The Millennial PhD: Creative Survival at Work & Beyond

Ep 11. Finding Joy Outside Academia ft. comedian Dominique Nisperos (Part 2)

December 22, 2021 Carmela Season 1 Episode 11
The Millennial PhD: Creative Survival at Work & Beyond
Ep 11. Finding Joy Outside Academia ft. comedian Dominique Nisperos (Part 2)
Show Notes Transcript

In this first half of this interview last week we talked about Dominique’s turning point from active PhD candidate to full time Comedian, and the reasons behind it.

We left off in the middle of a moment of revelation for Dominique.

Here in PART TWO we continue that conversation and dive deeper into Dominique's process of pursuing their dream as a comedian.

While you’re listening remember to follow @themillennialphd on Instagram for up to date information about this podcast and other creative survival in academia content. You can follow me @mela_moves and you can connect with Dominique by following @domloveslife.

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Support the show

Dr. Carmela Muzio Dormani - aka your host, Mela - is a sociologist, dancer, and creative consultant.

Learn more about Mela and get access to creative resources at

The Millennial PhD is all about building community. Join the conversation:
- Connect with Mela on IG @melamuzio
- Follow @themillennialphd for up-to-date info on the podcast & blog.
- Email with feedback.

Speaker 1 (00:12):

Welcome back to the millennial PhD where we took art, creativity, and radical humanity in motion. I'm Carmela, the host of the show, and this is part two of a special two-part interview with comedian Dominique Neros. If you haven't already, I highly recommend you go back and listen to part one of the interview, which was included in last week's episode, aka episode 10 of this podcast. Before continuing on this part, and while you're listening, remember to follow at the millennial PhD on Instagram for UpToDate information about this podcast and other creative survival in academia content. You can follow me at me underscore moves and you can connect with Dominique by following At Dom Love's Life. In the first half of this interview last week, we talked about Monique's turning point from active PhD candidate to full-time comedian and the reasons behind it. We left off in the middle of a moment of revelation for Dominique here in part two. We continue that conversation and dive deeper into Dominique's process of pursuing their dream as a comedian. Enjoy. 

Speaker 2 (01:20):

Can you talk about a little bit more about kind of when you made the decision, cuz you've alluded to this a little bit so I don't wanna project it onto you, but when you made the decision to, I guess, like pour more into that cup than into the academia cup. Cause it feels like there was a moment where you said like, Actually I'm gonna go all in on comedy. Is that 

Speaker 3 (01:39):

Yeah, that's fair. So Patricia Hill Collins talks about, uh, reflections on or learning from the outsider within, which is like legit legitimating, the lived knowledge and experience that people who are marginalized within the academy bring to it. Um, so seeing all these people talk about her work was just super empowering and really validating, considering that I'd spent probably like the last seven years in an academic institution that was like very hostile to me as an academic, as a woman, as a person of color, that like, I can, I can't even name all, like all the microaggressions and I don't even like calling them microaggressions, but like these acts of erasure, these acts of racist violence, These like subtle forms of, um, conveying to me that I did not belong there and I was not welcome in my attempts to improve or change the culture of this place was not welcome. 

And so Patricia Hill Collins gave her keynote address and she talked about how she was writing about black feminist thought mm-hmm. <affirmative> and the knowledge of black women and how she was working with a grad student. And she was like, You know who I wish I had, I wish I could talk about Moms Maybely. And Moms Maybely is a stand of comedian, uh, who's famous. I, I can't remember if she was like speaking from the 1930s and the 1940s, a black woman comedian. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> super popular. Um, and I was Oh, comedy. She was like talking about comedy and she's talking about like the significance of it and like how it's a, a source of conveying knowledge and like this I know. Yes, I know this. And then she talked about, you know, being the outsider within grad school and how awful that is. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. 

And she said this thing, which it was like thinking about it now, like, and talking about it makes me emotional because she said like, it's a very negative space and it's not a direct quote, but she was like, it's, it can be like very defeating. It can be very detrimental to your spirit. So if you feel like you can't make it in grad school, if you feel like you can't survive grad school, you have permission to leave. Mm. And I was like, fuck my icon. This person who was like responsible for me wanting to stay in sociology except was like here is like the preeminent, intersectional sociologist in all of the country. Right. In all of the world. Right. Right. Telling me that she has a fucking hard time and that we groom people to go into grad school and then they land, they're parachuted into these like, hostile environments that break their spirit down. 

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I was like, Ugh, this is resonating in me so hard. And when I say I was in grad school, it wasn't just me studying, like I was on the doctoral students council, I was doing student activism and student advocacy. So it was like really involved Right. In grad school. Then it was like such a fight and a slug and a hassle. And then at the end of the day, Right, like you talked about earlier, like, where's the joy from? Like what's the happiness? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. And I was like, uh, dang. So I think it was like the confluence of, of this, like, it wasn't like one specific moment, but I think the pandemic happening allowed me to be like, Fuck this. Right. I'm not even gonna pretend that I give a shit about this right now. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I'm a b, D and I can be ABD forever. 

