Archive | September, 2012

What was I thinking?!

13 Sep

As a comic I need places to practice new jokes and open mics provide these opportunities.  A lot of comedy clubs will have a night set aside for an open mic or make it a part of their paid show.  When you can’t find a club that does this, you turn to more unconventional places like bars, hotels, bowling alleys etc.  Stage time is stage time… So they say.

Last night (or whenever I post this thing) I went to an open mic in a bar in a little town.  And when I say little I mean little.  This bar probably was the biggest employer in town with its 3 employees.  My buddy Jim found this place and was able to get this open mic running.  Open mics are meant for ALL types of people to attend.  You can get 1st timers all the way up to seasoned pros who have tv credits.  Again, it is all about stage time.

Jim set the lineup and the card was full.  I was 3rd on the list. There was a new guy who was upset because he didn’t make it on but he was told that he could get on at the next open mic there in 2 weeks.  He wasn’t too pleased but that is life.  He was drunk already so you knew he would have been good. (When will they make a sarcasm font?)

The show was 2 people in when you could hear someone heckling from the OUTSIDE!  This person was saying things like “When is he gonna tell a joke?” and witty things like that.  It happened more than once so I went out to the patio to tell this person to knock it off.  I had no idea who it would be but low and behold it was the douchnozzle who wasn’t getting time.  There is nothing I hate more than a comic heckling another comic.  It is just stupid so I told the guy that we could hear him inside and that he needed to knock it off.  And too be honest I wasn’t nearly as nice as this.  I think I actually said he needed to keep his ‘fucking yap shut.’  He then said something dumb to me so I stepped really close to him and challenged him to a fight.  I was completely sober and I just didn’t give a fuck.  I have given up on dealing with tards like this.

(Here is a some info on me and why this is out of character.  I’ve never been in a fight ever.  I have a masters degree in social work and generally work towards peaceful resolutions and compromises in correlation with that education.  I’m 42 years old, 6’5″ tall and weigh about 205.  Not a terribly imposing figure.  Currently I do not have health insurance either.  None of that mattered to me though as all I wanted to do was kick in this guy’s teeth.)

 

He didn’t want any part of me though as he backed up and away.  Whatever.  I was the next guy performing so I walked back in.  I was planning on working on new material and new tags I had.  Sadly I never got to it.  When I got onstage I mentioned the douchebag outside and how people like that needed to keep their mouths shut, and this received a round of applause.  They guy came in and I verbally attacked him again.  He didn’t get it and kept saying shit to me and I lost it.  I put the mic back in the stand, left the stage, walked up to him and challenged him to go outside.  He had no intention of going outside nor did he have any intention of shutting his yap.  He also seemed to feel that he had a right to say what he wanted because this was his home town and I was an outsider.  I didn’t quite get this mentality but this guy clearly was not in his right state of mind.  Another guy told me to stop telling him what to do as I was explaining how an open mic worked and what the audiences expecations (of listening) were.  He felt like I was telling him to do things like his boss.  (‘Where the fuck am I?!’ I thought.)  Eventually Jim, the mc, came over and stopped the incident from escalating more.  I sat down and I have no idea where the other guy went.

The show continued, awkwardly at first, and I had time to process what I had done.  I felt a certain level of shame for it.  I had disrupted someone else’s show in a completely inappropriate manner.  I am not a terribly aggressive person and generally don’t look for violence to be an end.  I’m not gonna lie tho, I wanted that guy to take a poke at me.  I wanted an excuse to take his head off.  Kind of scary but that is how it went down in the moment.

With that being said I had more people buy me drinks after that then any comedy show I have done.  A comic bought me one for ‘sticking up for the comics.’  A regular customer bought me one because he felt ashamed of the other guy.  He said he was the town ‘fuck up.’  It was all very surreal to me.  It is generally not something that comics do or should do.  We seem to be for the most part pacifists or at least guys not looking to get into a fight.  As I drove there with 3 other comics we processed it on the way home.  It was determined that guy was indeed an asshole and that others were thinking of alibis for me if I had ended up kicking his ass.

I had some guys call me the next morning to talk about it.  They had never seen me act like that before (mostly because I hadn’t).  I’m usually the keeper of the peace but not last night.  After thinking about it more in my head if this guy had just been a guy I would have let it go.  But because he wanted to tell jokes himself I just couldn’t stand it.  I apologized to the guy running the open mic but I doubt I will ever apologize to the douchenozzle.  In fact a buddy told me he overheard the guy saying something about getting a knife.  (Something that never crossed my mind, that a guy in the sticks would have a knife or a gun on hand. I will remember that next time.)

Next time I will just keep my yap shut and let me words do the talking.  Although I really wish he would have taken a swing.

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So do you have an agent?

12 Sep

People ask me if I have an agent.  And my reply is ‘No, no I don’t have an agent.’  I’d like to have an agent but I don’t because I’m not at the stage of my game where I should have an agent.  I’m having a hard enough time getting people to recognize me and pay attention to my comedic genius. (I have to tell myself I have comedic genius or otherwise all of this work is for naught.  Weird word naught.  I believe I used it correctly, and even spelled it correctly, but I am too lazy to go and check on it.  Notice how I didn’t say ‘hard work’ previously? Anyway, I got offtrack.)

