As many of you know, last night I participated in a stand-up comedy contest.
I am choosing my words very carefully because even though I don’t particularly care about burning THIS bridge, I don’t know what other paths it may be connected to…
With that in mind, I will not name the club or the contest so I can tell you that I’ve performed there twice and both times it was a bad experience.
Not so much the going up and doing my thang… just the atmosphere and the audience (which I think has a lot to do with the atmosphere).
The first time I was there, all the lights stayed on and it was a weeknight so people were anxious to get home (I think). No one laughed, at anything. It wasn’t just me. A dozen people went up and no one laughed at anyone. It was super awkward but I didn’t take it personally.
So here’s the play by play of last night:
Actually, I’m going to start with Monday night when I got an email stating that there would be extra points awarded to people who brought more than 10 people, more than 15 people and more than 20 people.
Great. So, it’s a popularity contest? Ok, well, all I can control is what I do. Their goal is to fill seats and sell alcohol. My goal is to get up and perform. I haven’t since August and I need the practice. I hope people think I’m funny but it’s not even my main objective at this point.
Last night. I’m supposed to check in with the promoter between 7:00-7:15. I’m (unbelievably) early. I check in and he reminds me I have 6 minutes and to watch for the red light. Got it.
Get inside, order some food, because I’ve been running around all day preparing and my sugar is starting to drop. Minor panic sets in.
No one knows the order of performers. I mean, someone knows but no one is telling. They want everyone to be there on time, so show up- you might be first.
The show starts, the MC did some jokes, complained that no one was laughing, and explained that 13 amateur comedians each had 10 minutes to perform.
Shar looked at me and said, “You’d better talk reeeeaaaallll slow”.
I was the second performer on stage.
It was so bright. So bright.
I felt comfortable enough, going through my spiel… until I saw a guy in the front row actually TRYING NOT to laugh. Part of our score is based on audience response, so he was there for someone else and didn’t want to give anyone else any help. Ironically, this made ME laugh.
The time ended up being 6 minutes, instead of 10. I got cut off on my last joke but overall felt good about the performance.
The rest of the show was hard to sit through. Not in an all bad way. I was tired, I had a headache, I was super glad to be done with this contest and there were some really disrespectful people in the audience.
People having conversations with each other, trying to talk over the comedian. People playing on their phones. Arguing.
The worst was near the end. I don’t remember the guy’s name but he was doing a decent job until someone yelled out “nigger”! He was shocked at first. Then there was some banter between the two. This woman had been talking throughout the entire show and other people were getting pissed. Someone yelled out “Go home lady, nobody likes you!”
“Shut up” someone else said.
I could feel my muscles tighten in time with the tension in the club.
Eventually, security DID arrive and escort her out but not before she grabbed a glass and threw it at the manager’s head! All the while, this 50 something-year-old, football player structured woman is screaming at her scrawny boyfriend “Stand up for me nigger!”
A lot of my friends had left early because she had been such a disruption.
By the time the MC was reading the names of the winners, I was relieved to not be one of them!
“Are you ok?” a friend asked
“Hell yeah, it just means I don’t have to come back!”
On the plus side, seven people told me they thought I was great, I did a good job etc. That felt nice.
I have signed up for another comedy contest that will run in June, I think, but I plan on making comedy a more routine part of my life.
Thanks everyone for the best wishes, encouragement, and affirmations… I appreciate the support. I did what I set out to do, I’m not discouraged and I’m already writing new material.
Afterall, who doesn’t need more laughter?