Comedy Club 2.0

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Just about every comedian will have that one story, of where everything went completely sideways.  The difference between myself and the other local comics is, they won’t tell you the story out in the open, subjecting themselves to criticism and hate.  Then again, I’m not like everybody else.  So, here is my story of how things went completely sideways one night.

I may have told the story in a previous post, but not in the detail that I will do with this one, which is why it has been password protected.  When the website gets new traffic as a result of the promotion for my upcoming show, I do not need the world to see what I am about to share with you.

Back a few years ago, things were drastically different for the comedian known as Trevor Dean.  in the middle of 2015 I was still with Nicki then, and had a Friday/Saturday booking at The Laugh Shop when it was still housed in the ParkTown Hotel, which in my mind is the best, and most intimidating room for stand-up comedy in this city.

The headliner that night was Brett Martin.  I was the MC/Host and had to do 30 minutes, then hand the ball off to the headliner.  Sounds simple enough, right?

I had tickets set aside for my lawyer at the time, as I had started the process of preparing to fight my legal issue.  I had a few friends there as well.  I had lots of new material and felt good about it.

So, the Friday night show was bad.  I mean, seriously bad.  So bad in fact, that I ditched early and only did about 20 minutes of material.  They call headliners such for a reason, as Brett was able to deliver the goods and salvage the night.

I remember during the crowd work at the beginning, there was a woman sitting off to my left with a bunch of friends.  She was blonde and wearing these Daisy Dukes shorts that were seriously short.  What made me look in her direction though was because she was sporting a bandage that started from the side of her knee and went just about all the way up her thigh.

Yes, I had a girlfriend at the time, but holy shit.  If there ever was an alley-oop for a comedian, this was it.  I asked her how she got that bandage on her leg, and she said it was from roller skating, if I remember correctly.  My problem with crowd work is that I am unable to be “in the moment” and knock it out of the park.  Usually I will have to watch the tape later and think of things I could have said then.  I ended up saying something like “wow, sorry to hear that” and went on with my material.

Saturday night was way worse, and the reason why it took 2.5 years to get a paid gig again.

For some reason after the Friday night show, I thought it might be a good idea to get drunk before the next show.  It might help me relax and allow me to be a bit more spontaneous and creative.  So, I did something that I never did before.

I started to day drink.

at 3:00 p.m.  With a 26 oz. bottle of Krakken Black Spiced Rum (I do not recommend getting hammered on this stuff)

So, that day there was a power outage at the hotel, and we weren’t sure if the show would go on as planned.  That night had a surprise for the audience.  I was going to let Irish Steve do a guest spot before the headliner.

I had lobbied the booker to put him on, as I said he would do a great job, which he did.  The booker told me it would come out of my stage time, and I was like well, last night sucked so bad that less stage time for me wouldn’t be a bad thing tonight.

The show ended up going on, and I took the stage very drunk.  The audience that night was colder than the night before, and to make it worse, I had this table of young punks in the back beaking at me.  So, Steve does great and the headliner did a great job closing it out.  I was kinda getting nauseous towards the end of Brett’s set, so I asked Steve to go back on and close the show after the headliner was done.  He did just that, and everyone loved him.

Then there is me, sitting on the floor of the bathroom with my face hovered over the toilet, wondering if I will barf and when the horrible feeling in my stomach will disappear.  I let Nicki into the bathroom stall and she was watching over me.

Then I felt something soft hit me in the back of the head.

Remember those guys who were beaking at me earlier?  Well, they were standing at the bathroom stall door, listening to me swear and be sick.  Nicki opened the door, only to find these jackasses recording it on their cell phone.  Nicki took the phone and erased the video, while Steve just about kicked the shit out of the three of them.  I don’t think we left the club til two hours after the show ended.  By then, not only the audience, but the staff also were aware of the host being sick in the bathroom drunk out of his face.

