Monday, December 17, 2007

Day 70: Mo' impressions 12/10/07

Tonight is was time for Hip-hop Poetry Revue revamp. I brought it down to Patrick Stewart, George Gaynes and Toby Macguire reciting "Big Pimin'", "Mama Said Knock You Out" and "Me So Horny" respectively. It went better, but I have to work on Patrick Stewart more and streamline his piece. I also have to include a lot more references to the shows that those actors are in. Over all I'm not sure if this bit works as well as the impressions I already do of them, but I gotta test it a few more times to be sure. Refining's a bitch.

Lesson: Condensing is never bad.

Back-up lesson: Best not to stay married to a bit. Just because you love her, doesn't mean it was meant to be.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Day 69: Racism, still funny 12/9/07

Did some new stuff at open mic. I was planning on revamping the Hip-Hop poetry review but I left the lyrics of "Me So Horny" at home (how many times in your life do you get to utter that sentence). I brought out some one liners and metal voice again and tried some racy stuff.

There was a menorah with Christmas lights on the wall so a lot of people were making Jewish jokes so I tried this one I thought of, but never pitched, about an online Jewish dating service. It was a cheap laugh. Then I had this gay pride tag to the Christian Comix bit that a buddy helped me flush out. It had a racist tag at the end that was really funny. I did it and got some groans at the end. Then semi-off the cuff I mentioned, "it's all right, I can do that joke because the person that helped me write it is also white," which got a big laugh.

I've been flirting with this type of material for awhile. I love jokes like that with out them being gratuitous and being a straight white male, that's a thin line I walk. Somehow coming out of that joke with a joke about being white made it OK. Which seems backwards but if you think about it, if you apologize for something like that then it becomes something wrong as you knowingly said it with a guilty conscience. If you believe jokes are jokes (as I do) and stick to your guns, people (for the most part) will stand by you.

Lesson: Racism is funny.

Back-up lesson: Commitment to any material (the material, not the ideas behind them) that might be offensive will take away the offence.

Day 68: Night of the living Hecklers 12/8/07

Well, in terms of my performance, tonight is really a repeat of last night. I did the 2nd show, did the same set, got a good reaction out of a small crowd, yadda yadda yadda.

But that's not what was interesting.

The first show Kevin Hyder (one of the Peoples Republik of Komedy founders and kind enough to be my ride this particular night) did a guest set and he was doing a bit about GM donating letters to troops when this guy starts yelling "Say something funny, we're here for comedy." My take is that he wasn't into the subject matter. Kevin dealt with it in stride and went into his next bit, which is about how he has a hard time with intolerance. The crowd went wild and got on his page really quick. He gave the dude a few slights (referring at one point to "comedophobia") and left with dignity. When Auggie Smith went up to do his set he started with a disclaimer that he'll be telling jokes and if the audience can remain patient he would get to the punchline.

It didn't stop there for Auggie. All during his set there was a random douchebag talking to his girlfriend throughout the set. Auggie at one point walked out into the audience mid bit and stopped to tell the guy to be quiet. Later in the set he stopped and yelled at him until he left. Apparently there was a fight with said guy and another comedian in the parking lot after that. I'm sorry I missed it.

2nd show showdown. The night started with some drunk lady yelling stupid shit out during each set. I'll cut to the chase. Auggie started, she blurted something out and he yelled "Goddammit, two shows in a row" and went off on her until her and her boyfriend left. Apparently there was almost a fight with the boyfriend and one of the comedians. I'm sorry I missed it.

Now I've been lucky that I really haven't had to deal with a heckler yet. This seems like an inevitable reality. I liked Kevin's calm response of going into his next bid and throwing slights at the dude, but I think I might end up more like Auggie and getting very aggressive and yelling at the person. I really don't think there's a right answer for it as long as alcohol is permitted by the United States Government. I guess tonight reminded me it could happen at any time.

Lesson: Be ready for hecklers.

Back-up lesson: Go outside after a heckler leaves and you might get to see a fight.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Day 67: Auggie Smith 12/8/07

Tonight I did a guest set at the Mainstage for a comedian named Auggie Smith. I'll get to him. He did two shows tonight and I wanted to do a guest set for both shows. There ended up being too many comedians and not enough time so I volunteered to sit out of the first show. When I watched the show I was so bummed that I sat out because the audience was hot. They laughed at everything thrown at them. I could've destroyed that room so I was kicking myself.

Then Auggie Smith went up... I'll get to him.

I did a set in the second show and there was 10-15 people there. Fuck. Then it occurred to me: Doing the last show would've been easy and fun, but this room is the challenge. Yeah I could've done a lot of damage to that first crowd but the IF is more intriguing with this crowd. I pull out my "hits" set (bumbershoot, Nicole, Toby, Cheesecake Factory) turned it up to 11 and killed 'em. Even though they were a small crowd they were a great crowd and I can tell they liked me. While it would have been great to do both sets, the choice between and easy win and a challenge should always be for the challenge.

