Wrapping Up The Great Plains Comedy Festival

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The 11th annual comedy festival in the city came to an end last night at the downtown comedy club.  By all accounts it went very well.  Although my new job precluded me from attending and being a part of more shows, I had a great time.

The festival has come a long way from one of the first closing ceremony shows that was held in the ballroom of the Delta Bess.  For a festival of that size, it’s interesting to see during the weeks leading up to the festival how detailed plans are talked about, then when it comes to the festival to get started, the simplest plans work best.  Now, I’m not being disrespectful at all towards the festival, I just think it’s funny because had I organized something like that, with the way my brain works I am not sure I’d have the ability to recognize that simple plans are best.  I like to be detailed and organized, if possible, maybe too much at times.  This is why Dez Reed does a fantastic job putting this together.  Plus, he’s been doing this long enough that he knows where to “cut the fat” and do the necessary things to ensure success.  While it’s good to be detail-orientated, careful and thorough, sometimes you can achieve those objectives by being a simple planner too.

To be able to line up the venues, get the comics here, line up accommodations and bring the audience in is no small task, and to do this solely on your own while life goes on, that’s a real thing of beauty.  Although I have to admit, I felt “something” during the festival…..

I mean sure, the festival went every night for a week so in that sense it was different, but I also got a sense that things were different onstage for the performers too.  I noticed that the comics onstage had something different about them, like a new-found energy maybe?  It’s hard to explain unless you have seen the guys perform before, and I don’t want to make it sound like they don’t give a shit when they are onstage outside of the parameters of the festival either.  But you can definitely tell that they brought energy, maybe it was because it’s a festival and the crowds came to support it.

Sure, that might sound like a stupid thing for me to say, then again I never really saw much local comedy outside of the comedy festival so I really had nothing to compare it to.  It’s true though, at least it’s easier to see for me when I watch the comedy veterans do the festival. It’s understandable though.

The first night I did was the Tuesday night.  We started at the comedy club, performing for the comics in the room and 4 audience members, then we hauled ass and went to the House Tap bar & grill for the next show.  Wow!  One of the best comedy audiences we’ve performed in front of in a very long time.  Right from the start they showed their love to all the comics until the very end.  The best part about that night was I knew the owner and the guy who worked the door, as I graduated high school with both guys.  Once I got up there, I was the second act of the night, the first guy was a headliner and did great.  I knew I had to do something to get them onside within those first few seconds.

I got up there and replied to a comment the MC made about me growing up on the west side and having 6 kids.  I thought it was cute, but I got nothing from it.  Ohhhhhhh shit, here we go again!

But at that moment it hit me!  I made a joke about those two guys bullying me in high school, and most of the crowd there knew the guys, they turned their heads towards them and laughed.  It didn’t really happen, but look at me, I’m skinny as fuck.  I look like I should still be bullied at my age!  These guys are bigger and would probably have an easy time of it if they chose to rustle me up, and that’s what made it funny I think.  It is important for me to get that reaction early on in my set, because it can set the tone for the rest of my performance.

I did the same thing last night during the closing ceremonies.  Luckily I picked up on something the previous comic touched on and was able to apply it to me perfectly.

To everyone who volunteered, to those who came to watch and to the comics themselves, thank you all for making this year a lot of fun and a success!  We shall see you all next year.

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