“During one of my first open mics in New York City, the comic running the mic tapped me on the elbow after my set and said, “Hey, you’re funny!” She sounded surprised.
I was, too. Being funny wasn’t my main goal. I was there to spy on comics, trying to experience the highs and lows they faced while chasing their dreams, while doing standup as research for my forthcoming novel, No Good Very Bad Asian, which features a famed Chinese American comedian.
After writing a first draft in 2010, I wanted to validate what I had written and go beyond what I could learn from reading standup memoirs and listening to WTF with Marc Maron. I started with classes. But the first thing you learn from comedy teachers is that if you’re serious, you need to write jokes constantly and chase stage time (anywhere: open mics, bar shows, birthday parties, bar mitzvahs, subway platforms, you get the idea) several nights a week, if not every night, for years on end—it’s the only way to get better. Comedy can’t easily be taught; it must be done.”