The Nights Get Shorter

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I have had people pose the same question to me with each passing day leading to my return to the Saskatoon comedy scene, to The Laugh Shop.  They ask me “are you excited yet?”

The short answer is no, but since this isn’t a blog that does well with short answers, I will go into greater detail.

There isn’t too much in my life anymore that genuinely excites me.  I look forward to things with a motivation and focus, but I don’t feel what you’d deem to be excited.  I try to keep level headed and see things for what they are, one day at a time.

It’s been a very long time since I have done comedy back in the city, and I sure as hell didn’t think I’d ever return to the Saskatoon comedy stage after getting laughed off the stage and told that I should quit.  But everything in the past has helped shape this moment of resurrection for me, so in a way I am thankful and blessed for what happened in the past.

But now for these last two weeks leading up to the weekend shows there are many thoughts that cross my mind that will preclude me from getting a half-assed nights sleep.  Questions are abound.  When do I stop writing all this new material that comes into my head? How many people will show up?  Will it be a large crowd?  Will I kill it?  Will I be prepared enough?

Part of the challenge is that within the past week I have had at least a dozen new ideas for material.  When I read most of them the light bulb goes off in my head and thinks it would be a great topic to cover for my MC/hosting duties in a couple weeks.

My comedy coach teaches many different comedy formulas, laugh triggers and styles.  But one thing remains unchanged and clear.  When you write material, just start with writing the truth then you can look to the different comedy styles to make the joke work.  If you mix up the comedy styles or laugh triggers that you use, then it keeps an audience on their toes.  When a comic tells the same style of jokes too often, the audience will catch on and pick up on the timing of the joke.  In comedy, predictability means you eliminate the surprise of the joke, and the majority of jokes told by comedians feature either surprise or incongruity.  They are the two most common laugh triggers that work effectively when the jokes are properly structured.

The other part to this equation is the fact I need to fill 20 minutes of comedy, with 15 right off the top.  Since this is a step up in the quality of gigs I normally do, there’s a voice in my head saying that the quality of the material has to be better, so I start writing and shaping new material.  Believe me, I’d rather be rehearsing my material to know it down cold, but ideas keep coming up.  The ideas that are popping up are ones that will give me an advantage over the other comics that perform, because I am local.  I want my material to be local so the recognition laugh trigger is present.

I want my tried and tested material to fill in the five minutes between the co-headliners.  That stuff I know and can do confidently once I am settled into my set.  In the first 15 though I need to do crowd work and material. I know that coming out of the gate I need to get the audience on my side right away and get them laughing, even if it’s not consistent laughter, I have to get them warmed up for the heavy hitters at the end of the night.  I believe the best way to do this is to perform new material.

Yes, I am aware this is a new gig, and yes I am aware that the steaks are much higher, in addition to getting paid.  However, I have a rational explanation as to why I feel doing new material right off the top is the way to go.

When I do new material, I am more locked in to the joke and where the laugh points are.  I am more aware of the audiences reaction so if the new stuff didn’t work for whatever reason, I always have the old stuff in my back pocket to win them over with.

So, the next couple weeks will feature lots of writing, rehearsing and very little sleep, in addition to over thinking things and writing too much new material.  Lots of work to be done, for sure!

My next blog post will be on November 6th, exactly one day before my return to the Saskatoon comedy stage.  Until then, if you require information on how to get tickets for my shows, please message me.

Be blessed!

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