Everyone had me well pre-warned about my stand-up debut… My first time would be horrendous no matter what, just enjoy it sort of thing. Era shur that’s just like the first time I had… I won’t even bother, those jokes are too easy even for the likes of me. In preparation for the debut, I took the route of not planning too much out, not to think about it too much, avoid over doing it and nerves. I had the gist of what I was going to go with, my dodgy opener about sex with a pig in Mexico on Spring Break, then a few stories, finish with my one joke, should be a good laugh, no nerves, I love making speeches, same thing really.
However, I must admit, nerves were brought to the surface the minute I turned the corner onto Melrose and saw the club, Improv. It was my first time seeing the place. Plus, there was a ton of people gathered outside the club, as if it was a queue for a concert or something. Maybe only 50-60 people really, but looked like a big queue at the time. Here’s what it looks like…
Seeing all this brought the nerves right up to the top of my stomach, and down to the bottom of my bowels. It was then I realized I had no clue what to expect. As I walked in the door of the comedy club, I copped on that not only had I never done stand-up before, this was my first time even being in a comedy club. Queue rumble of the bowels, ha.
As I was told to come along, 3-5 minute gig, management might be watching, might impress or you’ll be crap, don’t go over alloted time given etc., I presumed I was going on no matter what. Instead, I was given a piece of paper, put your name and number on that, and stick it in the jar. Ok. Hanging around the bar in front, waiting to see when I would be on, I saw everyone else was working on material, scribbling on pads, making adjustments, trying out lines on each other. I was just sitting there wondering if my sweat patches were going to be visible up on stage, some heat in here, phew, turn on that a/c. I realized that the nerves had started to get at me a bit, so I decided to settle them with a cup of coffee, and a can of Red Bull at the bar while the rest worked on their notes. Stupid idea. Queue worse rumbles of the bowels. Why didn’t I go with the water?!
As it turns out, the name and number were for a draw, to see who would be given the slots for the 3 minute windows, there were too many people here for everyone to go on. Great, I knew before looking at the list that there was bob hope I would be on it. Everyone seemed to know everyone else, banter amongst each other (which, for a group of comedians, or wannabe ones, was absolutely brutal, mostly annoying people who were trying too hard to make jokes). I still rushed to the list when it was put up on the wall, full of hope that they might take pity on me and let me in… nay, did not make the cut. Balls.
I think maybe 10 or 15 of us didn’t make the cut. I heard a lot of “Aw f**k this s**t man, I didn’t want to waste my time here anyways!”. I, on the other hand, did, a lot, so I decided to stick around to watch the acts at least. Being honest, initially, I didn’t mind too much not getting to go up. Everyone else seemed far better prepared, knew what they were doing, I would just watch and get tips. It wasn’t like I was after telling a load of people about doing it, had been pumped all day, and was hoping it would make good material for the blog or anything like that. I would just watch and take notes. Before it kicked off, I noticed all the photos on the wall of the different people who had performed at the club, everyone from Robin Williams to Jack Black, Jerry Seinfeld to Chris Rock, Bill Crosby to Jay Leno. An impressive list to say the least.
The club part was class, the brick wall and microphone to the right, tables and the likes to the left. I grabbed a seat near the door, conveniently next to the M.C/organizer guy, introducing myself like a good teacher’s pet. The first few acts fired me up. No offence to them, but they were fairly horrific. As in bruuuuuuutal, let the joke go. From the first few acts alone I learnt that, 9 times out of 10, really long jokes are a no-go, the audience just zones out unless it is sheer brilliance, and if a joke is going poorly to start with, 10 times out of 10 it will not get any better. I also learnt that if a joke gets a good laugh once, don’t ruin it by adding on an extra punch line, particularly when the second punch line is horrendous and makes the first seem like a fluke.
After watching all this, I was pumped now to go up. If nothing else, I could be no worse than the first few acts. I went up to the M.C, and asked what the hope was going on at the end if there was time? This got me on the maybe list, still 4 others ahead of me though on the maybe list alone. At least I had moved up a notch.
