Sometimes Doing Nothing Is The Best Option

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Thursday night I was onstage for only the second time in a two month period.  The first :45 to :50 of my 6:30 onstage is worth listening to, in my opinion.  That is because within that first minute, I had something happen that has only happened twice since I started doing comedy.  Both situations were identical, and they were both identical in the way I handled them, which was not the correct way of handling them.

You may not believe what I am about to tell you, but for only the second time since I started, I got laughs.


The type of laughs where they are contagious, spreading from one table to the next, when you laugh so hard you almost “lay an egg”, laughing so hard that tears stream down your face.  This will require a bit of a setup.

Thursday night it was just a show with the local guys, called The Usual Suspects, so any local comic that shows up would be allotted a certain amount of stage time.  There were only two tables in the place with maybe a dozen audience members in total.  The 6 comics all took a table near the front, and the show began.

When it was my turn to go up, I had a set list of about ten minutes figured out and rehearsed.  Dez asked me to do about 5 minutes instead, so I chopped a couple of items, still leaving room for my new material about my new job.  So I went up there, and started with my first line.

To the three ladies here tonight, I have some good news and some bad news.  The good news is, that of all the comics here tonight, I am the only single guy among them.  The bad news is, give it about three minutes, and you will find out why.

Generally a bit like that gets a bit of a reaction from the crowd, I intended on using that to break the ice before getting into my material.  But to the comics, you would have thought I gave a couple of them a dose of laughing gas, because two of them laughed, and I mean laughed hard (for the record, Dez did not witness this as he was in the washroom but he could hear the laughs, he just did not know what I said to get them).  So the laughing went on as I took the mic stand away from in front of me and put it to the side of the stage, these guys are still pissing themselves.  Then one of the comics said “you don’t know him but that’s awesome!”

Now, this is something I did not expect to happen, at least in the sense of getting that kind of reaction.  I got mad.

You read that right.  A comic got mad at the audience because they were laughing so hard.  That is an oxymoron, don’t you think?  At one point I looked at the comics table and told them to shut up, but I just froze.  I got mad because they were cutting into my stage time, not allowing me to finish my set.  Now here is the confusing part for a newbie like myself who hasn’t really had that kind of success a lot.  Once that happened, I decided to abandon my planned material and take my set in a different direction based on the reaction I just received, so instead I started to build my set around material on my inability to get a decent date.  Well, because I threw out my planned material on the spot, and quickly had to figure out now what to fill that remaining time with, it didn’t have as great of a reaction as the first minute did.  Although I have to give the crowd credit, for being as small an audience as they were, they were lively and participated….not to heckle, but to make comments to add to our performances.

The only other time I got laughs like that, was during the comedy competition for the newcomers at Manchesters, you know….the one where I finished last a couple of times, skipped one night, then went in front of the smallest crowd to date and got big laughs like that from a friend in the audience.

Both times I was mad because it cut into my time onstage.  I know that sounds strange, but it serves as a reminder to show just how tough at times, success has been in coming.  Going forward with a new and stable job, and good people surrounding me and willing to help, it should make going onstage a bit easier, easier to prepare, to write and to practice.

When I get a big laugh like that again, hopefully the third time will be a charm, and I will be able to follow some good advice…..

………sometimes doing nothing IS the best option


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