This Post Is Only For People Who Really, Really Like Comedy

Jessica Delfino
4 min readFeb 10, 2024
Me on stage, early 2000s in NYC

Sometime in the early 2000s, I started performing stand up comedy in college and quickly relocated to New York City because I loved it so much, I realized that was where I’d have to be if I ever wanted to “make it.” The best part about this is, in my early 20s, I was 100% confident that I was going to make it.

When you’re younger, the idea of “making it” seems densely possible, like so many other impossible things (like becoming a princess?), and it is imagined in such a colorful berth, that unfortunately, once you make it, it may be hard to see that you’ve actually arrived.

What does making it look like to most comedians? To some, it might be getting on stage and having an audience of people laugh at your jokes every time. To others, it might be living in a large mansion and driving a nice car. Yet to others, it might be becoming a household name.

I had certain dreams of what it meant to make it when I started, such as “perform comedy on TV” and “get to perform on shows with famous comedians” and “get paid a lot of money to perform stand up” and “buy adult things like a home and a car, with money I’ve made from performing and writing my comedy.” All of these things have happened. Have I made it? On some days, I’d say, “absolutely yes.” On other days, I’m not so sure.

One thing is certain — I’ve been performing my comedy, which has by no means been mainstream or typical, for at least 20 years. Many of the people I started with have gone on to become very, very rich and famous. We’re all still working it, and few of us are showing that we plan to stop.

I feel myself entering into a new chapter of performing, this year. (It is the year of the dragon, and I am a dragon — could that be it?) This year, in addition to working on a great TV project with an executive producer I believe in, writing jokes for a TV show that I love and admire, and working on a completely new solo hour comedy show, I have started a new newsletter called The Museletter. It’s all about comedy — the highs and the lows. My highs and lows; all of our wins and losses.

I realized the most amazing things I know about comedy, I learned from other, usually more senior comedians. I’m really fortunate to be able to call Colin Quinn, Jim Norton, Patrice O’Neal, Sarah Silverman, Dave Chappelle, Jim Gaffigan, Janeane Garofalo and others from that era some of my very best teachers. They didn’t always mean to teach me, and sometimes the lessons hurt. But some of the best and most meaningful lessons I learned along the way were from them and others like them.

This is one reason I started The Museletter. I have 20ish years of stand up and comedy experience, including touring experience, performing experience, live TV experience, TV writing experience, and so much more to share, and there’s no reason that just because I’m “not a household name” that my experiences aren’t worth sharing and valid for younger (and the same age, and older) comedians to gain wisdom and learn from.

Kindness is one of my major values. Not sure why. Maybe it is because so many people have been kind to me along my path. And I have learned that I can make a little money off my kindness with my newsletter, and I’m OK with that. I deserve to make money! I didn’t work as hard as I did for 20 years to keep all this stuff hidden away in dark shoeboxes full of old journals and photos.

So come with me as I dig back through 20 years of a life as an NYC comedian, and walk into the future with me as we continue onward.

The Museletter is free for all to subscribe to, with emails coming in on Monday, Wednesday and Friday that anyone can read. Paid subscribers who spend $7 a month or $70 per year get additional access to more personal Tuesday and Thursday emails, and I am in the works of developing other perks for paid subscribers.

Thus, this closes my Medium One and Done Mom chapter, at least for now. I have gone on to have two kids, so I’m not even One and Done, anyway. That’s now false advertising.

So whether you’re a comedian, a big comedy fan, or you just like my stories and writing, join me at, and we will forge onward together there.



Jessica Delfino

I write about life with 1 husband, 2 kids, 1 cat, sometimes funny. Bylines: TheNew Yorker, The NY Times, The Atlantic, McSweeney’s.