Now Auggie Smith.

I went to see this guy because a couple of people said my style reminded me of him and that he was very, very good. Having seen him he's definitely the comedian that I want to be. He had a clear message with his set, but it never stood in the way of being incredibly funny. He had a relaxed demeanor while at the same time having a lot of presence and energy on stage. He was a clear pro that was in control the whole time. He was amazing and seeing him lit a huge fire under my ass as to what I want to be as a comic. (Danielle shot called that by the way). Look him up, buy his stuff, love him.

Lesson: The high road will lead you to greener pasture.

Back-up lesson: You'll hear your voice as much in professionals as you will in yourself.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Day 66: Impressions 12/5/07

Comedy Jam at Comedy Underground. There was a small quiet audience tonight and I wanted to try new material. Do I do my Political stuff again, or do I try this impression set I've put together but not tested. Luckily for me, Travis Simmons went up before me and did political jokes AND impressions. The impressions took. I knew my course.

A few years ago I decided my audition for Saturday Night Live would be a sketch called "The Christopher Lee Hip-Hop Poetry Revue", where I do impressions of actors reading rap lyrics as poetry. I put it up tonight. It features Christopher Lee reading "Southern Hospitality" by Ludacris, Patrick Stewart reading "Big Pimpin'" by Jay-Z, Toby MacGuire reading "Me So Horny" by 2 Live Crew, George Gaynes reading "Mama Said Knock You Out" by LL Cool J, and John Giulgud reading "Bitches Ain't Shit" by Snoop Doggy Dog.

It got a decent reaction in parts so I think I know where I need to streamline it though. The horrific tragedy is that I don't think too many people know who Christopher Lee is and I may need to change it to "The Patrick Stewart Hip-Hop Poetry Review". In my heart I know Christopher Lee is more funny, but what's more important, being right or making audiences laugh? Being right clearly, it's a good thing I'm a sell-out though.

Lesson: Take the plunge and test new things on a cold audience, you can learn a lot about them.

Back-up lesson: All right, all right, it actually IS more important to make audiences laugh than to be right.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Day 65: Walk-Through 12/3/07

Tonight there were only two audience members at the Underground, so instead of doing a full open mic they did what is called a Walk-Through, which I’ve never heard of before. Everybody just walks up at random for about a minute and does the dirtiest shit they can think of. That’s most of the material that I have so let the games begin.

It was a lot of fun not having any pressure and just being able to goof off. I screamed everyone’s name when they went up to the stage. I think I irritated some people. Don’t care, it was fun. Some people did their normal material. Some people made their normal material darker. Some people made up really dark shit. Most of the time everyone was laughing.

I went up close to the last. I made a joke about child molesting, extended my miscarriage bit, talked about my friends dead in utero baby, then left with racism and sexism. People laughed I was happy. I did pull one punch in not dropping the N-bomb. I feel like a pussy now. Solomon got mad at me, “Look, I said Honky three times, next time say ‘nigger’.” I’m sorry Solomon. I’m sorry black people.

I had some new shit that I’m really proud of that I wanted to put up tonight. That’s the nice thing about having a next time. We can fuck-off and have a night of it.

Lesson: No reason not to take full advantage of no pressure.

Back-up lesson: Solomon says it’s OK to drop the n-bomb.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Day 64: Politix 12/02/07

So I've been trying to work on political stuff for awhile. It's hard because a) not a lot of people give a shit about politics and b) it's very trod upon territory. So why do I want to go there? I don't know. I'm very into politics and I like the challenge of bringing it out in a way that's original, poignent and funny. No easy feat.

Most of my set tonight I've put up before, in bits and pieces. Some of it has worked and some of it hasn't. Tonight I attempted to streamline it all together with some new stuff I've prepped. My set was B. Clinton(newish), Mit Romney(newish), Giuliani (brand new), Republican debates(older) and Democrat Debates (older). I pitched it at writing circle tonight and it didn't work that well, but enough of it did that I decided to put it up anyway, not expecting magic, but to see what (if anything) I could keep.

The weird part is that it went very well. I did not expect that, especially after writing circle. B. Clinton is a cheap laugh, but a goodie. Mit Romney gets its oohs and aaahs. Giuliani didn't work as well (it relies on me doing a good impression of him... which I can't do yet), but I pulled out of that bit at the end. Debates did well even though they tanked before. I think having the context helped.

It just felt good to have a good set. It's been awhile. I slept ('til 3:30 in the afternoon) which helped. I also went up without a lot of expectation, which I think relaxed me and didn't put too much pressure on the set. Fun night. Writing circle was back in effect and the whole gang was there doing well. It's good to be a comedian again.

Lesson: Do material you like, you can get it to where it's good.

Back-up lesson: The less pressure you put on yourself, the easier the set.