...fail and fail and fail...
Okay so, "What's a Comedy Run?" I just made it up this instant. To me it's a night where I run from comedy club to comedy club, most likely not performing, but casually observing, picking up info, and meeting new people. (Pretty self-explanatory, right?) Usually, they're random and unplanned, and last night didn't differ. [Ideally, I want to convert "Comedy Runs" to "Comedy Rants," where I go from club to club testing out material. The rant is me running at the mouth going from stage to stage. Maybe I should call that a "Stage Run?"]
Last night was not my first Comedy Run. I alluded to last week being my research run, where I got an idea of the scene and places to frequent. Perhaps, I should post photos of the venues and maybe comedians that I meet (established and up-and-comers).
I met up with Comedy Buddy "C" last night. C mentioned we should go to an open mic C was playing. So we did and it was eventful. The comics were B-class, which in my definition means they were seasoned but not headliners. And this night, their jokes weren't fully polished or topped off. B-class people clearly have been doing this for a while, and have a presence and a specific style. They may even have regular gigs. But tonight wasn't an A-game night for them. However, it did give me another perspective. Each time I go to these open mics, I learn something, usually osmotically. And unfortunately, for you, the reader, I haven't figured out how to define each new quality/attribute that I inherit. Therefore, I'll have a more difficult time describing it here in the blog. You'll just have to take my word for it. I'm learning something unique, and I know it's necessary for my development as a comic.
Let's revisit the B-class open mic. They were working and reworking material tonight. This is completely acceptable in the comedy world because open-mics are meant for practicing new material--material that hasn't been "tested" in front of an audience before. And how would you ever know if your material is good if you don't try it out in front of an audience.
I did come across a claustrophobic communal quality amongst the comics. The comic scene, unlike the music scene, or the theatre scene, is quite small, which makes me a bit nervous. I heard stories of the incestuous nature of comedians. Comics dating other comics, backbiting, gossipy conversations. I choose not to take part.
You see, I'm creating my own neuroses by giving credence to the base nature of humans. Shit happens. The shit that comes out of high school never ends. I can't control it. I only need to control my own actions. There! That's my therapy session for the day.
Anyway, at this B-class session, I got to see a lot of different styles, which was awesome. I still haven't found my voice, which I am begging God and the universe to hurry and help me find, so I can start honing in on it.
In comparison to other forms of entertainment, I love comedy for its gloves-come-off attitude. Comedy is immediate. It's gotta be direct and to the point. No half-assing it. I believe you can half-ass it in music.
In music, you can have sucky lyrics and an awesome baseline. You can have truly amazing songwriting skills, a kickass band, and a shoddy scream-o singer. If you're a relatively decent singer or musician, you probably will garner yourself some fans. My point is, you don't have to be spectacular to win yourself a fan base. If you're a busker, you will almost always get pocket change from commuters on their way to work. Perhaps, it's pity pence? And if you're a coffee-shop performer, you're probably a notch above horrible and you'll maybe even get a few good claps. (Maybe because the clientèle is happy you've finished. You see, you never know. (¿)
With comedy, you get up there and you suck or you "kill." And you won't have five songs to do it. You'll have 5 mins, perhaps even closer to 30 secs. And according to Louis CK1, whom I met later on in the night, he mentioned that you have to keep going up on stage and "fail and fail and fail" (so typical CK) and see what sticks. You'll find out immediately where you stand. Personally, I find that in comedy this "immediacy element" to be invaluable. I'm running against time, folks! Most comedians don't get really truly established for 10 years from their start. Where has the time gone?
Knowing about this immediate feedback, to me is thrilling, awesome, and enlivening! I don't know what grabs me about it. I almost want to fail, to see what it's like. When I get up on stage, I definitely shake. My hands shake. A part of it is control, getting up there and controlling my words (because anyone who knows me, knows I leak at the mouth). And you can tell by this blog entry that I have a lot to say, tangentially-speaking.
But what keeps me going back on stage, is that I have something important to say. Really important to me. And I believe deep down in my heart that people care to listen, especially if presented in a funny witty manner.
1Louis CK [Official Site | MySpace | Wikipedia] [Return to Entry]