Moving to New York City as a new comic is considered gauche at best. It's actually very embarrassing. Your reasons for moving to the city were unrelated for the most part. You had a really fun night once at Cake Shop in college and saw Beach House at Le Puisson Rouge and that was enough reason to move to one of the most expensive cities in the world. You were convinced that New York is where you go to experience the magical and the unusual.
As it appeared to people who hardly knew you, it would seem like you were a delusional new comic who believed they were ready for late night. Comedy was to you more of a social activity. You had a burgeoning hobby that would allow you to make friends and start over in a new place.
You knew the open mic scene would be tough and the bar shows would be booked up with people with TV credits. You knew your name would be drawn later, last group at most open mics and would be that way for years.
Your second winter in NYC, you decided to become even more embarrassing than you already were. After an open mic at The Stand, a comic offered you the chance to bark - standing at street corners selling comedy tickets. So you put on your hat and gloves and barked in the snow for that whole winter. You barked on McDougal and would regularly see Louis CK walk right by you on his way to the cellar as you tried to convince tourists to see comedy at the extremely dive basement Greenwich Comedy Club.
The guy running your barking ring was a hustler. He had a reputation in NYC comedy for having an ability to fill seats. Full shows are a currency in New York. Famous comedians will perform on a show for free if they know they have an opportunity to work out new material in front of a large audience. Your barking guy was kind of hacky and seemed superficially kind in the way where you know he is only kind in case he can get something from you in the future.
One night after you successfully barked in a European family and made $80 bucks doing so, you had a well received set as well on the show. Afterwards, your barking hustler asked to talk to you alone.
"Good set, you remind me a little of Sarah Silverman."
"Okay. Wow, thanks."
"Yeah you have a cute, almost child like delivery but your material is super blue."
"You should go with that as a brand. More like, cum and poop stuff. But say it in a super cute way like it's not blue at all."
You took the C train home and pondered his assessment of your style.
Later he texted you asking if you'd be willing to change barking locations. At first you considered this to be a really negative thing, like wow is this guy seriously going to make me accept a barking demotion?? You were a little offended. He moved you from MacDougal to a tiny shithole club in Queens called Laughing Devil. You reluctantly bundled up and took the G train to 21st street stop in Long Island City.
You walked in and saw a young lady working the small ticketing stand at the front bar. She had piercing dark eyes and silky black hair. Her voice was sexy and her laugh was loud and unapologetic. You instantly liked her so much. She was a famous comic's girlfriend and the manager/booker of the club. She was one of the coolest people you have ever met. All winter you would run to the bodega down the street to buy her yogurt and you would tell her how much you loved and admired Dave Attell.
She introduced you to someone who would become one of your best friends in the city for the rest of your time there. She said, "He's pretentious as hell, I think you'll love him!" and sure enough the first night you stood outside in the freezing cold barking with him, you left fully knowing you had just made a very good friend.
The best part about barking was the lowered expectation. That bar is so low that the delight that came from meeting special people was so above and beyond how that normally feels. You don't expect to see a rainbow when you are swimming in a piss pond.
Standing outside being embarrassing alone in the cold is depressing and isolating. Being embarrassing with your friend? There's nothing better.