Moving Up The Ladder

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It’s all about timing.  It’s also about being easy to work with an not a complete dickhead either.

I was told that there were openings at the Saskatoon Laugh Shop location for the end of April, which I accepted. Regina was supposed to have an opening later in the year, but it turned out that the Saturday after my Saskatoon shows needed a host, and I accepted that one as well.

Now, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.  The first is, this will probably be the only chance I get on stage to work out my material before the show.  The other key point is that the shows now are just two-man shows.  The opener/MC and the headliner.  The opening act has to do 30 minutes of material right off the top.  I was asked if I had 30 minutes of material to do.  Sure I do!

I don’t need to perform 30 minutes of material though.  It could end up being that I only do 20 to 25 minutes worth with the rest of the time filled in by crowd work.  By crowd work I mean introducing the headliner, promoting upcoming events at the hotel and highlighting any birthdays or anniversaries in the crowd.

These three shows are April 24 & 25 in Saskatoon, and May 2 in Regina.  For these three shows it will be all brand new material, but at the same time I am going to rehearse and fine tune the material so I can do it all three nights and have it polished.

My comedy coach and I are in the process of putting together material for the sets.  There will be a local element of sorts to the material.  I wrote seven new pages of material, and we have gone over 2 1/2 pages so far, and it takes 5 minutes.  This presents a problem of sorts, or maybe it’s a challenge depending on how you look at it.  If you take the 5 minutes per 2 1/2 pages, that takes up roughly 15 minutes of material.  If I take 5 – 7 minutes of crowd work and MC duties, that leaves me roughly 8 – 10 minutes of other material that I can do.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s not like I don’t have solid material that works to fill up those last several minutes with, because I do.  For me I just have to figure out what jokes to tell, and how to group them together so there is a nice flow to the material.

The longest I have been on stage thus far is roughly 15 minutes at one time.  I’ve done that with the last Laugh Shop appearances.  It used to be in the past that if I stayed on stage for that long, once it got past the ten minute mark I’d start to run out of steam and the laughs would dry up pretty quickly.  But with the coaching, it’s given me some confidence and the ability to have material that works and flows together that can sustain itself over a period longer than ten minutes.

Then there is the crowd work part of it too.  I recognized from the last Laugh Shop show that there were opportunities to really take advantage of what the crowd gave me to work with.  Remember the birthdays that were being celebrated?  Those had plenty of opportunities for me to have some fun with it, but maybe because of the nerves I couldn’t find my solid footing to be able to run with it.  It’s funny, but I’ve said before that had these opportunities came up with a karaoke audience, it would be way easier for me to make light of it and get laughs. But in a comedy situation, it’s different.  You don’t have music to fall back on.  Everyone is there to see you and to laugh at your jokes.

This time will be a bit easier in the sense that I should be more relaxed, but with the extended time on stage that sort of negates that comfortable feeling I should have.  Ah, nothing like being kept on my toes!

Tuesday night is the last night I will be able to work out my material, then it’s practice, practice and more practice.

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