I’m almost at the one year mark for performing stand-up comedy. My first set was in January 2013. I have one more show this year on Thursday, December 19th at 9:30pm at the Metropolitan Room. I haven’t really done well at the Metropolitan Room. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s really a jazz club and people are more into beatnik humor? This particular performance was brutal. It’s crazy. I was pumped for this one. I didn’t get to do a show in October. I had a bunch of new material that I was happy to share. I spent all of the night before writing and reworking and tinkering. I spent all of that day rehearsing. I felt pretty good heading into the show. Then I had a mindfart. From that point on, I don’t think I got more than a smile. The people just seemed angry or disinterested or in a haze.
I posted this set on Facebook and got some good feedback. Anything is better than, “You’re so brave” or “It takes a lot of courage to do what you do”. Come on, people. I’m not fighting on the war front in the Middle East or saving children from house fires. I’m telling jokes. Jokes that, I guess, people can’t relate to (or don’t want to). Jokes that are too ‘raw’ or dirty?
I came off that stage and no one congratulated me or said anything. It was just my post-performance endorphin rush hurtling reactions and thoughts and flashbacks my way. Where did I go wrong? Am I just not funny? Am I not speaking clearly enough? Should I just stop performing? I honestly almost went up to the booker and apologized. But then other comics came off stage. And they all had the same reaction – ‘what’s up with this crowd?’
I understand everyone bombs. I’ve learned that a comedian should NEVER blame the crowd for not laughing. But when a entire lineup of comics perform and hardly anyone laughs, when the professional headliner who’s been doing this for years has trouble squeezing out chuckles THEN can I say it’s the audience’s fault?
Of course not. I’m just confused by these bringer shows. My friends laughed – all 5 of them. They didn’t think it was my best work but it wasn’t as horrible as I’d first estimated. I watch and listen to other comics and I don’t think their material is as strong as mine yet they get bigger or more frequent laughs. As bad as I felt immediately following my set, I felt okay when I watched the video. I’m glad I decided to watch it because if I hadn’t, I don’t think I would’ve agreed to do this week’s gig.
I know what I have to do to get better. I need to get WAY more stage time. I need to work on the stuff that’s kinda worked and make it better. But I just don’t think I’ll have the time. I don’t know that I have the dedication or passion to really make an effort. I love writing new material. Whenever I say I’ll go with my best stuff, I end up doing new stuff because I don’t think I’ve given my best stuff yet. I’m still exploring. I also like the idea that I keep pushing myself to write and try new stuff. I think that shows how productive or creative I can be.
Anyway, no one can say I don’t take risks. I did an entire set on tequila and now I’ve got one on mustaches. I can’t promise I’ll stop going so ‘vagina heavy’ as my friend pointed out. It’s clear I can’t hit on a broad scope, just need to find my audience.