I can mm-hmm. <affirmative>, if I ever wanna finish, I can knuckle up. I can sit down. And when I really feel like writing this dissertation, find someone to be on my committee, do all that stuff at the current moment, life is too fucking short. And that doesn't make me happy. And what does make me happy is writing sketches and writing packets, even if I'm not gonna get the job. Like, I've written so many packets and it was wild to me. What it made me feel like I made the right choice was in the summer of 2020. This is like a few months into the pandemic, late night shows. We're having a reckoning and being like, Right, Oh, Black lives do matter after all. And we don't have any of them on our staff. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, so let's change it up. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, let's try and recruit by APO writers. 

Let's send these packets out far and wide. This is like what my dissertation would be on. And I shouldn, maybe I shouldn't say too much, but, um, there was a moment there for me where I was writing and I was like, recovering from c I still had long covid, like shit was popping off of like, I was like getting shingles and like, do I have a stroke? Like what's happening with my body? Did not know. Still kind of don't. But I was writing and like with a fury and a passion, like my life and soul depended on it. Mm. And I got further in that packet writing season than I'd ever gotten. And so to ex to give a little bit of back story, late night shows, um, like, uh, Stephen Colbert, uh, like John Oliver, like, uh, Trevor Noah, like all of these late night comedy shows, they usually recruit by inviting people to submit packets with a, like a specific set of instructions. 

Like, here's the topic you're gonna write about, uh, on this member of Congress or on like, this oil spill, let's say. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And it has to be this length and here's the formatting and you need to write it in the voice of Trevor Noah, John Oliver. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, Stephen Colbert, um, what have you. And you get usually like a week to do it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> maybe it depends on like when you get the announcement or when it gets email gets forwarded to you, um, for snl similar, but that's like a packet of sketches. And any case it's like, you have a week to write this monologue in the voice of whomever. And I like poured my heart and soul into those packets. And I had so much content as well because I was like mm-hmm. <affirmative>, this is how I process what's going on in the world. 

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, this is like, I write sketches about settler colonialism. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I write sketches about racism. I write sketches about interpersonal. I take all of that shit that's going on in my life when I'm getting stopped in the security line. And I'm like, Is this random? No, it's racial profiling. And then I make it into a sketch and I'm like, I, I use all that shit that's happening to me. I like digest it, distill it, make it into jokes that will make myself and other people laugh and also get them to think differently. And that's like what I fucking love. Cause like uhhuh <affirmative>, it's something that I feel like only I can do this. Yeah. I know plenty of people can research brilliant articles and write beautifully on topics of inequality. Um, I think I can too. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it's a different, it scratches a different itch than like the thing that wakes me up at two in the morning. It was is like a joke about Rosa Luxembourg. You know, like, it's like that's so stupid. Like, first of all, who is like waking up for like no, that's like the nerdiest thing. I feel bad. I mean that's pretty special. I guess I'm gonna tell you the joke that occurred to me at like two or three in the morning one time, which is just go 

Speaker 2 (08:55):

For it. 

Speaker 3 (08:57):

Uh, how do you get to the revolution? You mute it. 

Speaker 2 (09:06):

Is it okay how 

Speaker 3 (09:09):

Practice, Practice, practice. It's stupid. I think I tweeted that in too. Very dumb <laugh>. 

Speaker 2 (09:18):

I'm gonna put that on a graphic for the social media for this <laugh>. 

Speaker 3 (09:23):

Oh my God. They're gonna be some very happy socialists and everyone else. But, um, yeah. And that's, that's kind of like when I started, I started saying I was a comedian first. I started saying I was a comedian and sociologist. I was like coming out kinda like, and being like, I'm <inaudible> sociologist. And I was just like, No, I'm a comedian. Like I'm not doing, I have all the training of a sociologist. I have the mind and thinking of a sociologist, but I'm not actively creating sociology at the moment. I'm using the sociology. I have to inform the comedy that I make. And this is all I'm doing. I'm writing standup, I'm writing sketches, I'm writing songs. Um, I'm doing shows. This is what I do. And it's funny cause people are like, And do you have a side hustle? And I'm like, I have a main hustle and that's all I have. And I'm fortunate enough to be in a position to do that. Um, not everybody can. 

Speaker 2 (10:22):

So I wanna, um, respond to some of the stuff you were saying. First of all, um, thank you again for sharing. Cause you, you shared some pretty profound stuff about getting covid and, and going to the association for Black Sociologists. Um, and for, for you to go and see Patricia Collins speaking. Um, and for her to say basically not like stay fight through, We need your voice, which I feel like gets put out there quite a bit. But to say like you have permission to leave, um, uh, that, that sounds like it was a really powerful experience for you. Um, and I'm happy that, that you were able to, to have that at a moment that it really spoke to you. Um, and then just talking about kind of this story about how you really went all in on comedy. Um, I did wanna ask, um, I guess I wanna ask for people who are listening who might have, I guess, similar dreams or similar hopes, what is a rose a thorn for you right now about being now being kind of a full-time, full-time main hustle comedian? Um, and then what is some advice for like first or second steps that you would give someone who was hoping to pursue something similar? 

Speaker 3 (11:41):

Sure. Okay. Um, arose is definitely like the feeling of standing in front of a room full of people and having them erupt. Laughter. It's something that came outta my mind, mind. Um, I used to have in conversation with folks, like just say off the, off the cuff, like very funny things and people would be like, Oh, what's that from? And like, would think that I was referencing a movie or a stand. Like, I dunno. I was like, that's just, that's from me. That's my mind. Um, so it's like extremely validating to have the immediate feedback of like, I created something funny and it brought so much joy to your body that it like, popped out as an audible explosion of laughter. Um, that's arose. Um, getting really close to getting closer to getting jobs. Like making it to the last like 10, five people for a late night job feels remarkable. 

