You want one piece of advice, starting out comedian? Don’t move to the suburbs.
This lesson I learned the hard way and tried to rectify by responding to an ad on Craigslist for a reasonably priced basement apartment at Bloor and Ossington. Fantastic location for a striving comic. Less than 5 minutes walk to the subway. Stumbling distance to Comedy Bar. Perfect. I went to check the place out and everything. It wasn’t great. But with a woman’s touch, it could look pretty damn adorable down there. Also, my pet cat Peanut has a way of making any living space adorable.
The landlady agreed that I could bring by a deposit for the apartment and I was thrilled. I would be moving back downtown. After 2 years in Etobicoke, and a brief stint in Mississauga in an attempt to save some money, I would be back in the centre of the action, and I could not wait. I could dream-taste the downtown garbage-day air already…
January 1st 2014; with Second City’s Conservatory program now complete, moving into a new place, I’d have more time free than I’ve had in a while. Time to get back out there. Do more stand-up, more improv, more storytelling. Maybe meet some people willing to work together in a sketch troupe. Get working on my writing; spec scripts, originals. The whole nine. Productivity ahoy! This is going to be THE year. But then…
The landlady informs me in a poorly structured e-mail (weird, for a former teacher) that her current tenant is not able to leave when he said he would. Which begs the question… WHAT THE FUCK were you posting an ad on Craiglist for if you weren’t even sure your fucking tenant was going to be leaving? It’s like.. “Here! Do you want to buy this car? Yes? Well too bad, you can’t It’s not for sale, sucker! BAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”
I’m fairly certain that’s the entire point of an online marketplace. You don’t put something up, unless it’s good and goshdarn available! I’m sure somewhere there’s a law against this type of flaking, but because no money was exchanged, it’s really just a matter of screwing over the person you lead on, then crushing her hopes and dreams. (Dramatic, much?)
I know an argument can be made for the fact that it is possible to be a performer and live in the ‘burbs, but personally, I feel as though I’m wasting SO much time on the commute, which drains my energy and my drive. If I stay in town after working an 8 hour shift, to see a show instead of say, going home and preparing dinner, then going back to town to see a show, I’m saving time, but draining my wallet. Ultimately, it’s a vaccuum of wasting time and money on eating out, gas, parking etc. I think living in town, even though rent is more expensive, the ultimate savings occur in time.
So now it’s back to the drawing board. I’m off to spend hours on Craigslist, Kijiji, ViewIt.ca and other such sites in an ongoing search for a convenient, not horrible location that won’t break me financially and/or morally (that’s right, I’m not moving to Parkdale.)
Keep your eyes open for me please, friends. And never, ever move to the suburbs if you want to keep performing comedy at this early and fragile stage.