Charlie’s Standup Comedy Journal
I was fortunate enough to be among the first comedians to ever play at the On the Hill Tavern, which kicked off its comedy Wednesdays last night.
(Okay, so that’s only mainly true. Meaning that most of the sentence is completely true, but there’s one little bit of it that’s misleading, if you’re one of those ‘easily led’ people. See, the On the Hill Tavern apparently used to be a place called Hannah’s, and they had comedy there all the time, from what I understand. Good comedy, too, and fun was had by all.
So while I was among the cherry-poppers at the ‘On the Hill Tavern‘ stage (which is really just a patch of floor between the window and the bar), that actual area of industrial-strength bar tile, or whatever the hell it is, has perhaps seen the feet of many funny people before me, plying their trade and entertaining the drunken masses.
You know, I’m not sure there was really any point in telling you any of that. Seriously, what the hell do you care, anyway? I need to start listening to those little voices in my head that are always saying, ‘Don’t write down everything you think! Edit! Filter! Censor, dammit!‘
As opposed to the voices constantly screaming, ‘Shake it, baby! Cootchie, cootchie! Whooooot!‘, or ‘No! Bad Charlie! Bad, evil! Rub your nose in it!‘
But, as I mentioned, I’ve said too much already. Let’s just get back to the damned show.)
So, a couple of quick notes about the show, and then I’ll shut the hell up — first, I apologize for the crappy camera work in this one. My lovely and patient wife was unable to accompany me to the ‘On the Hill’.
(Though, as I”ve told her many times, I will be dragging her, kicking and screaming, ‘over the hill’, as I make my way there. But that’s different. Wrinkled, and kind of floppy, but different.)
Anyway, the point is, I taped the show myself, by resting the camera on the end of the bar and trying to line it up with the stage. I did an okay job, but it’s not zoomed in or anything, and I’m generally facing about 120 degrees away from the camera at all times. Still, it is what it is — a late-night comedy open mic in a suburban bar with a handful of people watching. You ain’t gonna get fucking Fellini, all right?
(Of course, my favorite part is that I set the camera right next to the Keno machine. And, predictably, about halfway through my set, somebody went over to get a ticket. And while you can’t see them on camera, you can hear the whirring and clacking of the machine printing the thing up. Some might call that ‘amateur’, or ‘distracting’. I say it adds ‘ambiance’. Whatever. Again with the Fellini line, you know what I mean?
And I’m not just saying that because I like saying, ‘Fellini‘. It sounds vaguely dirty, in an Italian side dish sort of way, doesn’t it?)
So. The show. Two more quick things — one, for you long-time tuner-inners, the material in the middle of this set will finally make the list in this post make sense.
(Remember the ‘Fresh. Leafy. Chopped…’ thing? Well, this is it. And no, the order didn’t go nearly the way I rehearsed it. But I managed, and I doubt the crowd had any idea. See, this is why I don’t hand out lists like this in advance. It’s the elsment of ‘what you don’t know… I didn’t screw up!’
I really need to find a way to incorporate that concept into my day job now. Meh.)
Secondly, I started out with two brand-new jokes — I haven’t even written ’em down yet. And, as I should have known would happen, they just absolutely bombed. Crickets. Silence. Glaring. I really think the first one’s funny, so I may try it again. I was never sure about the followup, and it’s probably toast. Either way, I learned a valuable standup lesson in this show:
Never lead with the new shit, in case it’s shittier than the old shit.
Believe me, I got it. I learned that one the hard way, but I managed to get the crowd on board later on, and they treated me well overall. All in all, it was a great show for me — though I apparently was more nervous than I realized, because I kept randomly dropping F-bombs throughout the jokes. I’m working on only keeping the swearing that’s planned, and meant to be in the punchlines, but I’m still not completely comfortable up there yet. And, when I’m nervous, I spout filth. That’s just what happens. You should have been at some of my job interviews. Fuck.
So, here you are. I was a little worried about the On the Hill, it being the inaugural show and all. But the host Teddie and all the waitstaff were spectacular — they even gave us a couple of free drinks and food off the menu, which (in my limited newbie experience) is unheard of. And I got to meet some new people, and do a set that’s almost twice as long as what I usually get. What more could a guy ask for on a random wintry Wednesday night? I hope you have a good time watching it; I know it was a helluva lot of fun to perform. Cheers!
Download Clip of 01/28/04 Set —
On the Hill Tavern, Somerville, MA (9 minutes, 14 seconds):
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