Archive | August, 2012

Who do I gotta blow around here?!

28 Aug

Pimping ain’t easy. But sadly it is a big part of the comedy world.  You need to draw attention to yourself in some manner.  We are very much living in ‘Look at me!’ world.  Just look at all of the silly reality tv shows.  Do any of the people on these shows have any real talent or skills?  My guess is no but yet we all seemingly are aware of Snooki’s existence.  So people with real talent need to start promoting themselves and making people aware that they are there.  In the comedy world being funny just isn’t enough.

I find that most comics aren’t really much into self promotion.  They just want to let their jokes speak for themselves.  And the ones that are all about self promotion shouldn’t be let anywhere near a stage.  They have forgotten what they are supposed to do and that is be funny.  So comics are forced to make Twitter and Facebook accounts.  We need to make Youtube channels.  We need to get tv credits and get ourselves on radio and in print.  I’m not sure if any of that makes comics funnier; just better known.

I’ve had conversations with clubs about trying to get in to work their rooms.  Usually the 1st things asked is what ‘credits’ I have.  Not anything to do with funny, but what credits I have.  And sadly I have almost nothing.  A few comedy fests, a stint on some radio and that is about it.  It is tough trying to a TV credit.  There are only so many late night talk shows that you can get on.  And there are A LOT of guys.  So things are stacked against me.  But maybe if I focus on the funny things will turn in my favor?  What are the odds?!

Within the last few years there has been a surgance of ‘celebrity’ comics hitting the circuit.  These are guys who are not necessarily known for being standups but somehow are throwing their hat into the ring.  Why? Probably to make a quick buck.  I’m not going to name names but I’m sure if you pull up your local comedy club’s schedule you will see who I mean.  And more often than not these people are… adequate.  Nothing completely shitty but nothing that will make you go ‘That was awesome!’  These acts put fannies in the seats though.  At least for the weekend.  And I find it a shame.  They take weeks from someone else who is probably much funnier and more deserving.  But because they haven’t had a TV show or movie they get put on the back burner.

So again, I need to focus on the pimping and getting some credits  Cause it ain’t in what you can do, it is in the perception of what you can do.  I need an agent…

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Vices and comedy

17 Aug

Comedy is fun…  Most of the time.  There is a lot of bullshit involved in comedy; the travel, the networking, dealing with clubs/bookers, dealing with drunk audience members, lousy hotels, no hotels, eating poorly etc…  However for me getting onstage and doing what I like to do makes it worthwhile.  There are positives. I do get to meet some great comics, meet great audience members, work in some great clubs and travel to great cities too, so I am not trying to be a whiny bitch.  I’m just talking reality.

So how do we get through the day? A good portion of the time the guys (And I say ‘guys’ encompassing all comics.  I don’t mean to be gender bias.) I work with use substances.  It could be booze or drugs or something else (sex or gambling come to mind).  I don’t do much of any of those.  I drink but not before shows.  I used to and I quickly learned I am NOT a guy who can be drunk onstage and be funny.  I know several guys who can go onstage and do their material without missing a beat and be drunk out of their mind.  I’m not one of them.  I have a tendency to slur (not racially) and miss important details in my jokes (like setups).  I bring a bottle of beer on stage with me but hardly ever take a swig from it.  I’ve had audience members comment on that after shows.  How they thought it was funny that the beer just sat there.  I guess it is kind of a crutch for me to have it there.  The whole take a swig to let the audience think over a joke or let the laughter die down thing.  I suppose I could use a glass of water but it just doesn’t have the same feel as a bottle of beer.  I think it just relaxes the crowd some when they see it.

I don’t smoke weed.  Not like I have never smoked weed.  The last time was over 13 years ago.  I just never got the same feeling that some people get from it.  I wish I did.  Some guys just can’t seem to be without cause it makes them so happy or creative.  Trust me, I could stand to be a little more happy and a little more creative.  I just don’t think weed is it for me.  At times I think my best jokes come from me being angry or depressed.  I at least am trying to harness that energy.  Plus I get paranoid when I smoked weed.  Paranoia leads to conspiracy theories and those guys can go fuck themselves…

Sex I get.  I just don’t get sex.

Gambling I don’t get.  I don’t make enough money as a comic to want to risk losing it playing a card game, slots, or Keno.  I’d rather just buy me a late night Grand Slam and take a risk on that.

In the end we all have vices.  It is all just about harnessing them and making sure they can help us do what we need to do.  Which in the end is just making people laugh.  There is more than just one path to that destination.

Open mic protocol

16 Aug

I did an open mic last night.  Just another dive in a small ass town.  I’ve been told by other guys to stop doing free shows.  I get their advice but I like doing these open mics to try out new material.  Just to get a sense/feel for how they will work.  No need to risk that at a paid show.  Generally I feel like I know how it will work beforehand but sometimes you get surprised.

The problem with open mics is there is a lot of shit happening there.  The shit can happen from the comics (And this is ok. It is either new guys or guys trying new stuff so there is to be expected shit happening.), the crowd (Drunk fucks), or the place itself (Shitty soundsystem, shitty lights, they don’t turn off tvs etc.)  You just get use to it.  A lot of guys will disagree with me on this but I actually prefer to go on FIRST or near the beginning of the open mic.  It allows you to set the tone for the night.  Nothing I find more frustrating than having to follow 20-40 minutes of mediocre material.  Again, I know this will happen but I still get anxious inside myself.  By going early I don’t have to deal with that anxiety anymore.  Also I’m gonna say this… There is NO honor in ‘headlining’ an open mic.  I find it funny when guys who go last say to other guys ‘You are opening up for me.’  Go fuck yourself.  It is an open mic.  No one is getting paid.  Hell, the crowd probably didn’t pay to come in.  If feeling like going last is gonna pump up your ego be happy with it I guess.  In the end it doesn’t mean a thing.  And these are the guys who haven’t tried a new joke in ever.  Same shitty 8 minutes of time.

Some protocol should be followed at these open mics… 1- Stick to your time.  The guys says you have 5 minutes do 5 minutes.  Don’t do 6. Just do 5. 2- Be ready when the guy calls your name. I always ask the order and who I follow to help me out. Be ready to get up there when the name is called. Nothing worse than an empty stage cause you were hanging in the back ordering a drink. 3- Yes, the light is bright but stay in it. The light is not for you, it is for the audience. Who gives a fuck if you can see people?!  You are onstage to tell jokes not look at people for approval.

And this is just something that I have had to deal with recently. I’m just a small fry so I can’t even imagine a big name comic having to deal with this, but if you are in the audience please DON’T RECORD OTHER ACTS!!!  There have been plenty of big name acts recently who have been recorded while they are trying out new material (Patton Oswalt) and/or said some things (Dane Cook, Daniel Tosh) that was just meant for the room.  It wasn’t meant to get out there.  So if you do record someone else you need to get permission. There was a guy last night who was recording.  He was a guy who is relatively new to comedy and probably didn’t know any better.  However I don’t know this guy.  I don’t know what he is gonna do with the recording.  I really don’t want him to post it on Youtube or wherever else.  I don’t know how he is gonna edit it.  Hell, maybe he is recording it so he can use my jokes sometime else.  He recorded the comic after me so it made me wonder how much of the show he got.  I told the guy running it to tell him to not record anymore unless he got permission.  If he had asked me I would have said ‘No.’  Again, cause I don’t know him and the material I was trying was all of less than 3 weeks old and some just written that day.  Would you go into a delivery room and record the birth of a new child without asking for permission?! That is how I feel as the jokes are my babies.

So in the end; go to open mics, support open mics, follow the simple rules of open mics and life will be better.  And please don’t record me.