The Million Dollar Question

I know what you are all wondering.  How did it go last night? 

Well, I think that depends all upon who you ask.

What I think (we’ll get to in a minute), some said I was very comfortable onstage, some said I appeared nervous, but the consensus was, from what I could see is that people appreciated it.

All week I’ve been getting 2 – 3 hours sleep if I’m lucky.  I was asked if I was nervous going in.  No, I think the time for being nervous has far passed.  I remember before going on that I felt tight, anxious, but not nervous.  Crackers was about a little more than half full when I got there at 8:00, then as we got closer towards showtime, more people started showing up, some that I never expected, some got sitters or made plans to have their kid(s) watched while they came outjust to see Junior and I perform. For that alone I am flattered and it’s a compliment to have my friends come out to watch. 

Junior Kush did a phenomenal job opening for me.  He is probably one of my favourite local guys to watch perform.  If you haven’t seen him yet, you should.  He will be judging the karaoke league with me very soon as well.  The way the room was set up, I had to make sure to turn to perform for people who were sitting on either side of me, but it seemed…..well, let’s just say that I didn’t have a command of the crowd the way Junior did.  The biggest response I got was when Cam introduced me, and Junior was timing me and once he gave me the cue for my 15 minutes, he clapped, and I think people followed suit because they knew I was finished. 

My performance wasn’t good, in my opinion.  There were a couple of moments that I got a reaction but again, it lacked the consistency from just about every other performance I’ve had since I started this journey in October.  It’s been almost five months that I’ve been doing this, and I am not comfortable with things yet, don’t have a shtick, and am still trying to find topics that will resonate with the audience.  Last night I did 2/3 of new material, as I was using it as a barometer for the competition next week.  Some of the new material though involves story telling instead of the one or two line jokes.  Here’s where it gets tricky though.

Dez told us once that you need to be able to tell a story, and tell it well (set up, timing and punchline).  If you can do that, the laughs will follow.  But considering the fact that a few of my newer jokes were of the story variety, I didn’t have a chance to work them in front of a crowd.  You can practice all you want, which I did, but it doesn’t give you a real good sense of what works and what doesn’t.  I knew the story I wanted to tell during the joke, but afterwords I realized that some of those bits are good but just need to be reworked.  Maybe that’s why some of them fell flat? 

The one thing I was told is that I felt comfortable and confident up there, that one regular of Crackers pointed out to me.  Now again, I’m not an expert on this, but I am the one onstage performing, and I have performed with bands before, so I think this qualifies me a bit to comment on the difference between comedy and music, because BELIEVE ME, there IS a difference.

A HUGE DIFFERENCE

With music for example, if people like what you are playing or singing for karaoke, how do they show it?

  • sing along
  • dance
  • clap
  • cheer

Now, in comedy how do you know if people like what you do? 

THEY LAUGH

It’s that simple.  If you aren’t good, you get confused looks from people, which I get on a regular basis.  Plus, if you aren’t funny or people don’t get a joke they simply won’t laugh.  You can think a joke is funny, but if the audience doesn’t, you just try it on a different crowd hoping to get a different result.  Nobody gets up and leaves or goes for a smoke or to play the machines when I am onstage.  They give me a chance.  I don’t get heckled usually, and if that happens it’s only because someone in the audience is drunk enough that they started getting lippy with the other comics long before I went onstage.  On the one hand, I feel as if I should apologize, but on the other hand I shouldn’t have to because I am so new and it will take a few months of performing yet to find my way.

So, all in all, the night was a success.  Junior showed me last night what to do to be successful, and my performance showed me what not to do for the next time.

That’s all for now, back to work!

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