The Resurrection Begins —- On Monday Night?!

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Those of you who read this who know me, know that I am a person about change, first and foremost.  Attitudes, thoughts and opinions I have one day, can be turned around 360 degrees the next day based on people I interact with.  Having said that, I put this blog together in December to let my friends into the world of stand-up comedy.  I wanted my blog postings to contain some of the nuts and bolts of a stand-up routine, to generate enough interest that they come out and support the local comedy scene.  This way, when they watch a stand-up comic here in Saskatoon, or anywhere else for that matter, they can take these nuts and bolts I make mention of, and see them put to use in an act, thus giving them a greater appreciation for the art form of comedy.

But for me to write this blog, I will alwaysbe honest.  I’ve spent many years of my life being stupid, now it’s time to be honest.  Believe me, I would love to be the one to tell you that things are going great.  However, it’s easier to say that I am  still doing it because the other comics have seen my growth, and while the level of growth isn’t where it should be after seven months, my commitment, dedication and support to the local scene has allowed me to receive stage time still.  So if somebody asks me how I I am doing, I can say that my performances have their moments, and while they are not many, still, I do have my moments.  If you guys want to take that as being negative, so be it.  I don’t see it that way.  It’s an honest assessment of things.  I know that if I completely sucked I would not be continuing at it this long, so to a certain degree I am good, it just depends on whom you ask, I suppose.

So, let’s get to the topic at hand.  From June 11th to the 18th is the 11th Annual Great Plains Comedy Festival in Saskatoon.  It gathers comics from throughout North America to perform at this event at different venues.  It’s been brought to my attention that certain volunteer positions will need to be filled.  I went early tonight to talk about it with Dez, and he said to me not to worry, that there would be a spot for me in the upcoming festival, it’s just a matter of where and when.

ummmmm……….. do you want to repeat that please?

Yes, you read correctly.  It was a goal of mine when I first started this journey to eventually make it to the festival onstage, somehow.  I am surprised to hear him say I would be included in the festival.  I am surprised its come this early though.  On the one hand I have probably earned the opportunity, but on the other hand I feel as if I’m left to scratch my head and wonder how I ended up here in the first place.

I know we could sit here for hours and debate as to whether or not I should be part of this years festival in this capacity.  However, it doesn’t matter how I ended up here, the fact is that I am in.  So, today is a new day, with a fresh outlook on things, right?  I’m not so sure.  In fact, this creates a whole new set of problems and/or challenges for me.

The headliner this week, along with Dez, will sit down with me Monday night and watch my performance and give me some ideas on how to get things better, and this probably might be the only time I get any in-depth help between now and the festival.  I was told to comb through my material and find the best 5 minutes. Should be easy, right?

Let me break this down for you.  In the seven months I have been doing this, I’ve written over 130 pieces of material.  It’s been a struggle at times to get a consistent reaction from the audience at all, which means I don’t have many positive reference points to build from.  Keeping that in mind, I have to come up with my best five minutes?  Sure, I had a good five minutes worth of material on the night I beat Saskatoon’s best up-and-coming comics at Manchesters on the last night of the competition, but that was a couple months ago.  While my confidence onstage has been better, I’ve written so much new material now, that I am starting to feel like I have to reinvent the wheel, so to speak, and see if there are new bits I can fit into those five minutes to make it better.

The fact I’m not very good right now limits me to where I can perform, which makes sense.  The only place I can perform is Beily’s on a Monday night.  While I appreciate it, it’s not the best place to be — for two reasons.  The first is the venue is way too big, too spaced out, and with a bigger sized room, people are scared to sit in the front because they think they will get picked on.  Well, I covered that myth in some detail in a previous post, so get over that lie!  The second problem is that Dez, and the headliner are the only two that night who can get consistent laughs.  The crowd I think sometimes walks in to enjoy the wing night, not knowing there is comedy going on, yet they are receptive to it.  Some people who go there know it’s for comedy and are a bit harder to please.  I call these people not funny, because they don’t laugh at anyone, they just sit there.  It’s a shitty place to play, I know I can do better and be more comfortable in a smaller setting, like the comedy club, but until I “get my shit together” in a comedic sense at Beily’s, I will still be known as the only Saskatoon comic who isn’t allowed to perform at the comedy club.  So it’s sort of a catch 22.  Who knows, maybe on Thursday, May 24th (day before my birthday) I can spend my last couple hours of being 38 doing comedy.  By the way, a birthday cake at the comedy club is more than welcome too!  Hey, I just remembered that the comedy club is now open Thursdays and Fridays, so I can spend the last few hours being younger, and the first few hours of being older, maybe getting onstage trying to be funny?  Who knows, maybe the changes I need to make will have produced some results by then.

Now, a comedy festival is kind of like the comedy club, but on a much larger scale.  There will be approximately 20 shows during the week, with something going on every night, somewhere in the city.  I think that with the idea of a comedy club, the people going there can expect that there might be a newer act or two that isn’t as good as the headliner.  That’s a given.  But with a comedy festival, it’s different.  The people who pay good money to attend have the right to expect and demand funny performances from guys who know their shit.  I feel as if I will need to up my stage performance in every area to be “festival ready.”  On the one hand I don’t know if it can be done in only six weeks, if all I get is 5 minutes of stage time on the one night per week.  On the other hand though, I guess I’m not as far away from success as I first thought.

My material is good, I’m confident onstage also.  There is “something” that’s missing.  maybe it’s a character, a point of view, or a couple words that are missing to make things move forward at a better pace.  Dez, or any other experienced comic who has had success, can take my material and crush it.  So it’s not the material that’s the problem, because some of it is funny and my stage presence is good, it’s just something about the way I present it that needs to be fixed.  Not to mention the fact that the lady I had taken as my dinner date to the comedy club now is excited to see me up there onstage.  It’s a good thing I’ve known her for a few years, so there isn’t the pressure of having to make that first impression.

So once again I am faced with a challenge in my comedy pursuit.  I mentioned before that the difference between a challenge and a problem is based on how you view the situation.  This is a challenge, at least in the short term it is.  It will grow into a problem if this challenge isn’t conquered in the next few weeks…..by the end of the month at least.

The next few weeks will be interesting to see how my performances play out.  I’ll keep you posted, or better yet, come on down and follow the comedy in person!

 

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