It feels like progress. A thorn, Oh, there's so many thorns. Like anytime I like go to a mic and I'm like, Oh, that one sucked. Cool. You know, like, um, or just staring at a blank computer screen and being like, literally write anything. Write a dump. Like this doesn't have to be good, but just like poop something out onto the page for a little bit. Like, you'll get to the, this is just to like clear the passage away so you can get to a job. A thorn is, I feel like I'm going to like a bunch of thorns is like comparing myself to literally anyone else pursuing comedy. And I think social media is a huge part of that because, uh, like I've tried to like turn off likes, uh, or just like hide them. I don't wanna see views. Um, I wish I didn't have to be on social media, but like you're talking about seeing my journey on social media and it's like, this is, this is the platform that we have for better or for worse, this very flawed thing that can be manipulated and skew people's understandings of reality. 

Yeah. Is also the currency that I have to like, share my cultural political capital. My social capital is like actually social media unfortunately. Um, but with all that, if I, if I had to talk to somebody to like a little me little dom who was like, I wanna start out in comedy. What are my first steps? What are my second steps? Um, I would say my first steps is literally just like, write stuff down. Anything down, anything you think is funny. Um, and it doesn't have to, like, people say like, you have to write a sketch or, you know, like you have to take classes here or there and everywhere. I don't think that's true. I think some of the best material I've ever come up with is literally me just talking to myself and writing it down in my journal and just being like, I'm gonna talk through this thought. 

And I hear it out loud and it makes me laugh. Um, maybe you have a, you know, different people have different learning styles, but I don't think you necessarily have to start out taking classes. I know plenty of people who didn't. Um, and when I was little, one of the first humorous things I wrote was like, my aunt got a typewriter, but it was like, I don't know how old you are, which is fine, but for folks who were born at a very particular part of the eighties, there was a time before computers when they were like, souped up typewriters. And it was like, this shit is crazy. You could see three lines of texts at a time when school up and down an entire document, but you can't edit it without like deleting all the way back to the point you wanna edit. And so I wrote like these souped up stories that were like, I, now I understand that they were like parodies of the news, but I was, I was, you know, it was like I would write fake comic books to my myself and just be like, This is the adventurous of Rat Man and bobbing. 

Oh, I was like very, you know, it was like so stupid stuff. But I would say just write things down. Like write down your thoughts. If something's funny to you, write it down. Keep a journal. Um, save those things because your mind is your biggest asset. That's your creativity. And the more you listen to it and the more you realize what's funny to you, that's like how you find your voice. That's the voice you have before you go into any classroom, before you go into, um, a theater and trying to your voice. And I felt very fortunate because I had five years of undergraduate comedy experience, writing and performing and producing sketch and directing. And I didn't have any old white person telling me I wasn't funny. I had my peers and we thought it was funny and that was all that fucking mattered. And we had the audiences who we like, sold out our shows and paid money to see us. 

And that was all that mattered. So I would say before even going to someone else to validate you, validate yourself, Write your shit down, find out what makes you laugh. If you have friends who you like, share a similar sense of humor, um, work with 'em, talk with them, maybe pursue with them. You can go to Mike's and do all that other stuff. But that's like a, that's a social experiment. That's a social interaction where you find out like, does this random person who is here, like what I said? And I feel like that's maybe step, like further steps down the line is like, when you start going to people who are random or who are gatekeepers, I think that's where people can get caught up and like find themselves leaving. Because comedy is like such a completely subjective experience. Comedy like anything. And this is like a little foco for anyone who cares about sociology. 

And he also like stole his ideas from other people. Let's be clear, But <laugh>, um, yeah, I'm dragging Foco <laugh>, but it's like, it's a tool that can be used for anything. It can be used to oppress people or it can be used to uplift people. That's an ethics that's entirely dependent on you. So like, my ethics is like uplift women and people of color and really any oppressed, marginalized group, gender marginalization, lgbtq q i a plus people, like disabled folks, older people, like, don't be a dick is kind of like, how I see it <laugh> 

Speaker 2 (17:57):


Speaker 3 (17:58):

But outside of that, it's like literally the only job of a comedian is to make another person laugh. And that person could be you, you know, it could be your friend. That's where you start is like making somebody else laugh. Um, but I never wanna make anyone else laugh in a way that, where I'm like, no, like, I didn't mean to make you laugh at me. Like, like, I don't want, That's not the type of exchange I wanna have. I'm like, I wanna be in charge of where the humor comes from and what feels right. So, um, that was a very long winded way of saying like, first step, write your shit down, figure out what you like, and then, um, then you can go to Mike's, then you can try stand up, then you can talk to a cl like a teacher or something. 

They'll help you get the formatting. But I think what's most important that a lot of people don't, don't have the opportunity to figure out is like how to hone their voice. Um, and that's like, you are gonna be you no matter what. And you shouldn't try and like hammer yourself into a different shape. So like, be aware of where you're at and what you like, and then you can, you'll be like, good. Not like it's gonna be easy or you won't find environments that won't be welcoming, but at least you'll know what's funny to you and who you are. And that That's great. 

