Three open mics in a row, three hosting gigs in a row. I'm the Mainstage standby open mic host. I don't mind a bit actually, it gets me a lot of stage time and gets me an opportunity to meet a lot of comics in the Seattle scene. It also capitalizes on my skill sets, that is getting/keeping a crowd pumped up. The comedians, the audience and the club all appear to appreciate it so I'll keep doing it as long as asked.
Tonight was (in theory) an opportunity to gain a host, guest, and/or feature set for Emo Phillips. I'll only be available for one of his nights and it's not the featured night so I'm gunning for host/guest set. I think I have a good shot at a host night seeing as I'm hosting at Mainstage a lot and they seem to like me. The other bonus is that night Cathy Sorbo's Acapella duo "The Sympathy Cards" is the featured set. My lasers, my tasers, and my ICBMs are all gunning for that show.
It was chaos as there were 30 some-odd comedians who showed up. The list became long, complicated and arduous. Much respect to the open-mic list makers... that ain't easy. Comics were being moved around and bumped and some were frustrated because it was going to be a long night. A lot of them were cool, only one unmentionable was not (words of wisdom, best not to shit where you sleep). So it was a room full of frustrated fragile egos. Good times!
At first it was all comics, then a group came in, a few stragglers and then Autumn (the waitress/brand new comic) brought 15 of her friends so it was a packed house (by the way, her 2nd set ever, again she killed, I'm jealous of her skillz and focus... must steal both of those). Now there were a lot of green comedians there so it wasn't exactly a laugh riot from start to finish, some people were drunk, a lot were talking shit, and there was an awkward vibe to the place. Now it's on me to keep the energy going. Riiiiight. All told I think I did OK. Thanks to the power of Red Bull I had enough energy to scream and jump and holler all night. People seemed cool with that and even though the energy was weird it was never dead. I got a lot of good feedback from the other comedians (including Harold Gomez! who pulled me aside to compliment me... cool) which was good because some of them had clout. Some gave me shit but I wrote them off as bitter and drunk. Who am I though. A lot of people went over time so I had to get there attention in silly ways. One person I had to cut off because he started doing material about another comic. Weird. That call came from above but I was waiting to see if it was negative or not, I don't think it was meant to be but I gots to do my duty.
I did my set in the middle because a friend that was coming was late. Probably not going to do that again because it really slows down the energy. People just want the next person up so they can get closer to being done. Don't blame 'em. Lesson learned. I did the "not drinking" set again with minor adjustments. It went OK, but there's some serious tightening that needs to be done. That + doing the set an hour in = not everything landing. But it didn't die either. More work to be done.
After the show I helped close down and I talked to Karen bartender/sound/my guide who helped me with the list and John Sanders (guitarist comedian/cool guy) about the scene and I'm learning so much stuff about key people and different points of view on them. My goal is to make sure everyone's cool with me. Not by kissing anyone's ass, but just by trying to be a stand-up guy. There's weird territorial drama with a handful of comedians and that just seems like high school bullshit that people haven't gotten over. Mainstage is definitely my home base, but I want to be able to hit up any of the clubs and have a chill relationship with them as well. Time will tell.
Lesson: Don't shit where you sleep (I know... cheap)
Back-up lesson: Red-Bull is the ultimate fall back plan.