‘So who books you?’ people will ask. Myself.  I do it.  In between writing, performing, driving, sleeping and drinking I book myself shows.  I’m not nearly as successful as I would want to be.  I have a hard time calling clubs/bookers and promoting myself to them.  I honestly feel my work should speak for itself.  That people should recognize my talent and get me work.  But it doesn’t work like that.  Shit…  So I need to force myself to do it cause no one is coming to me.  At this stage of the game anyway.

I look at people like Rodney Dangerfield and Lewis Black as role models of sorts.  While I don’t aspire to be as self depricating as Rodney nor a yeller about society as we know it like Lewis is, I do appreciate that they started later in life in doing standup.  I figure I have a good 8 years to be as successful as them. HAHA!  Er, uh, hmmm…

So I continue to harrass, call, and write.  I face a lot of ‘No’s, Try calling us later, and We are already booked for the year.’ but I keep going.  Comedy is not a forgiving mistress…  But I am enjoying the ride.  And no one is gonna steer this ship for me.  Unless you wanna be my agent.  And work for free.

A New Breed of Heckler

9 Sep

In comedy, and life, there are hecklers.  Little people that just try to upset your show.  Whether they mean to or not.  Sometimes you swerve to avoid them and other times you just run them over and crush them like the vermin they are.  The only good thing about hecklers is that normally you are able to pick them out.  You can engage them and put them back in their place.  I’m hardly afraid of a heckler as sadly they can be a part of the show.

But there seems to be a new form of heckler growing; the online heckler.  These punks take to internet boards and more often than not use fake names to say awful shit about people.  I find the whole thing inane because even if I were to engage this type of heckler it doesn’t get you any where.  They are just sitting in their underwear, in their parent’s basement, beating off to beastiality porn inbetween saying some of the dumbest things ever written on the internet.

I have one of these hecklers.

As the house mc at Dr. Grins in Grand Rapids, MI I get to see a lot of regulars.  And because there are a lot of regulars I am forced to write. A LOT! And I believe that for the most part I am pretty successful at my job.  I do know that there will be people who don’t like my act.  Comedy is subjective and we like what we like.  So be it.  But there is one guy in town who comes to the shows and always leaves negative comments about me on the comment cards.  Even when I am NOT there he will do this.  He even has gone up to my replacements and bad mouthed me to them.  Thankfully they put him back in his place.  He regularly posts negative things on the Dr. Grins fan page as well.  Since I help run the page and probably 90% of the stuff written on it is from me I know what he has written.  And as I pop up as Dr. Grins on the page I don’t engage him.  I stay positive.  I stay professional even though I want to go at him. 

A few weeks ago Chinaman was the headliner and this heckler posted on the fan page if Chinaman had new material in his act.  I let Chinaman respond and in the process he offered this guy some free tickets.  Sweet, I thought, now I will be able to see what this guy looks like! (As he uses stupid profile pics on Facebook.  He has 44 friends too.  Popular dude.)  We alerted the doorman to tell us when he showed up.  He did, and it was sad.  He was some 30 year old pudgy dude with glasses and a 5 dollar haircut.  He was by himself (None of your 44 Facebook friends could make it out?!) and he sat in the back.  His waitress said he was an oddball and I figured as much.  And he just sat there throughout the show quietly.  At the end of the show he didn’t say thank you to Chinaman for the tickets but he did leave comments on his comment card.  He bashed me again.  Not as hard as usual but he did.  I didn’t feel angry towards this guy just sadness.  He obviously was a socially inept dude who had nothing better to do with his life but focus on someone else.  So I just let it go…

So I thought.  He left some negative comment again on Facebook and I cracked.  I wanted to bitchslap him so hard but again as a the Dr. Grins monitor I couldn’t.  So I did what I could do and I banned him from the page.  I felt it was within my right.  I got tired of him badmouthing me on the clubs fanpage.  Who wouldn’t?!  When you ban someone, Facebook offers you a chance to tell them why, so I told him we (as I figured I would come up as the Grins page) were tired of his negativity towards the house mc and to have a nice day.  He fires back a message to me specifically saying he has never posted anything negative on the page.  I had to let him know that I was the monitor so I know what he wrote and who he said things too.  He then retorts that as a comedian I should have a THICK SKIN and learn to deal with hecklers or not be a comedian.  He then quickly disabled my ability to contact him.

I have a few responses for him.

1- Fuck him. He obviously was afraid I was going to handle him as he cut off communication.

2- Fuck him. NO comedian ever wants to deal with a heckler.  Hecklers disrupt shows.  They are not supposed to be a part of a show.  No one goes to a show thinking “Oh man, I hope there is a good heckler tonight!’

3- Fuck him.  He wasn’t even a heckler as he was too much of a pussy to say anything at the club when I was performing.

4- Fuck him. What person in their right mind is going to continuously take some abuse from someone like that?!  If you had a customer come into your place of business everyday and say negative things about you, for no apparent reason, you might not want them to come around anymore.

5- Fuck him.

So with all of that being said, I hope he shows back up the club someday and says something.  We’ll see who has a thick skin