Speaker 2 (19:11):

I love that. Um, I wanna respect your time. Um, I have two more questions. Is, is that okay? 

Speaker 3 (19:17):

Yeah, sure. I, I'm good. I just kind of put this as a parameter, but I can go later 

Speaker 2 (19:21):

Too. Amazing. Um, I wanted to, I wanted to ask you about, um, economic survival, uh, as, as a comedian, um, you don't have to go like super into the weeds, but I know I'm actually meant to say this before, earlier when we were talking about, um, how academia is like not an economically viable, um, for, for most people at this point. Um, and I remember, um, that for me, dance and, and you were talking about comedy and other kind of performance or like arts based things were always framed as like not viable, not an option. Um, and economically like super unstable, which they can be. Um, but at a certain point I saw a lot of parallels between academia and the performing arts, except that the performing arts <laugh> were so much more joyful. Um, but I basically just wanted to ask, um, uh, how, what advice might you give to someone or how are you thinking about kind of, um, how does surviving economically as a comedian work out for you? Um, 

Speaker 3 (20:27):

Yeah. Um, that's a really great question because I was fortunate enough to have a me, like a medium paying job with a lot of flexibility in terms of like, I can do my work at various, as long as I get the work done, I'm fine. I don't have to be at a physical workplace very often. And that was like true even before the pandemic where it was like, there might be two or three days a week where I need to be in a physical location. And outside of that, anything I do I can do whenever and wherever as long as it gets done by the deadlines. Um, and that I also had health insurance mm-hmm. <affirmative> through that job that's like, I cannot under explain how valuable it was for me to have really good health insurance from a part-time job like that. It was like a, a godsend. 

Um, I would've been lost without it. So that, like, in terms of economic security, part of it was like being very lucky to have this job that was tied to working at an academic institution, um, to being a grad student and really loving that environment until I didn't there, I won't get too into the weeds on that, but, um, so it was like, this is a good sustainable place. I like what I do, I like the people I work with for the most part. Um, and I have health insurance that helps cover my mental health care, that helps cover my doctor's visits. And like, I even that was before Covid, and can you imagine after it was like, thank God for this insurance, right? Sure. Um, and I also have a partner who's working, uh, and is making more money than I am. So like that was like part I, the thing was like I'm living with a person who has a better job than me and like, we're cost sharing, we're splitting expenses, but in large part I'm able to live more comfortably because this person has a job. 

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And that remains true, um, uh, that I am like able to be eco more economically secured because of savings, um, and assets. Right Now, when I say like, my main job is comedy, that is true. This is like all I'm doing, um, to make money is like taking on, um, small writing projects, uh, short term projects. I've never worked as a staff writer. Like that's the goal. And wanna talk about like writing packets. There are different kinds of jobs that you can get as a comedian in terms of writing comedy. Um, you can write other people's content like copy for ads or for other services. I know people who like write the blurbs on like a streaming services, um, synopsis of a show. Um, and a lot of those are like one off contract jobs. Um, and then there are union jobs. So like we know that we love a union, we support them. 

The Writer's Guild of America jobs have a set pay income scale. So like that's the goal, right? It's like the job where you get paid a living wage of like maybe entry level depending on the type of show mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, depending on the number of episodes, it's like 80,000 a year, whatever mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But that's where I'm going. This is like my goal for 2022, I'm going to speak it into being yes a, um, sustainable, amazing job in a writer's room that supports bipo and women, uh, and lgbtq a like plus writers. Um, but honestly I would, having been in the academy, I'm like, I would also work in a racist writer <laugh>, I just need that credit. Um, so for most of last year I was employed and then I was laid off in the fall. Um, which sad trombone has been, uh, hard for a couple more reasons than I anticipated. 

Like there's the economic stuff of like, okay, we're okay, we have X amount saved up. And I have been working on, um, these like smaller jobs of like writing for a YouTube channel, uh, working on other people's content, um, doing acting gigs of, you know, like a day here, a day there. Um, I also do acting, um, and I like, I will say this, I have taken so many jobs that when I went and got my headshot printed and they, like, there's a deal where it's like you can print like a bunch of headshot. Like I hate these head shots now they're, it was pre pandemic. And I'm like, I don't look like that anymore. God bless. Um, but when the guy was printing them and putting my resume on the back and he was like, You have a lot on here. And it was like, Oh, is that bad? 

And he was like, No, it's good. You have a lot of experience. And I was like, Dude, most people not. And he was like, No, most people haven't done that much given I'm like, I have acted in like Venmo, MasterCard commercials. I've acted in like stain Stainmaster carpet commercials for like these non-union jobs for the internet mm-hmm. <affirmative> that might pay like 200 to 500 bucks, right? Yeah. And I'm like, that's money. It's a credit. I can use it for my real. Um, so a lot of it is like been working up to these things. And a lot of that started out with me doing like, unpaid things on other people's comedy videos. So like unpaid work on funny or die or unpaid work on like someone's spec thing for like comedy central streaming, you know, like, um, a lot of it came from me doing favors for other comedians who didn't have money to pay actors. 

