[Editor's Note: Up-and-comer comedian/actor Alex Falcone—who you've seen perform with Action/Adventure theater, as well in the live talk show Late Night Action w/ Alex Falcone—will be furnishing semi-regular updates from the road to give us an inside peek at the real life of a struggling comic. Want more Alex? Check out his website and his podcast Read It and Weep—a funny show about bad books, movies, and TV.]


Sunday, June 24th - Portland, OR

I'm going to be stand-up free for the next couple weeks and that makes me nervous; I was just getting into a groove. I don't know if other skills feel like they might leak out of your brain if you don't exercise them for a few days, but comedy definitely feels like that.

The first weekend is a vacation, which is probably healthy. The next weekend I'm doing a live taping of my hugely popular podcast, Read it and Weep (July 7th at 8pm at the Action/Adventure theater with a special guest appearance by Blogtown Overlord Humphrey!). Many, many comedians have started podcasts in the last couple years because we are overflowing with two commodities: opinions and spare time.

There are three kinds of comedy podcasts.
[1] Comedian interviews his famous friends.
[2] Comedian drinks beers with friends and talks about nothing.
[3] A show about something.

I don't have famous friends and I don't like shows about nothing, so I opted for #3. Specifically, we talk about bad books, movies, and TV because I thought it was a comedian's responsibility to know about popular culture. And it's served me well. When somebody at a show yells out that they love Justin Bieber, I'm ready. I watched his movie. When I'm working at an Indian casino on the Olympic peninsula, I know to tell everybody I'm team Jacob because his family is probably at the show.

My podcast is super weird in that we actually make money doing it. We have some advertising, and that's a start, but we also allow people to "sponsor a topic" i.e.: they pay us money to pick the book/movie/show we discuss each week. For most people it's just a chance to contribute to a show they love. Sometimes, it's more than that.

Recently, a fan paid us to read The Celestine Prophecy because he was trying to have sex with a girl and she said they should each read one book the other recommends. Instead of doing the obvious thing, running for the hills, he paid us to review it so he can fake his way through a conversation. And then get some from a girl with bad taste in books.

I'm probably cock-blocking him by writing about it here, but it's for the best. His cock probably deserves better.



Monday, June 25th - Portland, OR

Let's talk about money some more. Also, I would like each and every one of you to respond in the comments with how much money you make each week. It's only fair.

As an opener last weekend, I was paid $172.50. Since it was in Portland, I had no incidental expenses (plane tickets, gas, food, etc) so I made $172.50. You might remember (you don't) that I netted the exact same amount for my Tacoma weekend and this time I didn't have to drive 500 miles, and got to see my fiancee during the day.

So let's say I was a full time feature. I'd probably be on the road between 40 and 50 weeks/year and I'd be making a whopping $7,700, around half of federal poverty. Very sexy.

Add to that my podcast dollars and Blogtown salary and … I'm still not making it rain. Walmart pays better and I don't have health insurance to get screwed out of.

How do you make money as a comedian? I can headline, eventually. That'll help. That'll double or better my salary for the week. After a couple years, I could be making $40k if I work my ass off and get pretty lucky. But if you want real money, it's the three Cs of comedy. Colleges, corporates, and cruises.

The people I know who have done cruise ships say the worst part isn't the clean, sanitized shows you're forced to do for people who don't appreciate you. It's not the travel. It's not the food. The worst part is the loneliness. You're on a ship for a week at a time and only doing one or two hour-long performances. The rest of the time you can be a tourist, but that's about it. You don't know anybody on the ship, and the Internet costs $.50/minute so even Facebook won't keep you company very long.

And yet, despite their extreme uncoolness and general non-desirability, cruise jobs are extremely hard to get. Harder than colleges and corporate shows which are probably more fun and pay similarly well. All of these require an agent, and that's not easy to pull off either.

So while I wait for the three Cs to come calling, feel free to pay me $50 to watch a movie you don't like.