Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Fun Fearsome Facts

Since this is a new blog, I thought I’d give you readers some statistics about Fearsome, to help you get to know us better.

# of group members: 6
# of group members with vaginas: 3
# of original group members still with the group: 5
# of current group members who took the same improv class at UCB: 4
# of group members who are married: 1
# of group members who attended that wedding: 6
# of group members who attended the honeymoon: 1
# of current group members who have, at some point in their life, lived in Colorado: 4
# of female group members who surf: 1
Age difference between youngest and oldest group member: 7 years
# of total Fearsome performances to date (as of 6/15/05, counting tonight’s show): 41
# of different venues of Fearsome performances: 10
# of minutes of my life wasted to write this blog entry: 15

Any questions? Good.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Question and Answer Fun

Below is a question from someone looking into the NY sketch comedy scene. I thought this would be a fun blog entry. Enjoy .

Hello Fearsome,
I recently graduated from Emerson where I was in a funded comedy group that I founded. I would like to continue with my group and pursue the comedy festivals and little theaters/clubs.
I have been doing various research and saw you on a few web pages including one of the sketch fest pages. I was wondering if I could pick your brains.
How do you get booked? Do you start with open mikes'? Where do you find your venues? How do you manage to maintain the cost of travel? Do you perform at colleges? Do troops make money? How regularly do you manage to perform? And how can you tell which sketch festivals are good vs. not so good. Basically, how have you managed to become so successful.
I am in LA an d want to move to NYC (JErsey native) because I beleive there are more outlets for comedy tehre. Am I right to believe this? I tried to look for comedy venues for sketch in NY but found very little. Any places that you know of. I want to gather as much information as possible before I make this move.
We appreciate your help.

Best wishes,
ROB ASARO
Chocolate Cake City

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Dear Rob. I think I can answer some of your questions for you . . .

First, warm up your mouth, buddy, there's a lot of dong-sucking to do.
Just kidding, (I shouldn't assume everyone should get their start like Fearsome did. Plus Katherine and I love the word "dong.")
My real answer is below. Here we go . . .

First of all, there is a very large comedy community here that when compared to my friends who do comedy in LA is unmatchable. However, because of the amount of stuff constantly going on here, it is harder to make any money at it. There are venues where you can make some money off your shows, The PIT (People's Improv Theatre) is one that if you have more than, I think it's 23 people in the audience or so, you get to keep the rest of the door. There are also many venues that if you have the money to put into renting the space, you can make your money back off the door. But most of the time, just getting to perform in a particular venue is your reward. Benefits for your group help too. But it's very hard to make a financially stable career out of it.

Open mics are not always the best way to get noticed and build that community. I would recommend checking out the various downtown variety rooms like Variety Underground (www.varietyunderground.com) The Shark Show (www.thesharkshow.com), Ash Wednesday (Wednesdays at Parkside Lounge) and shows at the PIT (www.thepit-nyc.com) and meeting the people who perform and run them. That would be a first step. Also, I know the PIT holds auditions for groups that want to perform there and then they'll assign you a slot for a month or so. But you have to be careful because if you can't fill it with audience, you end up having to pay. UCB is a much harder and more incestuous place to get to perform. You can send them a tape of your group, but they won't always watch it until they've heard of you.

Another great resource is the Improv Resource Center website (you may already know about it) www.improvresourcecenter.com where most comedians spend their time during their day jobs networking and promoting themselves. You get booked at the variety shows by friends and people who have seen you and hear about you. So that is a great place to start.

Fearsome has only gone out of town to Chicago Sketchfest. We'd like to do more out of town stuff, colleges etc, but it is very hard to maintain a continuous performance schedule for six people while spending travel money and planning those kinds of things. They are definitely a great way to meet other groups and see what's going on out there. But if you are looking to forward your group's career in New York, then just playing out as much as you can around town is a better strategy.

It has taken Fearsome a long time and a lot of work to really start to make a big impression here. No one knew a thing about us until we started networking more, having other groups open for us, entering comedy competitions, promoting on the IRC and stuff like that. Also, our work has developed over the years and really tightened to cater for our audiences, each group should have a pretty unique brand that makes people talk about them. There is just so much stuff going on that you have to find a way to make a differential mark in this town. The great thing about New York is that when you have successes they feel so much more like successes. The hard part is that failures suck reall really bad because you're putting so much into it (time, money, hard work in a pretty unforgiving city.) That's what I love about it here. Although that kind of lifestyle is not for everybody.

Basically I just want you to know that there is a huge web of talent and people who want to help each other out here. The only thing that will push you through the struggle of it is good, strong work that gets noticed so that people will want to perform with you and talk about you. Your work has to mean something to you more than anything, though.

Fearsome decided a long time ago to do what we think is funny and stop worrying if anyone else will think it is. Easy to say, harder to do, but it's what we try for and it keeps our artistic sensibilities in check. You have to love what you do, because it may take a hell of a long time for anyone else to. Does any of this make sense? I hope I've helped at all. Please feel free to contact me anytime with more questions. And if you decide to move here I would be more than happy to check you guys out and introduce you around.

Best,
Shayna of Fearsome
www.fearsomecomedy.com

Thursday, June 02, 2005

F-U Professional Courtesy!

After several years of facing the reality that it is so so so hard to get yourself/your group/your business/your name out there, I would like to just take this opportunity to complain about a certain writer who pissed me off. I have no problem with the idea that maybe someone just doesn't like our work or think we are funny. What I have a problem with is the absolute ego and pretention displayed by the original letter we received from her stating that she would love to check out our show, and then two paragraphs about what she thinks is important in comedy followed by a statement that regardless if she publishes anything about us she will give us the professional courtesy of feedback (which never happened). There are several things wrong with that.

1. Making a list of the qualities that you think best represent good comedy is a self-righteous, ridiculous attempt at a power play. Go see it, write about it, reflect on it, but don't fucking tell me what you think makes a group funny in your "I'll come see you" letter. It undermines the hard work, time, money, heart, humor, thought, and courage (especially comedians --because we all know how big your balls have to be to lay it on the line like that) put into a show that they're just inviting you to so maybe one more person will come across their group's NAME!

2. You can't just NEVER respond to every email thanking you for coming and asking when that "Professional Courtesy" will happen. This person has no idea the amount of work that goes into three years of performing your asses off to make people laugh. After writing a manifesto on what you think is quality and extending your "professionally courteous" eye to our meer little "troupe" you should fucking reply to an email by atleast saying "your welcome. and thank YOU for the ticket."

The truth is, I don't give a shit what this lady thinks of me or my group. I am just so frustrated that she thinks she is so knowledgeable. Until this blog we have been nothing but courteous to her. And now we are having our own personal successes, we're up for an ECNY, we are getting interest around the country, we sell out our shows and we have a significant fan base who DO think we are funny and who DO thank us for complimentary tickets and who DON'T preface their RSVP's with well, I think comedy is this and that. Fuck you, lady.

If the rest of Fearsome agrees I'll replace "lady" with her name.