And so I would do these like free jobs so I could get a credit on my, um, resume and also get the footage and use that on my reel and then put it like, send that to people. So it's like a lot of it is, um, a bit of like a trading up in currency. And now I'm at the point where I am getting paid. And I will say this, I recently said no to a job, which like, okay, lemme tell you something though. I feel that there was a point where, like I said, like my resume looks like I don't even, I don't even have a copy of it anywhere nearby, but it looks like the font is like tiny. This type piece is so tiny. I've, I've directed, um, I was directing a team for a while and that was like a, a good chunk. 

Um, but it's like, it's all a balance of like how many small jobs can I take on that will help build somebody else's portfolio or help them towards their goal and help sustain me, but also give me enough time and flexibility to work on my art and my craft. Because that's the literal only way. If I'm writing pilots, if I'm producing sketches, if I have, um, tape of my standup routines, if I'm doing shows, if I'm doing open mics, like all of that is unpaid work that helps get me better to get the job. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I will say, I said no to a job because this is very strange. I had, I had been invited to apply for a sketch show where it's like, okay, you're asking me to send you my stuff. And I did. And there was a lot that was a little bit strange about it. 

Um, I won't give too much detail, but it was like, it was based in Asia. So I was like, that's interesting. I am, I'm not from this country. I am Asian American, but this is interesting that you're asking American writers to work for the show. I don't know all the details. I applied and then I was like reached out to, to be told that I didn't get the job, which I was like, this is in usually like, I either don't hear back or I hear like, Oh, you made it to this round, good luck. But in that same call, I was offered a production position and I was told what the pay scale was, which was just a little bit above minimum wage, and the title was an entry level title. However, the job description was of a, like a coordinator or a managerial production position. 

Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and I, I know what the going rate is for people with my level of experience in New York City. And that is most people who direct, um, or like if you're working with Sketch and you're noting a team, it's usually around $20 an hour. It's not super high, but if you have experience working with a theater, it usually might bump you up like another $5, like 25. Like I'm being like very real with the numbers. And there are some, um, organizations where they're like, base pay, everybody makes 25 or just being egalitarian. And they wouldn't, in talking with this person offering me the job, I thank them and I said, you know, this really doesn't sound like what you're asking matches with the title, nor the pay scale. If you wish to hire someone at this pay scale and for this title, I would love to be considered. 

If that's not possible, I can definitely work for that rate as something like a writer's assistant or a script coordinator, which shows do I never heard back mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But it took so much work for me to be able to say no to that. And the reason I said no was because all of these red flags were going off in terms of like, why would you, um, offer me this in this way? Like, it's kind of weird to be told that I'm like, you asked me to apply for a writer and now you don't want me as a writer, but like, production and just the interaction, it just like didn't feel super great and I had to really trust my instincts to be like, will you really truly take any job that would be detrimental to you? I think what what it was was the culmination of like a lot of internal work mm-hmm. 

<affirmative> of me, like literally listening to the cues in my body, which sounds strange, but like, you know, we're talking earlier about like how not to get too deep, but capitalism thrives off of us being alienated from our own humanity and alienated from our own bodies. It thrives off of us working past exhaustion to the point where we're hurting ourselves to the point where our spirits are diminished to our, where our souls hurt, Right? Like mm-hmm. <affirmative> capitalism asks us to grind ourselves up for what? And I was like, I don't if this were a friend, if this were someone I loved who was like, I love this project, Here is what it is. And I supported that vision and I was like, I love you. I understand where this fits in the universe of things I wanna support either because you're a person I love, or this is a project that sounds so perfect for what I would wanna create in the world. 

I might even do it for free. Don't tell anyone I, I still want this. Like I, it does like, there is something that I can't avoid, which is like, it's part of survival. And also like the difference of making your living from the thing that you love that I desperately aspire to mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. But to have all that information in my body being like, this doesn't feel right. This feels bad. This feels like you would be doing a whole lot of work for not a lot of money for a thing that doesn't really further the art that you're making that wouldn't even be really be using your voice or supporting the, the voices of people you love or the voices of creators you trust or the voices of people who are in alignment with your voice. There are all these things where I was like, like my body doesn't feel good and I, I, I don't think I should take this even though I'm like, I would love to wash the floors at like X TV show that I love or like, you know, this other thing. 

But I said no and I absolutely made right decision because within days I was, um, finding out about what the show was asking for it. Like I had seen their casting calls circulate, um, asking for very problematic descriptions of actors that I was like, I don't know what this is for, but I wouldn't wanna be a part of this. Like, looking for chesty Asian actor, like looking for chesty Asian woman, um, looking for black actor due to white face. Um, and I was just like, I don't know what this is and I don't have the background, but it doesn't sound like what I would wanna do. And then I found through the grapevine, I found out that the person they had hired, um, in my place quit within a couple days. And then the show kind of folded. So it's like, this sounded like it wasn't a good fit for a number of reasons and I'm really, I'm glad in this instance that I didn't compromise these things that are important to me in terms of my values, in terms of my self worth, in terms of like what I know my work is worth, um, in order just to take this opportunity that was actually kind of not really what it seemed to be. 