As a side note, after the comedy community got wind of Steve’s appearance at the Laugh Shop, shortly thereafter it was revealed that he stole material, allegedly.  There were a couple of comics that kept rubbing it in my face that I helped out a fraud, instead of recognizing that I tried to stick my neck out for a fellow comic, and ultimately got burnt in the process.

So, I get an email from the booker asking me to call on Monday morning.  They calmly asked me to give them my version of the story.  I did, then they told me what they heard from the staff working that night.  Based on that shit show, I was asked by the booker if I thought that I should still host in Regina the following week.  I said that I had learned my lesson and would host, but it was ultimately their decision.

Half of my pay that night went to Steve, which, given the circumstances, was the right thing to do.  They also informed me that Steve would host the following week in Regina.  So, I went to Regina to support Steve and did a few minutes of a guest spot.  That night he killed it and did way better than the headliner for that night.  I remember Steve telling me the headliner told him “don’t be funnier than me”.

For the next 2.5 years I only had three guest spots of ten minutes each.  Two were of Trevor Dean and the other was Carnac.  I was told that there were no more guest spots for the foreseeable future, so I kinda thought my days of opening again were screwed.  Not only did I get a gig opening, but this time I have been matched up with one of their more popular headliners.

I cannot thank the booker enough for the way they handled the situation.  I’ve been talked down to all my life, and was certainly expecting the same here.  Instead, they weren’t mad, obviously disappointed but they were calm and rational.  They wanted to hear my side of the story first, then asked me if I was in their shoes, would I give me another shot the following week?

That is the foremost example of mercy and grace that I have ever received.  It took over two years that saw a relationship failure, legal battle which I was spared from a trial and three years in P.A., multiple job losses, going to Los Angeles for comedy and finding Faith Alive Family Church, all while coming perilously close to folding up the comedy tent of Trevor Dean and throwing it in the trash.

They are only down to two Fridays a month at the Laugh Shop, now at the Ramada Hotel & Golf Dome.  They have a couple of local opening acts coming up, and both are kinda crude and vulgar.  I’m not belittling them for writing material like that.  But with my opportunity in Regina, it could fast forward my track to open again in Saskatoon, and have an opening act you can be proud of.  One that is local and clean from start to finish.

I don’t think any of you really understood how lucky and blessed I am to receive a second chance.  This is why I wrote this post.  The booker told me a while back “when I started out in this business, I had people give me a lot of chances, and now it seems like I’m giving those chances I received, to you.”

If you have the opportunity to make a road trip to Regina to watch the show, you will see a different Trevor Dean.  One with brand new material covering new topics, and being 100% clean.  Sure, the other local comedians can leave me out of their shows and promotions, that’s fine.  Because for the first time since I started, I have the spotlight shined squarely upon me, and I have it all to myself.  Nobody in this city has worked harder or endured more bullying and threats from the local comedy community (and unidentified haters), than myself.

I always wondered why God spared me from that jail sentence and the embarrassment of a trial.  That three year sentence would have ended in November, 2018.  For the longest time, I wondered what purpose God had for keeping me out of prison for those three years.

I think His purpose for those three years is finally coming into view.

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Vern
    Jan 24, 2018

    I think it’s really important to learn from our mistakes.
    Baggage, no matter the size, gets awful heavy after carrying it for a long time.
    It seems like 2018 is the year for many to release that which has been weighing them down. I am so happy you are moving towards what you want and embracing the second chance.If you have learned the lesson, there is no longer a need to carry it into your future…it only keeps you anchored to the past!

    • Trevor Dean
      Jan 24, 2018

      I think people can release their baggage, only if they are in a position to do so. That means taking responsibility for who you used to be and using that to be different from who you are.

      The good thing is that episode happened over two years ago, where I now have a much better handle on the timing aspect of a joke. At least I don’t talk over the laughs. But the crowd work is the big thing. 95% of audiences around these parts will not beak at you. But when they do, it’s important to get a positive reaction from the audience or else you’ll be digging a hole with an oversized shovel. I can’t forget my mistakes but they always are in the back of my mind, as a reminder to what can happen when you aren’t prepared…and drunk

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