Charlie’s Standup Comedy Journal
Well, this was a first. Folks, don’t get me wrong — I’m not accustomed to playing packed houses or anything. I’ve been in a few rooms so far where the comics outnumbered the people in the crowd. (It’s happened at the Isle before, as a matter of fact.)
But I have to admit that I’ve never done a show — or seen a show, for that matter — where the audience members were outnumbered by the hosts of the show. That’s a new one on me… and not a pretty one, folks. Not a pretty one at all.
Now, to be perfectly accurate, there were actually the same number of audience members as ‘hosts’ — two. Rich, our gracious emcee at the Isle, has picked up a keyboard player to liven things up, so there are now two people onstage between and before the comics. And there were two non-comics in the house last night. But I stand by my earlier assessment, because — if you can believe it — the two lonely people in the crowd were never there at the same time!
Folks, the Kennedy Center this ain’t.
I went up towards the end of the group of fifteen or so comics. At that point, there was just one guy, sitting to the left of the stage. (His left, my right… potato, potahto…) His name was Eric. (And yes, you know you’re in trouble when you can name every person in the audience. All one of ’em.)
So, some people went up and just screwed around. There was singing, and some ninja fighting, and all manner of hullaballoo. (There may have even been ‘shenanigans’. But I’ll never say; comics don’t kiss and tell.) But most of what I was doing was new stuff — and I’m still new to all of this myself — so I pretty much stuck to the script and did five minutes of material. Eric was even nice enough to hold the camera for me, so you guys could check it out. Go, Eric! You’re the best one-man audience a bunch of comics could hope for!
On the other hand, the film quality’s not that great. Still, Eric tried, and I love him for that. As for the show, it was received… well, it was received the way just about every other set that night was received: with five minutes of more or less unbroken silence. Just about the only noise you’ll hear on this tape, besides me (and Eric, in the beginning) is the host Rich’s intermittent pity laughs. Hey, at least Rich was there for me — for the comics that went on while he was eating pizza, there was simply no love at all.
But, what are you gonna do? Stage time is stage time, right? I don’t really know whether any of the stuff I tried works or not — when you get the same reaction to everything, it’s a bit tricky to tease apart what’s killing and what’s dying — but I got in some practice, and got some free pizza myself. Maybe I’ll do the same set again soon, and see how it goes when there are warm bodies in the audience, as opposed to the cold-blooded icy carcasses of my fellow comics.
(Hey, I’m not complaining — I didn’t laugh much at their stuff, either. It’s some unwritten code or something. Some sort of professional discourtesy, I guess.
Of course, that’s not really true. It’s just that every comic going onstage thinks he or she is the funniest person in the room. Always. Still, once you’re swilling beer and chomping pizza with ’em, most of them are pretty nice people. It’s a weird little subsociety. I’m sure somebody could get a thesis or two out of it.)
So, I tell you all of that to tell you this: don’t expect much from this set. (Like you’d expect much if you’ve watched any of the others, right? Don’t be a smartass, dude.)
Oh, and to top it off, my tape ran out just before the end of my bit. So don’t read this next line until you’ve watched the tape, and seen it cut out unexpectedly, and then hurry back here to read the ending, okay? Really — don’t read it now; it won’t make any sense. Just watch the thing, and then look. Okay, here’s the ending:
‘Of course, they took Dad away for a while then… which kind of sucked. On the good side, though, while he was gone, I sold all of his golf clubs! And we’ve gotten along a lot better ever since.‘
Wha? Hey! Dammit, I told you not to read that yet! You peeked, didn’t you? Dammit, I give you just one thing to do… some people. I’m very disappointed in you. You know, Eric wouldn’t have done something like that. He’s a pro. Shame on you. Tsk.
Download Clip of 02/04/04 Set —
Emerald Isle, Dorchester, MA (5 minutes, 21 seconds):
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