Friday, September 20, 2013

A little rant...

This might piss some people off just a bit, but it kind of drives me crazy so, whatever, get pissed if you want to.

I've been doing comedy for two years now. I've been a performer for most of my life, but only two years as a comedian. I'm not the world's expert on anything but I'm pretty sure I'm right about this. I have a complaint about some comedians.

Audiences can be iffy. We all love it when we have a big room chock full of people who came to laugh. It's a great big, ego-feeding, energizing, tit-sucking RUSH. Seriously, it's just the best, and I love it as much as anyone. But we all have also experienced that small, shy, had-a-bad-day, ho-hum collection of barely conscious strangers who, although they've paid their money to see some comedy, will still sit there like they've been beaten and dragged to traffic school. The tough crowd.

But not all of them will be like that. Most of them do laugh at least some of the time. And even if they're not in an hysterical panic, they're probably having a good time. So why is it that so many comics are completely undone by this kind of room? For some reason they don't hear the laughter that is coming their way in a wimpy but steady stream, but instead will fixate on that one stone-faced guy in the middle of the room. Last night I was at a show that had this kind of audience. It was an undersold show that, in my opinion, was way overbooked with comedians. They could have cut the line-up in half and it probably would have been a better show. And here's where I could get into some trouble. I thought most of the material kind of sucked. But I have seen audiences that just about wet themselves laughing at that stuff, so you can't really judge a show by that.

The thing that drives me nuts is, I really, really hate it when a comic gets up there, gets a few polite giggles and then blames the audience for not falling out of their chairs. Last night many people WERE laughing, but almost every one of those comics were thrown by the modest chuckle level and they commented on it. None of them overtly turned on the audience, but the comics' own discomfort was noticeable enough to dampen the room even more than it already was. You could just feel it.

Some comics will completely bail on their own act. One night at a different club, a young female comic wasn't quite feeling the love so she just walked around the stage making comments about what was up there; the floor, the back drop, the mike stand. Then she picked up a menu and started reading it and saying how stupid she thought it was. That's the worst example, but I've seen stuff that was close to being that bad.

Audiences can be squirrely. Smaller audiences can be harder to fluff up. But I've had 13 people in a room that all laughed their asses off. I've also seen 60 people just sit there. Sometimes there's nothing you can do to make them laugh but the totally fucking WRONG thing to do is blame THEM. Jeez, I've only been doing this for 2 years. Almost everyone in the comedy world has been at it waaaay longer than I have. Haven't they figured it out by now that there's a certain audience dynamic you just can't control? And so what? You still have to be professional and do your job. Being able to get up on a stage as a professional entertainer is a privilege, and there are thousands who would love to do it, who work hard at being good at it and might not ever get the opportunity. The people who paid their money are there to be entertained. They're NOT there to stroke your broken ego. And if they aren't laughing you still have to perform as if they are! The audience isn't there because they love you. You are there because you love them. At least you should.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Hollywood Types

Last night I performed at a bar show in Sherman Oaks. It's called The Cork Lounge and the show they have on Wednesday nights is becoming more and more popular. Nice atmosphere in that place, and I'm glad to be a part of it.

When I got there I settled into one of the booths. A couple sat at the table next to mine. He was about my age, maybe younger, hair slicked back, glasses with darkish shades and wearing a nice suit. His girlfriend was a typical trophy girlfriend, blonde and boobylicious. When I did my set I checked out everyone in the room to see how my act was going over. Lots of people laughing, some not paying attention at all, the usual bar audience. Mr. Hollywood was sitting there with his arm around the girlfriend. She was laughing, he was just smiling an nodding. Every joke punch line, every song laugh line brought a smile and a nod, smile and nod, smile and nod. So, ok, he's enjoying it.

As I was packing up at the end of the show, he rose and shook my hand. "I really enjoyed what you did up there. Your songs are very funny." I said, "Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for coming." He said, "Have you done any movies? Has Hollywood come calling?" I said, "Oh no, not yet. I haven't been at this for very long. I would really love it, though." He said, "Well, I think a lot of people would love it. I think a lot of people would really enjoy what you do."

At this point I'm really wondering where this is leading.

I said, "Aw, thanks. I appreciate you saying that." Then he said, "Yeah, I think you could be the female Adam Sandler!"

I punched that motherfucker in the face.

And then I gave him my card.