I'm writing to you guys from my friend Alia Janine's downstairs office in Bushwick, Brooklyn. I'm in NYC again doing a bunch of stand up shows. I like to say that coming here is like comedy bootcamp, but I think the real reason I like to come is that I like visiting the city where I first started this crazy adventure I've been on for the past seven years. It feels safe here, and in a lot of ways it feels like no one is watching. The scene in every city I've done stand up in is different and New York is definitely for workers. Los Angeles feels more like place where everyone wants to be seen. I think both things are important. You have to be invested in being good, but you also need to be thinking about an audience and being able to make what you're doing accessible. It's a hard line to tow for me because I know that my material can be intense, dark and cerebral.
I have found that I resonate a lot more with men than I ever thought I would. It's usually men that come up to me after shows to tell me they thought it was funny, and when my friends are in the audience they tell me it's always the "bro dudes" that laugh the most. It's something they notice because it's unlikely. I'm told that's the crowd I want to be appealing too....so ha! Fooled them! Maybe I've found the perfect way to sneak a disruption into the narrative and it'll trigger some enlightenment next time they encounter a rape scene on Game of Thrones or something like a sleeper agent in a terrorist cell, but the opposite of terrorism. IDK. I'm rolling with it.
I wrote a rape joke that's really more of a joke about how terrible the alt-right is and I'm proud of it. I got to deliver it on stage in the East Village on 9/11, which was a real blessing. It's a fun show and the hosts always say kind of fun stuff. Like last time, after I went up the host said "Sovereign Syre everyone! That wasn't a lady comic, that was a dude in a dress. Holy shit." This time a different host told me I was really funny then ended with "My ni**a." like he was Denzel Washington in Training Day. I didn't mind either thing. I get the sentiment behind it. New culture, new rules.
I had been going through a slump. I was struggling with creating new material, or even being good at delivering the stuff I've already got. It turns out I just can't take more than a few days off from doing it. It took a few shows, but I got my groove back, so the trip should be ending on a high note. I'm a bit of a perfectionist and I can really throw myself off worrying that I'm perfect every time. I don't give myself a chance to not be funny and to work on stuff even at open mics, which is the whole point of open mics. I will rehearse bits for an open mic. That's where I'm at. This trip I tried to relax and just go up and riff as much as I could before going into my act and it was good. It's taken me eight months but I'm figuring out how to be comfortable on stage.
This week on OBSERVATIONS with Sovereign Syre I have Josh Lawson. He's an actor (House of Lies) and a writer/director (The Little Death). We get into it about fundraising for independent movies, the future of film and how streaming platforms have changed the relationship between the artist and the audience. It's great stuff. Coming Tuesday.