Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Day 32: Never Again 8/28/07

Rough night.

Went to Mainstage (disclaimer: I love them and all they've done for me so this is not meant as a poo-poo on their establishment [for the four of you reading this], but an honest reaction to the evening, which is what this blog is all about). There was going to be a comedy show at 7 and open music night at 9. Get there quarter to 7, ghost town, 7:30, some comics but that's it. We wait in case people come. Don't start the show until 8. That's not too bad, and the hour from 7 to 8 was actually really fun. It was a bunch of us comics shootin' the shit on the patio and running our material for each other. Then a bunch of friends of mine from work came. I didn't expect a bunch (only 2)... oh well. The vibe is good the comedy begins.

Travis opens the show and is very funny and cordial as usual. Then the second comic goes up and goes FLYING over his time (like, 15 minutes) and not one. joke. landed. It was fucking rough but this person lacked the objectivity to notice a) that he went flying over time and was therefore incredibly rude to the other comics performing and b) that he was dying and should have gotten off stage long ago. The next comic up went way over time again, but this was more forgivable as she was funny and from out of town so why the fuck not. Then Solomon went up and did a good set that would've been on time had a drunken Nick not been screaming through the set and distracting him.

This is where it gets bad. With Travis's set (which was long too, but that's understandable as it's his show) and the comics going over, we're four down and it's 9 o'clock and the musicians come in and take over the show. Now being an open mic I figured, musician does a song then comic does a short set. It was lame that everyone going over cut into our comedy time, but fuck it, we'll all get to go up soon right? WRONG! First music set goes A FUCKING HALF HOUR then they decided that since we had comedy before, they could let another musician go on for ANOTHER TWENTY MINUTES. Remember how I said I had friends there? Did I mention they were the ONLY audience. I talked to them so I could go up after the first musician set and got blocked by those cocksuckers.

It's not that the musicians were bad (well...) but no one I was with came to see music. So two hours of long (including a particularly bad set) comedy and not very good music took the wind out of everybody's sails. Then I go on. I had a decent set and people responded as well as they could, but is wasn't a massacre. People liked it, but it was late and they were tired. And there was still hours to go. Danielle and I ended up leaving. She didn't get to go up, James, whose girlfriend came for the first time, didn't get to go up, my friends were tired. Fuck it. Never again. Either tighter organization or something else, but that's the second time my friends got blocked on a Tuesday and we suffered through long bad sets.

Now I'm a little self-conscious bitching about other people's bad sets. It's not like I haven't bombed. Who am I to judge? The thing is, I was still attached to some objectivity. I didn't go over time and when it wasn't going well, I moved to something I figured would work and at least I HAD material that worked. It's the utter lack of objectivity that kills me. If you have a joke that no one laughs at it (by the 3rd time you tried it), let it go. Try new material until something lands. Ask your friends how your jokes are. Make sure they're honest. Just don't fucking lie to yourself and think you're funny when you're not. Do the work. That's what the rest of us our busting our ass to do. I'm climbing this ladder right now and the reason I am is because people tell me when something works or doesn't and I LISTEN. That's what open mic is for. It shouldn't be abused. Etc. etc. Rant rant rant. I'm not saying people should give up, I'm saying people should work hard so that they don't subject people to bad comedy.

But who the fuck am I.

Lesson: Stay objective and respectful of the audience and other comics.

Back-up lesson: No more Tuesdays at Mainstage (until the format changes).


Anonymous said...

Hey! Is it appropriate to give my opinions here? Well, here I go!!!

White people getting together to celebrate diversity: Funny. Liked it.

Loved Nicole Richie's baby. PERFECT VISUAL of the fetus pressing against the skin. I really saw that! (had you meant for the songs to be in there? if not, great improv! if so, great fake improv! I love the pauses like you were thinking, then wrapped the cord BACK around your neck. "Easy like Sunday Breakfast"...LOL!), loved Nuvaring strangling babies (good job not hanging on the punchline and asking for a huge laugh from the audience...laugh was prolly bigger since you rolled past it). Loved the puddle of blood with your eyes. Jeff thought that joke was perfect. He not only thought it was the best joke of the night but also that your delivery was spot on and timing was awesome.

Toby McGuire was funny. There is a resemblance, but don't linger too long to where people notice that you don't REALLY look that much like him. (Don't ride the laugh like Margaret Cho does!) I understood the joke, but Jeff thinks you should make it more obvious that you look like him for those who don't know exactly what he looks like. Jeff thought your actions were supposed to be a mimic or something. Punky Brewster guy impression: first didn't hear what you said, so didn't know who you were doing, but then I didn't know the reference bad...

Diet Coke joke? Funny to Cheesers, but been done, I think...but a good way to engage the audience. We were all paying attention and liked the participation. Good description of our disgusting food. Jeff really liked the Diet Coke joke even if he already knew the punchline and he doesn't work at the Cheese. The build-up was entertaining he says.

Liked the falling afterwards, but maybe stayed down a bit long? Couldn't really understand what you were saying while on the floor...

Good movement and owning of the stage.

Good flow even while checking notes. (no really awkward pauses)

Good mic handling. Sounds like you're very comfortable and know how to best hold it for your voice and for the emphasis you want in different places.

Great genuine seeming confidence. Didn't seem like you were TRYING to come across as confident. Connection with audience was real and not formulaic.

Overall, you very much look like a performer that is not begging for approval but one who already has earned it and deserves it.

You stood out to me, and not just because you are my friend.

I like yo vibe. :-)

By the way, Jeff played keyboard for an improv comedy troupe for 5 years and often saw that when the audience was very small and the majority of ppl there were fellow comedians, it was easy to lose focus and professionalism and evolve into fun-times-with-your-comic-friends. But you were able to maintain good focus.

You are really goin' somewhere, Jakee.


Jake said...

Yes it's appropriate and encouraged to leave your oppinions here. Wow, that is incredible feedback. Thank you Sizzle. I appreciate the compliments AND the notes as well. The Toby McGuire lingering is 50/50, sometimes it kills, sometimes it peters out. I have to find a way to streamline it. George gains clearly needs articulation and practice. The singing WAS improv, I was trying to undercut the hecklers dumbass comment. I think it worked so I'm keeping some of it. I can say the Diet Coke joke consistently kills and even in a room with no cheesers people yell the answer. The punch isn't so much the Diet Coke as it is the falling. But it's duely noted that you didn't understand me and that I have to articulate better. Thanks again Jen, see you soon.


James Parkinson said...

That night was really, really awful. Aside from getting cock-blocked by the musicians and the comedian who told jokes for 20 minutes without inspiring so much as a giggle, my waitress over charged me by one cheeseburger, one beer, and one stoli-soda. She also refused to provide free refills on my girlfriend's diet coke. It took me 45 minutes just to get my bill straightened out.

Look, I don't mean to be rude, but Mainstage deserves the criticism it's getting. When a restaurant/club/bar is young and growing, it needs organization first and foremost. Good musicians get a show, growing musicians get 3-5 minutes on open mic night... just like comedians. And there is no point of having a mixed comedy/music night. No comedian wants to face a crowd that just suffered through a butchered James Taylor cover.

You were really good up there. Keep going with Nicole Ritchie's fetus, that's a dream bit. George Gains is suffering... Personally, I only know him from police academy, I never saw punky brewster. I probably don't speak for everyone, but I would appreciate the impression more if you introduced him solely as the commandant and not so much as Punky's dad. Anyway, I hope you absolutely kill on sunday, good luck over there!