Tuesday, November 28, 2006
I spent all of Sunday being completely stressed and terrified about going up and doing stand-up. It didn't help that I decided to completely re-focus the main story I was going to tell about 3 hours before doing it. Now I've done a fair bit of public speaking before, and when I host trivia I have to keep a room entertained with fucking homework for 2 whole hours, but somehow this is still different. These people are paying you just to make them laugh, and there isn't even the requirement that they share the same sense of humour as you do.
When I got there Amanda, the bartender who was also performing that night, and I agreed that angry, aggressive music should definitely be played at this moment in order to get us pumped and energetic, so on goes the Nine Inch Nails for the next hour. Fucking right. Then, just before the show, "Sober" by Tool gets put on. This is a song that will get you totally jumping around and stoked until you start to listen to the words which are about wanting to do nothing ever again. This feeling of conflict is what I was going through in my own head, completely stoked but also just wondering why I'm doing it at all.
Everything evaporated, though, as soon as it was time to actually start. I was the first act up, but Richard, the host, warmed the crowd up a little with some good old miscegenation humour. Getting that first collective room laugh was now out of my hands, thank God.
I started off with a couple of pretty self-deprecating jokes to get some things off of my chest and to get some laughs. Then I went into a story about my sister's weird in-laws, which I totally re-worked just before coming on because even though I was being devastatingly funny on paper ripping apart imagined traits of theirs, it just didn't feel real or feel like it was me thinking or sayinng those things, so instead I took the tack that they confuse me to my core, which they do, and played off of that. I think it went pretty well, and it gave me the chance to inject jokes about American politics into the act without beating people over the head with them.
After that I went for some cheap laughs at my own expense, and yes dear audience member, I really am that insecure when it comes to dating and girls, and finish up with a nice reliable porn bit and all was well.
The other acts were way funnier, in my mind, totally consistent laughs from Sharlene, Patrick Ledwell is a total pro at this, he just went up, pounded out an act that you could see easily fitting on the Comedy Network, then there was some musical comedy which honestly needs some work from James, but there's potential there because he's got a good voice and he can be funny when he's actually talking about real things and not trying to make things up out of thin air or exagerate too much. In the middle of the second act was Amanda, you can tell she has had acting experience, she had very good presence, despite bringing notes up with her, and had a pretty big surprise physical comedy bit that really got the room going.
And of course Taylor, who closed out the night, just killed. He's getting more and more shocking as the performances go by. I think now he's more in it to amuse himself with the audience's reaction rather than going for straight laughs, which is hilarious to me, and I'm just curious to see where it ends up.
The next comedy night will be in January. The comedians all really liked my stuff, and asked me to go up again. I'm not sure yet, but the feeling of power you get when you're up there and things are going well is quite addictive, to the point that I was walking to work yesterday actually still feeling pretty pumped. So we'll see.
I'd never be able to do it. Strangers. :)
Wish I coulda seen it.
you didn't seem near as nervous as i would have expected from someone doing that for their first time.
and i was excited to hear about the in-law stuff.
ALSO! NIN was PERFECT to play! made me happy!