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February 15, 2004: Ass-Backwards at the All Asia

This performance was what seasoned comics would call a 'learning experience'.

It's what this newbie comedian would call 'goddamned embarrassing'.

My third trip to the All Asia was a lot of things, but what it certainly was not is a 'charm'. There was nothing charming about the entire episode -- the audience, the atmosphere, and certainly not my performance. About thirty seconds into my set, I blanked. Just blanked, completely. Could not, for any amount of money, pull the jokes that I'd planned to say, out of my ass, or any other handy orifice. It was gone, completely.

I'd like to say that I handled it smoothly. And, in a way, I did -- I fell back on other material, and yapped through it for as long as I could. Which turned out to be about another minute or so. I had to stop for a sip of beer, to try and cover the fact that I had nothing left in my head but cobwebs and an ominous buzzing noise. I may have even done the 'nightmare check', to make sure I really had pants on, and that it all wasn't some horrible dream.

It wasn't a dream. On the bright side, though, I was wearing pants. And even better, the beer jolted another couple of minutes of my set back into my head, so I went with it. All in all, I struggled through nearly four minutes, and frankly, it doesn't look nearly as bad on tape as it felt.

(Which is a hell of a statement, because it looks really bad on tape. Excruciating.)

I was really bummed out afterwards, I have to admit. It's the only comedy show where I performed and left before the end, but I just didn't want to be there after feeling so unprepared, and unprofessional, and comedically (but not hilariously) naked. It's my worst standup moment so far, and hopefully ever. (But I don't really believe that. *gulp*)

So, the next day, I did what any self-doubting, disgusted, disappointed beginning standup comic would do -- I booked another show. Hey, being on stage is the only way to get better, and this show taught me that I have a lot of better to get. So I got right back on the horse.

And, to be honest, forgot parts of the same set again. Apparently, I have a mental block with this sequence of jokes or something. But I finally, doggedly, got it just the way I'd planned it the next Sunday.

Please, for the love of God and the ghost of Chevy Chase's career, if you care for me at all, in any sense of the word, go watch >that clip, or any of the others, before you watch this one. Please, I'm begging you. Don't watch this one at all. It's just here to remind me what a goober-douche I can be if I don't work hard at this. Just move along, all right? There's really nothing of value to see here. Seriously. I don't want you to see me like this.

Download Clip of 02/15/04 Set --
The All Asia Cafe, Cambridge, MA (3 minutes, 57 seconds):

Charlie in comedy mode
(Click photo to enlarge)

MPEG Format -- 21MB
RealMedia Format -- 6MB
Windows Media Format -- 3MB

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