Um, and I'm not trying to like hate on anyone who like in that show world or whatever, but it was just like, it was like a real reckoning to be like, I love to do this. I want to do this as my main and only hustle from now until the end of time. But I also don't wanna just accept anything that seems like it will be good 

Speaker 2 (34:19):


Speaker 3 (34:20):

To like, put on my resume if it's at like all these other costs. So yeah. Um, I kind of, I feel like I went all around in terms of answering your question. I mean, like the 

Speaker 2 (34:30):

Pld No, that's, that's great because it's so hard to say no to stuff, especially when it's in the field that you love, or like the creative thing that you, you want to pursue and you want the legitimacy or you want the line on the, the resume. Um, and so going into the details about that story I think is helpful for people to hear. I and b I'm so happy to hear that you got the affirmation on the other end of it of kind of, you know, cuz sometimes, you know, it could just hang and you might still be thinking about like, was that the right choice? But it's, Yeah. It's great that you kind of, you know, you heard afterwards that intuitions were, were in line with probably what was going down in that situation. 

Speaker 3 (35:12):

Right. But I maybe it's also like just being a bipo and like the children who immigrants to just be like you said no to a job. Like there was, I feel like there was like an ancestral judgment of like, what are you doing? Do you really want this or not? And um, and I think the way that I combat that doubt is like to show up and like write every day to like create every day, um, to work on it every day. And I've been, 

Speaker 2 (35:37):

Oh, sorry, go ahead. 

Speaker 3 (35:38):

Like I've, I've been really hustling and like trying to a book and do shows, and I feel like it's one of those things where it's like, you know, going back to social media, it's like the more that I publicize this is what I do, the more people believe it and then the more people, Oh, I know that you do this. Do you wanna do this show? And like, I, um, part of my job is posting on social media for better or for worse. And I guess that goes back to the advice is like, um, you know, there is the finding your voice and writing stuff down and further down the line is like presenting yourself to the world. Um, 

Speaker 2 (36:11):

I think that I wanted to say that when you post the social media stuff for all of its negatives, which I think are really substantial, um, it also inspires people. Um, and I did find that with dance, which I started posting and presenting myself as a dancer some years ago. And then afterwards, even recently, I, you'll see people in talk to people and people are like, Oh, I was so inspir inspired by where you were doing. And I'm like, really? Like, I thought, I thought I was being like, almost like selfish and self-indulgent because I was pursuing the thing that I loved and I was seeing it in that way. Um, but I do think when people see other folks pursuing the thing, you know, whether it's comedy or writing or you know, entertainment or performing, it gives people heart to say like, Oh, like, cool. 

And someone else who was on this show talked ab uh, who was on this podcast a couple episodes ago, talked about your li this like analogy she gave of like, your life has to be like an outfit. Um, she pursues singing, but she also works full time. And she said she's not shy about talking about that because she's like, I needed the economic stability of having a job, a job that was flexible enough to pursue singing, but also to not feel the pressure for it to look one specific way. Um, I think that goes in line with, with some of what you were just sharing a moment ago too. Um, and just for, for, for, for anyone <laugh> anyone out there, Um, I think like, it doesn't have to be drop everything and pursue the one thing. It can, it can be, but it can also be like, I'm, this is gonna be a permanent pa side hustle, you know, whatever quote unquote side hustle, or this is gonna be something that whatever we can figure our lives in different ways. Um, and I think just having, having that can be, can be really enriching. 

Speaker 3 (38:07):

Yeah. Um, and a part of like, I will say a part of like the being unemployed currently thing, like I didn't get those super unemployment benefits. Um, I start on that, but like, if I still had my job, I would still be working my job. You know, like I, I don't wanna poo that. It's just also been like, I found out in January that, uh, I think, yeah, like almost a year ago I found out like pretty early on that I was going to be laid off. So I was like really hardcore applying to, um, industry jobs. Like comedy jobs. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and then even like since the lay, I've been applying to so many jobs, so it's not like I'm, I'm just like being like, Yeah, I'm chill. I'm good. Like I was a sustainable, I know that it's not, I just have this like, I have the good fortune and privilege to be economically okay. 

Mm-hmm. <affirmative> for a little bit longer. For like Yeah. For a bit. Um, I also do like, even though I have the support of a partner, uh, who is like mine, I will say that's also very important to me personally to bring in my own money. Yeah. Like, that's something that's been a part of my life since I was a teenager. Um, like there hasn't been a time where I like it didn't work. Yeah. At least several jobs. So it's kind of a weird place to be in, to be like, and also a very privileged place to be like, I'm economically stable enough to make comedy my full-time job. And I actually had the feedback from another friend who does comedy full-time was like, You're doing a lot of standup. And I was like, I took it as a compliments. I'm like, Yeah, like this is what, this, this is the only thing I can do. 

Right. Like, this is like, and I say that literally like, I, I would rather, uh, like be a barista or bartend and do comedy then like, I don't know, do something that's gonna take up. Cause there are jobs that end when you clock out and there are jobs that don't. Right. And I do not want, I do not want a job that's going to take up my head space and like steal from my creativity after I clock out. So I'm like, like, you wanna see me, uh, like making latte art in a minute. I don't know. But like, for the time being, uh, this is what it is, I'm like, fingers, toes, nipples crossed. Like, this is, um, gonna pay off soon. I do, I don't know. I feel like it's gonna happen, but maybe that's just the delusion. 

Speaker 2 (40:42):

It's gonna pay off. It's definitely gonna pay off. I could feel it. Thank you. Um, I wanted to ask you what, right now, just for right now, what does a typical day look like for you? 

