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 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.
Over the past decade, Jessica Kirson has told stand-up jokes on your television in places both expected (Last Comic Standing, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno) and unexpected (Celebrity Apprentice). She has won “Best Female Comic” in the MAC (the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs) Awards, and her numerous TV credits also include a one-hour special on Logo, “My Cookie’s Gone.” Next year, you’ll see her in a movie, School Dance, written and directed by Nick Cannon. Her energy is awesome and infectious.
Name: Jessica Shawn Kirson
Arrival date: 1999
Arrived from: New Jersey
When and where did you start performing comedy? New York City in 1999.
What was your best credit before moving here? I had no credits.
Why did you pick NYC over LA or anywhere else? I lived in New Jersey so I decided to start in NY. It seemed like the best place to start. When I did start I certainly didn’t think I would keep doing it.
How long did it take to get your first paid gig in NYC after moving here? About six months. Trust me, it wasn’t much.
How is this scene better/same/worse than the scene you moved from? Well, Jersey has a pretty good comedy scene, but the best in the world is in NYC. It has the most clubs and the most stage time.
Can you describe an “only in New York City” moment from your experience here? There is no other city in the world that you can jump from club to club on a Friday or Saturday night. I have done 7 shows in a night. I would do a spot then run to another club and on and on all night.
What tip would you give to any comedian who moves here? Jump into it. Go to open mics and introduce yourself. Always have humility. Hang out at the clubs and introduce yourself. Know that it takes a lot of hard work. There is no way to get around doing the open mics.
Where do you see yourself five years from now? In a mental institution.
Until then, please enjoy this extended clip recap by Jessica Kirson of her episode of Celebrity Apprentice. With commentary, graphics and the lovably graphic reactions by Phoebe Cates and Kevin Kline while Kirson is performing in front of them. Roll it!
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