How he got started in comedy

By accident. I started making tapes of me interviewing musicians.


Related posts tagged 'Switching careers to comedy'


Related posts tagged 'Switching careers to comedy'

Comedy has been tremendous for me. I enjoy making people laugh, and to be able to make a living at it is pretty spectacular. I was in college, and kind of floundering, as a lot of young people do. I thought I wanted to be an accountant, and after taking some accounting classes, my eyes would roll so far up into the back of my head that I thought ‘I don’t think I can hang with this for the rest of my life.’ Nothing wrong with that profession. My dad was an accountant, and many wonderful people are accountants. It just wasn’t for me. So I switched majors to communication and theater arts, which was a combined major, and it was in that world that I hit on the idea of being a stand-up comedian.
The Adam Sandler movie, The Longest Yard came into town to shoot and I met Adam Sandler, Nick Swardson and a bunch of other comedians. They came to Swig, the nightclub where I was go-go dancing in Santé Fe and they saw a drag queen, a stripper and Annie Lederman. The minute I saw them in person and I saw that they weren’t just these giants you see on the screen, I realized that comedy was what I really wanted to do.
I always loved stand up but didn't think it was possible. Hollywood seemed a zillion miles away. It wasn't until I was working at a warehouse and I met a guy who was on my level in stand up, we used to go out drinking and get a buzz going and watch stand up in the clubs together. He said to me one night, "Bill we're funnier than a lot of these guys." And he said one day he'd take a shot of Jack and get up on the stage and do it. And I thought if he could do that, I could too. I was emotionally beat down in my life at that point and just couldn't imagine it. But thank god he said that. I went after it and learned to speak up, instead of keeping quiet.
The ceiling for comedy in New Orleans is about a foot-high, so you have to army crawl your way through it—it’s that low. New York was no question. I went to film school here a year before, and I just fell in love with the city then, so I came back. In New York you can get a lot of stage time [as a comic], and I needed and wanted that. It was the worst transition ever. I moved here with $800, blew through that in about two days, got an apartment in Crown Heights, got mugged three times in a year, my landlord died of AIDS, and the first day I got into my apartment, there was a pigeon in it, just flying around. So it was pretty rough. I got a job as the file clerk at the film school filing pap...
I never had a plan. I just sort've ambled along, doing exactly what I wanted every day of my life. It turned out well. I could easily be sleeping in a ditch now. I'd say always follow your passions. Even if you fail, you've had a great time trying.