Speaker 3 (40:53):

Oh, that's a great question. Um, I wake up at like eight. I, uh, have my little morning tea. Um, I do a practice of journaling called Morning Pages that is taken from the artist's way, which is like, I just write, um, three pages of literally anything. Uh, just like to get it out. Um, and then I write, which is like, uh, so it's like writing the morning pages, get my coffee or whatever, might get a snack. Um, and sometimes it's just like writing sketches, writing standup writing songs. Like, it depend also might depend on what I have going on in a given week. Um, this week I had a show where I am doing a pair Christmas song, so I've been working on that. Um, I also, oh, I missed a piece cuz sometimes I have to wake up at like, and first thing, so like 8:00 AM Um, I have to post a social media because there are certain times of day where things will get circulated. 

Um, I like, you know, there are analytics, there are like, reasons for this. Yeah. Um, so I might have to like, okay, I have to like, make this post or write this copy and then put it in. And like, also like, phones are trash sometimes and that's like, Oh, like man, this takes forever. Um, which takes up more time than I would like. Yeah. Um, then it's like, so it might be like media posts, morning pages, writing. Um, and if there's a packet out, um, then it's like, packets usually will take priority over everything. So I'll do like morning pages, go straight into packet, ignore social media. Um, there aren't that many packets right now. It's toward the end of the year, so they're like not really happening. That usually happens kind of like, sometimes it's random and periodically. Um, and sometimes it's like mainly like the big shows higher in the summer. 

Um, so I guess I'm giving you like a typical day, but like how that changes seasonally. Um, like might have something for lunch, I always write down that I'm gonna go work out. I like, haven't in a minute. Um, and that's also like take care of stuff around the house. Like, uh, I try to get out of the house at least once a day and go for a walk. Also. Doesn't always happen. Um, I also try to meditate every day. Like there things I break down to do. And then I, there's what actually happens, which is like, sometimes, um, like the other day I was trying to write and there was an issue with our windows. So they had to come and like, fix our windows and yeah, especially I have to get outta the house. Um, cause I can't really think. Um, and then every now and then I'll have like a doctor's appointment with like, the long covid follow up stuff. Um, come back, like start, um, doing dinner or like cooking. Um, usually I feel like I'm grazing all day. Um, as you can tell, like my schedule is like very flexible. It really varies. Um, I also try to talk to my family at a certain point. So like I'll um, text my mom, call my sister. Um, what else do I do? 

Watch the, Okay, this is like another thing that's like depressing to practice writing jokes. I have to, um, look up headlines. So I, I try to do this frequently, but not every day. Cause I find it too depressing. And this is like weedsy so sorry. It's like getting the weeds. I look up headlines and then I write jokes based off of headlines. Um, and it's a practice that I had like more sharply during packet season. But it's like, um, when you apply for like a Jimmy Fallon job, they'll ask you for 10 monologue jokes. And that muscle is just something that you have to practice, uh, every day in order to just be able to write a joke, like to turn out a joke. Um, so that's also a thing I do. I also just feel like, honestly, like sometimes I'll be like in the middle of washing dishes or fold laundry, doing something stupid and a dumb thought will occur to me and I'll like go to write it down. 

And then, um, I might riff on that for a bit and like develop standup. If I'm going anywhere, like if I'm taking the train to a doctor's appointment, I'm usually like, here's a script for a show I'm doing. And I have it with me and I'm memorizing. Um, so like I try to do that all the time. Or like, I was going on the way to visit a friend and I had to practice my standup and I'm just practicing it on the train, looking like an unwell person. And I'm just like mumbling. Like, thank God I have the mask now. Cause I'm just like mumbling to myself behind a mask and like, no one can kind of hear exactly, but I'm like, I'm making cock jokes. It's like horrendous. Like I'm a terrible person. Um, so that is say it's like I'm doing comedy even if I'm like doing other stuff. 

Like comedy's kind of seeping in there. And then I mentioned like the two o'clock in the morning things. I keep my phone by my bedside because I like send myself notes with like, content sketches, comedy that I think of in the middle of the night. Um, and then every now and then when I'm like, I don't, I don't know what to write, like, I don't know, like, I can't think of a joke or I can't think of a sketch. I go through my notes and I see like, what was funny and then like, what can I expand on? Um, and then I like pandemic life. I literally try and be in bed by midnight because I feel like I'm more creative when I'm waking up earlier. So I like, I start dimming, turning off my lights, um, maybe around like 10 or 11. Um, there are some days where I'm like, I have something that's due and I, I can't, or like, yeah. 

Um, somebody needs something for me and I have to send like, um, I sometimes I do these shows where I write for other people. Um, and so like those deadlines happen. Um, I was writing for a YouTube show, uh, we're all kind of off right now, but like those would have like a one or two day turnaround with notes. And so I would just be like writing into the night. But if I had my way, I would just go to bed by like 11 o'clock and wake up at seven every day. Doesn't always happen. That's what I aspire to. But yeah, my typical day is like interspersed with just like dumb shit around the house. Things I actually have to do going to like, see a doctor about long covid shit, which is like not fun, don't recommend. And, um, like practicing comedy whenever I can. It feels very haphazard, but I think there is a math into this madness. I'm like, I see myself, I know where I am now is much better than where I was five years ago. Much better than where I was a year ago. So it's like, 

Speaker 2 (47:23):

It doesn't sound, it doesn't sound haphazard. <laugh>. Gosh, it sounds like you have a regular writing practices 

Speaker 3 (47:30):

<laugh> that, but I, like, I literally get, so it's so weird being home all the time now. I don't know, I'm sure everybody has this, but I'm just like, I get distracted by like, Oh, laundry. And then I'm like, No, I need to like, go finish whatever. Um, yeah. But yeah. What's your day? I wanna know what your day is like now. 

