Through that experience I also got hooked up with a service where you sold topical jokes to radio stations. I’d look for headlines on Yahoo News and try to make riffs, just the headline and a one or two liner. A few sold at $2 a pop. I was a professional comedian!
So the next obvious step was to take some of my intro paragraphs from The Chuckelelist and went to a few comedy open mics, including Rascal’s in New Jersey and the Gotham Comedy Club in New York City. I didn’t study standup or even practice in front of friends, I just went out there. I was 17 and of course promptly bombed.
But the experience of getting just one laugh was electric.
After that I didn’t do much pure comedy for a while, but in college I wrote, directed, and produced a weekly live radio drama called Play With Your Radio. My favorite comedic radio play I wrote during that time was called “Block Block and Smiglette,” a hyperparody of suburban morays. Because when you’re 20, suburbia is the most withering social commentary you can conjure!
From 2006-2011, I was the site lead and then Managing Editor of Consumerist.com, a blog which takes a wry look at our messed-up consumer-driven lifestyle. For a long time I had to write 12 posts a day, then 8. I’ve gotten really good at pushing letters quickly.
I started taking improv classes at UCB in August ‘09. I’ve taken improv 401 with Shannon O’Neil and Doug Moe, and have taken sketch 201. Our sketch class threw two shows under the moniker “Danger Club” which had 50-80 people show up at each. In June ‘10, I got started with a practice group that evolved into Girl Scout Mafia and we played together and practiced for a year and got into DCM 13. There I achieved a comedy goal of meeting Matt Besser and did a few scenes in front of him in a workshop, subject to his exacting critique. I practiced with Not Smith for a few months, now that disbanded and I’m starting up a new practice group.