Spokane is rarely the last destination for a comedian. Historically, comedians discovered that they love comedy here and then go somewhere else to actually try to make a go at it. Recently, we have had an exodus of sorts, and it got me thinking about things that comedians need to take note of before moving to a larger market. This is not to discourage anyone. This is to try to help those that are in smaller markets make the right choice so they can succeed in their new cities.
Can you find a job?: This seems like something of a no-brainer, but I have seen comedians leave the place they started comedy, get to the new city and realize they can’t find a job. If you can’t get the basics covered, how are you going to pursue your comedy career. This may be easier for those that have a profession, or a degree in a certain field, but if you don’t you may want to make sure you can get a job.
Do you have money?: I have read articles where they say have three months of savings just in case you can’t find a job that fast. I will say, you may need 4-6 months if you are going from a lower cost of living area to a higher cost of living area. If you saved based on Spokane’s rent market, but you are moving to LA, that three months savings is now only about a month and a half. The cost of living in some of these cities are one of the reasons a lot of people abandon comedy. It is hard to pursue comedy, when you have to work all the time.
Got a place to stay?: You may want to check and make sure your married high school buddy (and their partner) are cool with you sleeping on the floor of their nursery for a bit. You don’t want to get to a new city and learn that your living arrangements went from “house” to “not a house”. If you are moving in with roommates, try to see if they are not going to be moving out anytime soon. That way you do not get to a new city and now you have to find new roommates so you can afford to stay in that place.
Are you a piece of shit?: If you are lazy in your smaller market, you are not all of a sudden gonna work hard to make comedy work. Comedians are rarely realistic about what they are willing to put into stuff. It’s easy to fall into that trap as well. If you live in a small town it may just be easier to be on shows because there are not that many comedians to begin with. You can not take that approach when moving to a larger area. Take LA for example. You can’t throw an old timey mic without hitting a comedian. If you are not writing, and showing up and networking, you will not see any success. If you are a piece of shit. You will not become a saint all of a sudden! This is the internet age. Your baggage goes with you. If a booker in a new city wants to know about you, they probably know someone that knows someone that knows you.
Moving to a new place is exciting and can open all sorts of doors, but only if you are prepared and willing to fight for it. The best will always surface, and a larger city helps those surface sooner. Just make sure you are ready when your time comes to shine.