Speaker 2 (47:48):

So I for, so I have a, I have a full-time job, um, at Mercy College that is not tenure track, but it is full-time. Uh, so I teach Thank you. Uh, I teach four classes, some live and some online. And all the times in between. I'm working on this podcast writing that I should be doing, but I'm not and is mostly non-academic writing and launching a either a business, I guess I'll call it a business, but launching, I guess like the new version of what's gonna be my creative practice, I think in the future, which is a combination of getting back to performing, um, and doing some other kind of creative writing or creative consulting services type stuff. So I mostly spend like a disproportionate amount of time on that these months, which I haven't talked about much yet, <laugh> publicly. So it's like very awkward for me. Um, but mostly it's like keeping up with teaching and grading and students and et cetera. Um, 

Speaker 3 (49:00):

I know that life well. 

Speaker 2 (49:02):

Yes. Yeah. 

Speaker 3 (49:03):

Oh, I do feel you on that. Like, creative consultancy thing. I forget, like I have like so many tabs open right now. So it's like best place to create an llc, like where to file an llc. Like I'm more on the business end of that. And like, also like, I have a bunch of tabs open on like industry rooms. Like where are, can I get into, um, industry shows around New York City. So a lot of it is like small weird research that doesn't like, to me I'm like, it's not the same as like, I make pottery and here are my pots at the end of the day, you know, there's, 

Speaker 2 (49:35):

Right, Yeah, I know this. I'm like, is this like a real, real, um, I have a more difficult time quantifying it. Sorry, I didn't mean to cut you off. I'm like, I wish I had something. Like people, what do I, I'm like, Oh, that's, that's great. Like, so that 

Speaker 3 (49:50):

Five really great concepts of the sketches or like 10 monolog jokes that will only make sense today. You know, like, it's like very ephemeral. And that's the thing about comedy is like, it's so ephemeral. It doesn't last. Like if you look back at old comedy, it's like this age is poorly. Like there are, there's a shelf life to it. So it's like more when you do a comedy job, it's like you have the muscle memory and the ability to make a joke versus you just have like these jokes that are gonna last your lifetime. I know it's very strange. Why am I doing this <laugh>? I know why I'm doing it. It's because I feel like I can't stop and like it's in my bones. And that was the thing about like, doing comedy through Covid and the, the start of the lockdown and the pandemic, especially like summer of 2020 was like, this is in my bones. It's like the seed and the core of who I am. Like I can't deny this part of me and, and be happy. Yeah. Like, it, it's something I have to do. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So yeah. 

Speaker 2 (50:53):

<laugh>, that's, that's an amazing note to start to wrap up on. Um, I wanna ask you, is there anything that I didn't ask you about or that you were just kind of like hoping to say and put out into the world? 

Speaker 3 (51:05):

Um, you asked me about so much and I talk so much, uh, and I appreciate it. I, oh, there was one thing I write for the Goss, um, an all by pocket news comedy show hosted by Laura Can Samuels, you can follow, um, that show online at the Goss Gab. Uh, and I'm on Instagram at Dom Love's Life. You can follow me there and find out about my upcoming shows. I do shows all around the city, um, and in the springtime when the weather is good, I, uh, you know, in the fall we did this show called Banana Ketchup. Um, so if you follow hashtag Banana ketchup comedy, uh, it's a show hosted by all Filipinos at a Filipino restaurant. I say it's the best show in New York City, which is true. Like you have never met a more welcoming crowd, um, with such delicious food. So that's my plug for that. Um, I co-host that with Patricia Ding Lawson and Kyle Marion. You can also find them online. Um, yeah, thank you so much for having me. This has been really great. Um, hopefully I haven't insulted too many sociologists. 

Speaker 2 (52:20):

I don't think they're listening. 

Speaker 3 (52:23):

They're gonna this up. I can't No. Whatever. 

Speaker 2 (52:25):

Yes, this is it. Um, but thank you so much. I really appreciate it. And you shared so generously, uh, of your experiences and all of those social media, uh, links will be in the episode notes and bio and everything. So definitely everybody listening, follow, follow the hashtags, follow the Instagram pages and support. I'm excited. I'm, I'm definitely gonna have to come to one of these shows. 

Speaker 3 (52:49):

Oh, with, uh, I wasn't lying. When I say I have the, like this, like the voice of and 12 year old boy who's really the ery Lord, like, honestly, uh, I'm pretty gross. Just be warned. 

Speaker 2 (53:04):

<laugh> amazing. 

Speaker 3 (53:05):

<laugh>. Oh, thanks so much for having me, Carmella. 

Speaker 2 (53:08):

All right, thank you. 

Speaker 1 (53:10):

Follow Dominique at Dom loves life on Instagram. That's d o m l o v e s l i f e and follow the millennial PhD at the millennial PhD. And you can also follow me at mela underscore moves. That's m E l Acore, m o v e s. See you next week.