Monday, March 05, 2012

Over the moon...

That's how I feel. What a great night!

This weekend was my hosting debut at Flappers. Barbara, one of the owners of the club, invited me over a month ago to start hosting. For me, someone who's just getting started in comedy, this is a pretty big step. I've been wanting to get into hosting, I just didn't know it would happen so soon.

Friday's 8:00 show was almost a full house and the audience was great! Friends, Rich and Cindy, and Tammy and Fernando, Jim and Colleen, and Terry and Sue came to the show (Thanks so much, guys!). Rick, the manager, took me aside before the show to give me some instructions. I've seen several shows at Flappers, so I pretty much knew what to do. Still, getting the instructions was necessary because I did make some mistakes. Rick gave feedback every time I left the stage. I felt pretty good about my opening and my set. People laughed. I wasn't as strong when I was introducing the comics. Before I host again I will be working on my weak spots.

The second show didn't go as well. The audience was much smaller and not as jolly. I kind of lost my focus and flubbed a lot of the stuff I was supposed to say. There was one woman in the front who was just a little drunk at the start of the show, but by the time the headliner (Drake Witham) went on, she was fully quite fucked up and wanted to "participate". That involved raising her hands and shouting, "Woo hoo!" at inconvenient intervals. Drake had some difficulty getting through his set. But he's very good at working the audience and he didn't let her throw him. She was annoying, but he made her outbursts part of the show.

At the end of every show, the host gives away prizes and is supposed to send everyone out on a big round of applause. Rick is pretty specific about how he wants that done. With my nerves and inexperience, I kind of messed that up. Not too horribly, I thought. Overall, I felt pretty good about how the night went.

When I arrived at the club on Saturday, Rick was in a bit of a mood. He kind of snapped at me about how poorly I had ended the show the night before. Not a lot, but it was enough to shake me up, and I could feel myself starting to crumble. I went into the green room so I could be alone and try to pull it together. Thoughts were bouncing off the inside of my skull and I was in a small panic. I told myself, look, you're trying to get into this show biz game and this is not the last time someone will be displeased with you. In fact, you're going to hear worse. You need to be able to deal with it. (breathe, breathe, breathe...)

I needed to walk around and get rid of some energy. I went out front to chat with Onely (sweetness and light). While I was out there I saw Rick kind of snap at her too. That actually made me feel a little better (sorry, Onely) because then I knew it wasn't just me. He was having a tense night.

(Before I go on, I need to say that ever since this whole thing started, Rick has been nothing but kind and encouraging to me. He's the one who first put me on that stage. I will always be grateful to him for what he's done for me.)

Posted all over the lobby were flyers about the show. James P. Connolly was making a guest appearance! I got excited when I saw his name. He was performing at Flappers the first night I got on stage, and he's very funny. I had family and friends coming that night, and I was happy that they were going to get a great show. I went back to the green room for a little while (breathe, breathe, breathe) and then went back out front to see who was in line. Jeff and his friend, Tim, were right at the hallway. Whew! So happy to see friendly faces! We had a nice chat (I told them to applaud wildly at the end of the show. Yeah, cheating, I know.) and then I saw Stacey and Scotty in line so I went to talk to them for a bit. Then I went back in and waited for the show to start.

FULL HOUSE! While Onely was making her opening announcement, I was offstage jumping up and down to get my energy up. Then she announced my name and I hit that stage like I was on fire! Hiya, hiya, hiya, ladies and germs! Well, not quite like that, but you get the picture. Oh man, that audience was great! GREAT! They laughed at everything! I was in love! I did three songs, told some jokes, introduced James P. and then I was off. When I went around the curtain, Rick was there and he just threw his arms around me. He said, "You knocked it out of the park, kiddo!"


I went back to the green room (fortunately it was empty) and did a happy dance, punctuated by fist pumps and giggles. I was higher than a fucking kite. It was an amazing feeling. Then I went back out for the rest of the show. It went fairly well. Still some mistakes and wavering focus, but overall pretty good, and I was HAPPY! After the show I saw my friend Chuck Craw. I hadn't seen him before the show and I was so glad that he had come. Then I talked to Lindsay, Paige, Kyle, and Samy for a bit. We all went out front for a big hug fest. Then I had to go back in and reset for the next show.

Heh! Big difference for the 10:00. Twenty-two people in the audience and they were like statues compared to the earlier show. Yeah, ok, whatever. I didn't care. I think they still enjoyed it. We got mild chuckles instead of guffaws. Some audiences are like that. You still need to work just as hard for them as the ones who love everything you do. After the show I went back to the green room to fill out a W9 form. Yep! I is a professsssional now!

Rick came downstairs and handed me a check. He said, "Donita, I've written checks for everything from a box of cups to paying big name comics. I have never taken so much pleasure in writing a check." He was full of praise and he even commended me on how well I took it when he snapped at me. He said he wants to put me in the hosting rotation. And I, true to form, burst into tears.

I went back into the green room to pack up my stuff. Drake was there. Heh! He asked me if I was ok. I told him I was fine, I'm just a big weeper. We sat and talked for a while. He said he thinks I'm going to do really well in comedy, and he liked my story about how I got started. A couple more hugs from Onely and Rick and then I went home.

As I drove I looked at the moon. I said, "Yeah. I could take that."