What do they say about New York City: There are eight million stories, and sometimes it seems as though eight million of the people telling them think they're comedians? No, that's not it. It is a fact, though, that America's biggest city is also its biggest comedy mecca. Hollywood may be Hollywood, but New York City is where comedians are born funny, become funny or arrive to thrust their funny upon us. I think we should meet some of these people. This is a new recurring feature, a mini-profile of newcomers, up-and-comers and overcomers of New York's vibrant comedy scene. It's called Meet Me In New York.
Perhaps you're heading home for the holiday weekend? Sounds about as good a time to bring "Meet Me In New York" home for the holidays, too, by profiling a native New Yorker. Plenty of aspiring comedians move to the big city seeking fame and fortune. What about those of us who grew up right in the thick of it? Meet Damien Lemon (on Twitter, on Tumblr, on MySpace, photo by Aviva Klein). He presents a stand-up showcase every Wednesday night at the Laugh Lounge in the Lower East Side. And Lemon has a clever voice himself. Learn a little bit more about him now.
Name: Damien Lemon
Arrival date: Since birth
Arrived from: The womb, but I represent New York
When and where did you start performing comedy? December 2005, at Sal's Comedy Hole in the Village.
What was your first credit? I'm still working on my first TV credit, but I've featured for Dick Gregory at Carolines and opened for Aretha Franklin at Radio City Music Hall. I'm also working to repair that other credit.
How did growing up in NYC shape your desire to be in show business? I grew up between Brooklyn and Westchester County so I've always considered Manhattan "The City." The beautiful thing about Manhattan is you can see performers when they are a "nobody" and watch their talent develop and witness their long grind until…BOOM they are instant stars to the rest of the world. I think when you see that enough, you start to believe it can happen to you, if you have the talent and work hard.
Did growing up in NYC make it any easier to launch your comedy career here? The interesting thing is I went to college out of state (Clark Atlanta University) and I purposely did that, so I could remind myself what makes NY so special. When you are from NY, you can take the city for granted. That's why I have a respect for the transplants who come from outside of NYC to make it here, because it's a gamble, they may end up having to go back home defeated. Going back home for me would be getting on the subway, which is way different.
Have you ever considered moving to L.A. or elsewhere to further your career? I have, but it would have to make sense. I know there's opportunity out there, but I still have a lot of work to do here in NYC.
What tip would you give to any comedian who moves here? Get up A LOT! Take full advantage of all the clubs and rooms out here, there is stage time all over the city (including the outer boroughs). It may not be ideal, but there is time to be found. Also, go on auditions and meet people behind the scenes. There are opportunities to make money while you work on your craft. (All of these above tips are things I need to do more myself.)
Where do you see yourself five years from now? In five years I hope to have a couple of TV credits, a Comedy Central special, maybe a gig writing on a show, and doing stand-up around the country. Oh, and hopefully one thousand Twitter followers.
Where can you see him in NYC now and in the near future? You can catch me every Wednesday, 7 p.m., at the Laugh Lounge where I co-produce a show with fellow comedian Vladimir Caamano. Also you can find out about all my other shows via Twitter @dlemoncomedy and www.damienlemon.com
Roll a clip!
Which NYC comedian would you like to see me style and profile next for Meet Me In New York? Send your nominations to: thecomicscomic AT gmail DOT com