Monday, September 18, 2006

Big Funny Sunday

Hmmm... I found myself strangely motivated for no apparent reason this week. During the BCF final, I realized, "damn... I could really do it." I could totally see myself there in the final. It's a strange thing, comedy, but for me, it is a great feeling when I m just starving, dying to mount a stage, and believe me, it isn't always like that.

The crowd was so terrific for the final, I was drooling. After the show, I was hit with an awareness that I need to get better, mostly get more consistent. Another Achilles heel of mine seems to be letting the audience dictate my energy level and commitment to the set. This certainly is not unique to me, but it's a problem for a lot of comics and I am no exception.

As I watched the tape of my BCF preliminary set, I could clearly see where I threw in the towel. About 4 minutes into it, I knew it was over, there was nothing I was going to do to resurrect this crowd. They started flat, were flat for the first comic, flat when I started and would stay that way. This is often something you have no control over. I felt I executed my jokes just as effectively as the previous two nights when I killed, but I should have known the status quo wasn't going to cut it in that situation. I need to come up with something that fits within my stage persona that I can use to ignite a lethargic audience. I can't bank on having a good opener or on being in a showcase with a sparkplug like Dan Hirshon or someone playing right in front of me.

I felt renewed yesterday, however. Ideas were flowing. I even picked p and started laying out my old one-man show "Allergic to Life". This damn thing will basically write itself if I can get off my ass. I have performed most of it in one form or another over the years, I just need to glue it together.

When I got out of work, I headed down to the Comedy Studio to see if I could get a set in. As it turned out, I had forgotten that they were having auditions for Comedy Central, the final showcase of this year's Boston Comedy Festival, so it would be impossible to get on. As I looked at the lineup, I saw a lot of good comics on there, but had to wonder why I wasn't in the lineup.

Is it laziness? My four months off? Am I not pro-active enough and I wait to be invited instead of letting people know I am ready and really want it? I don't know, but I am going to ask the people that have the experience and do know. The funny thing was how virtually every comic was surprised when I wished them luck and headed out the door to catch a set at another club. To a man, they assumed I was on the roster, which kinda made me feel good.

For a moment, I toyed with the idea f going home and playing an internet poker tournament, shutting my brain off, but I hinched myself up and headed south to Dorchester, The Emerald Isle. A couple of local comics have a show down there called "Big Funny Sunday", Chris and Corey, both good guys. Since the Isle is often ONLY comics, and no real audience, I never go there unless I am buffing up an ancient bit that they haven;t heard, or trying brandy-new stuff that I wrote like, that day. I had three new bits, so I thought it was worth a shot.

I got there and there were about six patrons, 4 black women and two white chicks, and of course, the comics strewn about the place. The cool thing was that for a minute audience, they were really into the show, except for "Joyce", one of the white women. She was making her first (and last) appearance at Big Funny Sunday. Poor Joyce was one of these people I can never figure. Why would you go to a comedy show with the determination to remain miserable, cross your arms in the front row and grimace for two hours?

Chris and Corey were kind enough to work me in fairly early. It's hard to explain, but the greatest feeling I ever had on stage was during this set I did at a dump in Somerville. Nobody was listening before I got up, the place was a nut bin, people playing keno and yelling numbers, a real horror-show. I absolutely blew the roof off, I just winged it, took some chances and used the bassist material I had, roughed it up and ran with it. Killing that crowd was more satisfying than killing in front of 600 willing patrons.

It was kind of like that last night. I always figure, if I can make comics laugh, anyone will laugh at this stuff, and all my new crap worked to perfection. I was so glad I went down there, and shocker... some guy from Providence that books shows was there and asked for my card.

Earlier in the evening, I was chatting with a veteran comic, a guy I not only think is hilarious, but for whom I have respect. I said, "Ya know... I've got to either stop doing comedy, or start doing comedy."

He said, "I know what you mean, brotha."

Here's hoping I can at last abandon singing the "half-assed blues" and start kicking some ass.


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