Comedy is also an industry of paying dues: Many long-time performers regard their first ten years as a kind of clueless wandering, and veteran comics tend to treat newbies like replacement troops: They are young, dumb, and could be gone soon, so it’s best to wait till they survive a while before learning their names. This is all to say that the term “comic” is subjective and nebulous, and even geographically variable: larger cities, with their heightened competition for stage time, are famous for relegating working comics from smaller markets like the Midwest or Florida back to open-mic status, causing many visitors to experience a kind of outraged existential crisis. When two comics meet for the first time, they act like dogs sniffing each other’s butts, asking loaded questions like, “You been doing it long?” or “You been busy?”

“Standup Comity.” — Steve Macone, The Morning News

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