There are thousands of artists in New York City. Some are famous internationally, while others are scratching out a living while perfecting their craft in basements or on stage. WNYC is bringing a few of them to the spotlight, in their own voices.
Here, Gary Lee Mahmoud, an actor and video producer whose recent YouTube video, "Panhandler Party" went viral with over 1.2 million views.
Mahmoud was working on Capitol Hill as a Congressional staffer for six years, when he decided he was sick of it.
"I was sitting behind a desk all day," he said. "I'd see the sun come up outside and it goes down. And I'm like, 'What am I doing with my life? I'm just pushing papers around.' So I wanted to get out and actually, you know, make something and be outside and do what I enjoy."
What he enjoys is acting and producing funny videos.
"I basically love to make a spectacle of myself and try to get paid for it," said Mahmoud.
For many of his projects, Mahmoud works with a core group of people he met at a comedy improv troupe he joined when he first moved to New York.
"I'm just very fortunate to know a lot of really cool, talented people who are willing to give up their time and make the stuff happen," he said.
To listen to the whole story with Mahmoud, click on the audio link above.