The next bundle of acts that followed were actually good. In particular, the big fat gay guy was funny (his own description), the black albino was brilliant (actually was an albino and black, weirdest thing I have seen in a few days), and a girl who wasn’t great at delivering jokes, but was class at singing songs in different voices. I also realized how easy going everyone was with racist humour (not full on, but black folk taking digs at white folk, white folk having digs at Jewish folk, one girl having digs at everyone because her parents were black, white and Jewish). If you can get black folk liking your jokes in the crowd, you are onto a winner, they go way over the top with the laughing, while white folk just chuckle. Not sure what the Jewish folk were up to.
This round of acts had me even more pumped to go on, it seemed like some buzz when the crowd were liking your stuff, playing off each other, banter on. I went back to the M.C, and pulled out a banker line… Any chance I can go up at the end, I think I have to go back to Ireland next week, might be my only chance… “Oh, you’re IR-ish, how cool, I’ll let you go up right at the very end, 3 minutes only, pick your song.” I had noticed everyone was getting a snippet of a song as they came on stage, like wrestlers do, so flicked through the song book to choose. First page, saw a song I had been listening to a remix of on the way to the club, done, sorted, pumped, I was going up!!!
When I finally heard my song being played, and my name being called out, I think there must have been about 10 people left in the audience. The majority of people who did their act, waited a few more acts then headed off so numbers dwindled as the show went on. Seeing as I was the last on, I got the bottom of the barrel. But I did not give a flying funk, I was absolutely pumped by the time I got onto the stage. The gig was only 3 minutes, with 2 minutes gone a light in front would flash, and when it was up, it would flash again. So I ploughed on with the opener as I was walking up, no time to waste.
I won’t go through blow for blow each joke, I’ll give the outline. Firstly, the opener was barely understood, which was the best thing that happened. Queue banter with the crowd, them mocking me, me mocking them back, then I just mocked myself and got good laughs. Everything else I had planned went out the window. Instead I went off on a tangent about texting cabmen my address from the back of their cabs seeing as they couldn’t understand me, fighting homeless people, complete random stuff that the crowd had me thinking about up there, just stories from the blog really. I realized that by finishing my stories with a dumb American accent, just a word or two, I was getting laughs, it worked a treat. I saw the light flashing, so to finish off, I told big fat gay guy in the crowd that I had a joke for him. What does a gay horse eat? Heeeeeeyyyy – the only joke I use for everything, speeches, weddings, funerals – and it went down a treat. Wuu’s and laughs followed, I was pumped walking off to the music.
That is my impression of how the debut went, in my opinion at least. I most certainly have a biased opinion to think it went well. God only knows how everyone else saw it.I am sure big fat gay guy and black albino were not half as impressed. Although, one good sign that gave me an even bigger head after coming off the stage. The manager/M.C guy came up to me afterwards, and re-introduced himself. Telling me how Jim Carey was brutal the first time he went on years back, so he thought I had done well. Ah, come on, I bet you say that to all the guys, stop… please, tell me more, ha. “You should come back next week, I’ll give you a better time, oh… are you not going back to Ireland this week or something you said?” Balls. Ah, no, actually, that wont be until later next week, maybe even the week after, depends really. See you next week boss! Will I be paid? He laughs “Good one, see you next week”. Eh, I wasn’t joking.
All in all, I was pumped walking home, listening to the remix of my new comedy entrance song, wondering why I hadn’t gone along before, especially seeing as it was free to do, what was I thinking?!!! It was some laugh! Not to worry though, me thinking I was great was soon squashed when I went to the gym. Thinking I was now funny, and witty, with great one liners, plus filled to the brim with confidence, I decided to break the ice with a hot girl next to me at a machine. How’s the work out working out for you today? Ha, huh, ha, d’ya get it? “What’s that meant to mean? What?” and she walks away, over to tell two of her friends to stay away from the weirdo over there in the blue bicycle shorts. I was back down to earth with a bang! It seems 3 minutes is the most I can manage at being funny in one day. Hence, such an informative blog, I left the humour on the stage!
Song of the day, random but could only be this one, even though I couldn’t find the remix I have… Don’t Go Breaking My Heart by Elton John and Kiki Dee