Charlie’s Standup Comedy Journal
On paper, the Chops Lounge is a little bitty bar room beside the Chinese food restaurant in the Howard Johnson’s near Fenway Park in Boston.
But in person… well, the Chops Lounge is pretty much a little bitty bar room beside the Chinese food restaurant in the Howard Johnson’s near Fenway Park in Boston. But that doesn’t stop the irrepressible Larry Lee Lewis from putting on a comedy show there every Saturday night, and it certainly didn’t stop me from trying my hand at the ‘hotel bar crowd’ last night.
And honestly, it was one of the better crowds I’ve seen — right around 30 people or so, ranging from college kids to an older couple that sat right in the middle up front, beaming up at the comics. The audience was a bit… reserved; none of the performer’s bits that depended on crowd participation went over very well, but they were friendly and willing to laugh, and didn’t throw anything, the whole time. So it was a good crowd, by my standards, at least.
This show also represented a few milestones for me. It was my tenth show in about ten weeks of doing standup, which is a nice hump to get over. It was also unique in being the first show I got for myself which had a cover charge. (The first show I did had a cover, but that was our ‘Standup 101 graduation show’, so it doesn’t really count as something I went out and got myself. Not to me, anyway. You can count it if you like. I can’t stop you.)
This was also my first ‘bringer’ show, where I had to guarantee that paying customers would show up with me. From what I understand, these are pretty common at the level just above ‘open mics’, where the bookers will still take just about anyone, but at least figure that if you can consistently drag people along with you to your shows, maybe you’re fairly serious about it. (Or have some pretty ignorant friends, but I like to think of myself in the first category, thank you very much. And I think my friends would appreciate that, too.)
Anyway, Larry was a great guy — very nice, supportive, and upbeat. And he even gave me some advice after my set.
(Which was, ‘The spinach bit is too long. You were doin’ great, but you lost ’em with that. You’ve gotta keep it tight and short up there.‘
And he’s right, of course. This is the third time I’ve done the bit, with generally okay results, but the ‘spinach list’ is just too damned long, and hard to remember, and it creates a gap with no punchlines for thirty seconds or so. It needs work, or it needs to be tossed. I got so caught up in writing it, and challenging myself to be able to deliver it correctly (which I haven’t yet, thank you) that I forgot to notice whether it’s actually funny. And it isn’t. Another lesson learned.
So, the whole ‘grocery store’ thing may get shelved for a bit, until I can work that out. If you haven’t seen it yet, do us both a favor and watch this past Wednesday’s clip before this one. The same bit’s in there, but at least I performed it a little more smoothly then. At the Chops Lounge, I started running out of juice halfway through, and sort of sputtered to the end. So at least watch the thing the way I meant to perform it, even if there’s a bit in the middle that’s not really all that funny. Thanks so much.)
Anyway, I had a great time at the Chops Lounge, and learned a few things, too. If you’re in the Boston area on a Saturday night, you should definitely check out Larry and his merry band of comics. And he even said he’d ‘be in touch‘ after the show, so maybe he’s willing to have me back. I’ll just promise not to talk about spinach next time. Peeing my pants, check. Leather chaps and baby oil, check. Anna Nicole Smith’s bra… checkity-check-check. Spinach? Nah. See, when I put it that way, even I can see it doesn’t really belong.
Download Clip of 01/31/04 Set —
Chops Lounge, Boston, MA (9 minutes, 11 seconds):
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