I’d Like To Order No Fear From The Menu

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Well, the second night in Los Angeles was the first time doing open mics in California. After my first two performances, it’s nice to know that it can’t get any worse.

I was told to use Über by Jerry to get to Burbank, bit I’m kinda old school. I prefer a taxi. Well, taxi cabs here might as well be run by the Mafia. For example, they charge $40 right off the bat if your trip originates from the airport. In calculating my trip to Flappers I was told it would be over $60. Tried to use Über but because I have a pay-as-you-go cellphone, once I cross the border the signal shuts off. Über required a phone number. I got one from a texting app, but it wasn’t recognized by the system. So, I did what any adventurous Canadian who doesn’t get their rental car til Friday did. I took Los Angeles transit.

You read that right. Trevor Dean took the bus in Los Angeles.

It was over 90 minutes to get there. Jerry suggested we meet at a pub called Barney’s Beanery, a block from Flappers.

It’s quite the setup. They have this giant big screen TV for sports with what can only be described as bleachers for customers to sit in and watch the games from.

I sat outside on the patio waiting for Jerry. It was a bit cool, but the staff turned the heater on. It didn’t help a lot, but considering the night got warmer, it wasn’t that bad. Well, Jerry arrived and was like “it’s too cold out here. Let’s go inside.” I was like are you serious? So indoors we went.

Thankfully Barneys had WiFi and I was able to do Dope Fades. I did the show from the patio of the bar. The signal wasn’t the best and a bit choppy on my end with the delay, so I couldn’t tell if there was a reaction from the audience or not. That’s another thing. They said it was an online show only, yet they had their buddies perform live at the living room of the host. I guess being Canadian visiting on his birthday wasn’t enough to convince them to have me over.

I couldn’t hear there reaction well, much less really see how they reacted.

Then we went to Flappers. When you walk in, the main stage is in this room that’s to your right. Straight ahead is the bar where the 10:30 p.m. open mic starts.

The pictures don’t accurately show it, but doing the open mic at this bar is like performing for sardines. It’s long, rectangular and rather narrow. Like very narrow. Like two people side-by-side between the bar stools and the tables kind of narrow.

This open mic was a lottery but you had to buy an item from the menu first. You could spend anywhere from 2 to 10 bucks. Your name is written on a ticket stub and placed into a mini-pitcher. The host onstage calls up the next act, while drawing the name of the next comic waiting in the wings. But since it was my birthday they guaranteed me a spot at some point in the show.

I think I was on #4 or #5. The other comics before me was a real potpourri of body types, sexual orientations and went from clean to pretty disgusting. Like seriously, I didn’t come 3,000 miles to hear a gay Latino comedian talk about jizz for 90 seconds.

So, it was  my turn. I had the attention of everyone in the room. My phone battery was dead but at least the camcorder caught it all.

I didn’t use my material. Instead I talked about the things that I saw in L.A. as a Canadian. That might be a good idea if I had more time to hash that stuff out.

They said three minutes. When they say three, they mean it. I started my last joke at the one minute light (mannequin closer), and the host got right in front of me waving her arms frantically. I must admit that’s a bit distracting, so I cut the joke short. What made that more frustrating is the fact there was a female at the bar, sitting by herself, attractive, who was smiling and engaged in my set. I usually get them smiling and not laughing, but to have the attention of someone that hot was different. At the end of the night I thanked her and she said “good set”. I was like hmmmm…..yeah, thank-you!

Needless to say, I learned a few valuable lessons. I remember mentioning in a previous blog post that if you only have three or four minutes, don’t screw around. You need to establish who you are and command the audience to follow you instantly. This is L.A., and sometimes it’s easy to momentarily forget things when you are under the bright lights of the big city.

In my defence though, everyone had hits and misses. That’s why we aren’t headliners at the late night open mic. Even the host when she opened didn’t hit the mark. Her material reminded me of my material when I started. The jokes were clever, but not funny. They were missing that certain something.

In closing, taking the bus was interesting. Not only was I way overdressed for transit, but we even had this creepy looking white dude who looked like a gang member or a drifter kick the side of our bus. This guy sitting in front of me was exchanging gang signs with his hands and shook his head like yeah, you’ll get yours soon asshole.

Now, I really have just today to sit down and work through my material for the competition. Jerry looked at it last night and aside from a few minor tweaks it looks okay. I’m heading to get the rental car, then off to Dodger Stadium. I was told to leave 90 minutes before the start of batting practice so I can get there on time.

There may be an additional gig in Oakland that I can do, if I don’t make it far into the competition, as Jerry has contacts there he has reached out to.

The best part of the open mic was that the host never, ever bashed the other comics regardless of how bad they did. That’s the way it should be. But, then again, when you host and you’re hopped up on drugs and/or drunk, how can you be expected to host a show with any class or competency?

I’ve got a lot to live up to Saturday night. Let the preparation begin.

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