To The Dreamers,
I am a comedian making a living uploading videos of funny sketches with me and a puppet.
When I look at it from the outside, sometimes I am like, “Hold up, this sh*t really worked?”
But the truth is I always believed. I just felt it. I woke up from a nap one day and it was in my head, so I started writing everything down. Sometimes you just know that your dream is meant for you, even if going for it feels like you are jumping off of a cliff.
My dream started before I could even recognize it. In middle school, I used to draw cartoon characters. I would do these little newspaper sketches of my teachers or people in class. For a long time, I had no idea I would transform those skills into a career.
Instead, I went to college for engineering. My junior year I dropped out for six months to try and figure out what I really wanted to do with my life. When I went back I took a communications class and I started editing videos. At first, I thought I wanted to be an editor. So I began practicing editing videos and figured I might as well try to be funny. It was just like the stuff I was doing in middle school but for adults. I posted one video onto the internet and people liked it. So I posted another one and from there it started snowballing.
Soon after, somebody asked me to host a show and I said, “No, I never hosted a show.”
He said,” We will give you $300.”
I was like, “Alright, cool.”
Once I felt the stage for the first time, I told myself, “This is it. This is my future.”
It was 2009. I said to my roommate, “I am going to be a comedian.”
He responded with a straight face, “But you are not funny like that.”
My mom wanted me to sign up for the airforce.
When I told her I wanted to be a comedian, she said, “You gotta be logical about things. You can’t make no money being a comedian.”
My dad didn’t say anything but he didn’t have to use words. You could see it on his face. His energy was very negative.
I pursued it anyway and the doubters continued to appear.
I was in LA and I was dating this girl who saw a puppet on my futon in the living room. She asked why I had a puppet.
So I explained, “Oh, I’m going to be in a relationship with the puppet. I am going to do this whole online skit.”
She said, “That shit sounds wack.”
She couldn’t see it. If you are a dreamer, you gotta remember that not everybody’s going to be able to see what you can see. You have to trust yourself before you trust anybody else.
The very first video I uploaded with a puppet got a million views. The second video I posted with the puppet got two million views.
So I bet my house on it, literally. I needed to go on tour, which meant I needed to pay for the venue, plane tickets, food and every other expense since I had no experience.
I sold all my shit: my computer, my camera and whatever else I had that was valuable.
But there was a problem. I called around to comedy clubs to book myself. I told club owners that I had a strong social media following and I could sell out. No one called me back. So I was like, F*ck it.
I felt every single emotion possible. I did not have a safety net because I walked away from my other businesses to do comedy. Comedy was how I wanted to make money.
It was moments like this where I felt crazy. I would look at social media and see all my friends buying houses and cars and getting engaged. Meanwhile, I am over here with no job just trying to figure shit out.
Then one day I was ordering food over the phone and the guy called me “buddy,” like I was a kid. Clearly, he thought I was young. So I realized that must be how I sound to club owners. And let’s be honest, if I was a guy who could sell out clubs, would I really be calling myself?
The agents and managers I met with couldn’t see my vision, so I made up this fake guy named Scott Rothenburg. I would call as Scott and use this fake Jewish agent voice. That’s how I booked my shows.
When you have a dream, you got to figure shit out.
My dad always said to me, “There is more than one way home.”
If one way isn’t getting the job done, you have to find another way.
After I booked my first club, I released the tickets on Saturday and I sold like three.
I said to myself, “Damn, maybe I was wrong. You know what I mean? “
I didn’t know what I was going to do if I couldn’t make my money back. I sold all my belongings and I would have been completely broke.
Thankfully, I posted the tickets again on a Tuesday and the first show sold out. Then, the second show sold out.
I had never headlined a tour before, so I took a featured act that had been on the road for years. He knew more of the game than me. Even though I was the leader in a sense because I headlined the tour, I still was able to pull back. Sometimes you’ve got to know to step back a little and play another position for the betterment of the team.
Ultimately, it all worked. We sold out the entire tour.
My proudest moment was when I realized I came up out of those rocky and uncertain moments and proved that my vision was right.
What I learned is going out on your own and pursuing your dream can be similar to being left on a deserted island. Your survival instincts kick in. Humans are built to survive. If you have never built a fire from scratch but you’re stuck on a deserted island, I bet you will figure it out because you know it’s possible.
So my advice is to go to the deserted island, jump off the cliff and expect there to be moments where you feel like you are going to smash right into the ground. I promise if you trust and believe in yourself you won’t let yourself die. Instead, you will find ways to survive and you will be one of the few in life who experience what it is like to fly.
So stop dreaming and go find your wings!