Well, not really a date with Mr. Slade, but I got to host for him.
You know the background: Me is a huge Bill Hicks fan. Dwight Slade is old friend/former comedy partner of the late Bill Hicks. This is a big night for me.
However it occurred to me that I haven't really seen or heard Mr. Slade's stand-up before. I knew his reputation and I knew he won the Seattle International Comedy Competition... I just hadn't heard him yet. Thank you Internet. I was able to brush up and get to know his stuff before I met him. Guess what? He was really funny. What I saw was cynical yet poignant, which is what Bill Hicks is as well. However he had his own humor and you couldn't call him a Bill Hicks rip-off (like some other people named Dennis Leary who made a career off of stealing an entire album of material from him).
So yakity schmakity I get to meet him. Nice guy, a little quiet, but in a nice way. He had his son with him. I tried not to geek out and just see what kind of info he wanted to put out, nothing big. I do my first set of two.
I had friends in the Audience, which Mainstage always likes, so I did some of my good stuff. I pull out the "style" bit and run it into the "cocaine" bit. People laughed, I was loved. Brought on a guest (blanking on his name), he was funny. The feature set was a guy named Geoff Brousseau who was hilarious and a really nice guy. Dwight is next. He asked when I first met him if I have any Toby McGuire material (it's been mentioned ad nauseum that I look and sound exactly like him... I like to think I have more personality though, or at least, any at all). So I did my Toby McGuire impression. People loved it, you'll have to see it. Then I bring out Dwight.
Words can't explain. He was amazing. Yes, cynical, yes, poignant, but a fucking pro at that. He killed the entire time even when he fucked with the audience for not getting him. It was commentary as well as comedy, which is one of the reasons I love Bill Hicks (again Slade was not a copycat). I love comedians who have something to say, not just jokes. Jokes are good, don't get me wrong, but I want to see a point of view and for God's sake some passion as well, even if it's the passion of anger.
More of the same for the second show of the night, with the exception that I bombed my set. I did the same material, but I shouldn't have. It occurred to me that knowing your audience is just as much a process of elimination as much as knowing the right material. I didn't know what they'd go for. They were really pretty so then I realized that I should've gone with "Cheesecake Factory" bit. Geoff and Dwight killed the second show as well. It was an awesome night of comedy.
Lesson: Just because you can't stand an aspect of your self that everyone likes to point out, doesn't mean you shouldn't use it in a comedy bit.
Backup lesson: Don't just know what your audience will like, know what they wont like.