Saturday night will bring two final dances with the familiar for comedian Sean Patrick Moore.
From there, the Fox Valley favorite will leave home in Menasha for New York City’s comedy scene to search for fame — or maybe find failure.
He couldn’t know, but there’s an intrinsic sense it’s time to push in the chips.
“There’s definitely a lot of excitement,” he said. “I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t think I had the shit. But there’s a total fear of failure. Who knows how they’ll respond in New York? I’m a big old fat guy covered in hair — I’m missing a tooth and I have bad skin. Who knows?”
Moore will close a chapter in his career on Saturday over the course of two shows at Appleton’s Skyline Comedy Club. He’ll headline performances beginning at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Moore has been at it for seven years and he’s well practiced in front of Midwestern audiences.
“New York is a different animal,” he said.
And there’s only one way to find out how he’ll play in bigger waters, so he’ll step onto their stages.
There’s far more competition. There’s far more opportunity. The Fox Valley offers two open mics per week. In New York, he’ll find five per night.
He knows some comedians working out there, but he has no idea if, how or how far that’ll play to his benefit.
Moore has housing covered. He’s taking it with him in the form of his van turned tiny house.
In the Fox Valley, he’s found fans, developed his voice and settled into his style. Moore has earned his share of accolades along the way, including Skyline Comedy Club’s Funniest of the Fox Valley competition in 2018.
He knows the New York scene will force him to grow.
He recently performed in a satellite event for the World Series of Comedy, and took third place at Loonees Comedy Corner in Colorado Springs. When reaching the finals and a 25-minute set, “I realized just how much of my act is about living in Wisconsin.”
To head off and take his shot wasn’t a flip decision. It took some long consideration, deliberation and ultimately, the blessing of his 9-year-old son.
“We had long talks, and if he at all said he didn’t want me to, I wouldn’t go,” he said. “I don’t know if he knows the magnitude.”
Fox Valley comedians gathered in his honor last weekend for a send-off in appropriate fashion. They held a roast of Moore at Menasha’s Cimarron Bar and Grill.
Tonight brings a milestone and turning point, but it’s not to say the farewell comes with any homey comfort or warm reflection. He anticipates some real tension. Moore frequently feels stage fright and anxiety levels that toe the line of panic.
And to have his Skyline weekend announced as a farewell added new weight.
“That these are my send-off shows; it’s terrifying,” he said. “The thought that if I don’t do well, they’ll be saying, ‘he’ll be back.’”
Peers, meanwhile, will wait on him to come back — but with high hopes it’ll come with “as seen on …” behind his name.
“It’s amazing the amount of support I’ve gotten,” Moore said. “There have been people tell me that it’s stupid, but it’s an extremely low number of people.”