The Curse of a Good Host

19 Mar

A few days ago the 5th Annual Laughfest Comedy Festival came to an end.  For those that don’t know Laughfest is a pretty large comedy festival held in Grand Rapids, MI.  It is also a fest with a cause as all the proceeds go towards Gilda’s Club of Grand Rapids.  (For more info on them check out http://www.gildasclubgr.org)

As a local comedian I am a go to guy.  I am a liaison for the fest.  I help promote in the community.  I network with other comedians and introduce them to the fest.  I do a lot of grunt work and probably most importantly I host (mc) shows. By definition a host is someone who entertains other in a social or official capacity.  A person who manages a situation.  The host manages the showcases.  They let the crowd know what to expect and intro the other comedians.

The fest has a lot of showcase shows.  Bigger ones (Clean Showcases, National Showcases, Best of the Midwest Showcase, Best of Fest Showcases) and smaller ones (Community Showcases and Late Night Showcases).  These showcases are great! The crowd gets to see numerous comics. Comics get to work on sets in front of numerous crowds as well as getting to hang out with other comics they don’t get to see regularly.  And concerning the community showcases these are often people who will NEVER get into any other comedy fest.  That’s the beauty of Laughfest; ANYONE can get in!

I’m not gonna lie, I fucking haaaaaaaaate hosting.  I hate it.  I HATE it. Why? I’ve done it too long.  I’ve gotten up in front of so many crowds (cold crowds) to do my thing.  I have to smile, do my song and dance, mind my short period of time and pump up the crowds for who?  The other comics.  The host has to keep the show running along. The host has to time comics, corral comics, make sure the show is running smoothly.  The host has to make sure the crowd pays attention.  The host helps in making sure the comics do well.  I’m good at doing this and that is why I keep being asked to do it.  But ya know what?  I fucking hate it.

It is a thankless job.  No one remembers the host ( and you really shouldn’t).  The host gets no love.  The host gets the most responsibility as they have to do so much during the show.  Up and down. Up and down.  Who is next?  How much time do they have left? etc etc…  You only remember a host when they suck.  I know because there was a guy who mc’d several shows who was not good.  I had numerous comics come to me to complain about him.  What ya gonna do?

People tell me I am good at being a host.  This is NOT a compliment even though I know they mean it as such.  No one gets into comedy to be a host.  It is a stepping stone to other things.  Talking with a few people after shows they asked me if I did comedy too.  Ha ha! Get the fuck outta here!!!  As I mentioned there is no respect for the host.

So I can’t do it any more. I can’t do it to myself.  I’m not going to let others define me.  I will define myself.  And I most assuredly don’t define myself as a host.

comedy

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One Response to “The Curse of a Good Host”

  1. Janice Brown March 21, 2015 at 7:42 pm #

    Well Stu,

    I wouldn’t drop the mic, so fast–at least don’t “drop it, like it’s hot.” There are pa–lenty of comics, who will never be asked to be an MC. It does take a steady hand, good sense of humor & a whole lot of discipline. People who “ask” you to MC are, yes, using you for convenience but they also know that you don’t just work for a paycheck, or the fame that comes from people recognizing you, as the guy, who announces the “real” comedians. They know you have a relationship with the group of like minded people and you aren’t afraid to crush somebody’s ego, if they get out of line. There is a special skill to the art of MCing. As a hip hop MC, I get no love, or very little. Lots of haters like to regard other MCs as enemies. I’m not with that whole “hate” thingy, so I move into a similar media, partly based on my dislike for one but also for the love of another–media. Haha! I’m basically done with “relationships”. I think living life with as much happiness as you can generate, feels like a better quality of life. I think you can do both. Do what you love and still do some shit that you really despise but that you do anyway because, as Mike Rowe always says, “Somebody’s Got To Do It”. They pick you because they are 100% sure you aren’t going to do anything that might damage people, or property, which makes you added value, as in a real estate purchase. Along with you, comes professionalism, some free comedy, or paid, whichever the case may be but they get peace of mind. The comedians also need that guy that they kinda know, who at least knows their name, (even if it is just written on a piece of paper). What would a first time, virgin, little Black girl have done, if the MC was less affable, or some jerk, who was only there to get his mug up in the place and collect his cash, when the gig is up, or who obviously doesn’t care about others? Personally, I don’t care for funny guys, who get shit just handed to them because they know somebody. I like Mike Rowe and I loved “Dirty Jobs”. It was cool, gross, educational and funny but his new show, on CNN, will be a colossal waste of time. People aren’t watching CNN to see some White dude, on some comical excursions, making a boatload of money, just because he can. I would much rather see “The comedy Mishap of Stu McCallister” and you Grand Rapids foibles. Little story, my very first stand-up was over at Sunday Night Funnies, with Brian B. Well I was so damn nervous, I wasn’t very good and when I was done, he said something about my time. As you know, I’m still not great at watching my time, which is really, really important but I at least wanted to see myself doing that horrible set, posted on youtube, like everybody else. He didn’t post it. Was I that horrible, that I didn’t even make the cut? Was it a mistake? I didn’t know what to think, so I signed up for another shot and he tells me that I have to keep requesting to be on, until my turn rolled around again. I had my friend tape that show for me and it was pretty bad but I was so broken hearted that I wasn’t even good enough to even get a youtube clip, I’ve never wanted to go back to that stage. I know it’s not that big a deal but my very next stand up was your FPIGR, last year. I was still horrible but you didn’t make me feel like I just wasn’t cut out for this business. Now, I’m sure Brian B. is a lovely guy but to me, he doesn’t exist, just like my performance never existed, in his mind because I didn’t get to experience seeing myself, alongside of others, who did get posted. I might not have even sticked with this gig because of that incident. I’m glad I didn’t quit. If you’re going have a damn thing, I think you should, in the very least, give an equal opportunity for everyone to suck, if that’s the case. Anyway, don’t be such a grumpy, prick. Haha! You can move on, in your career but don’t forget about those who you have no idea, will be influenced, by the guy, who does one hell of a thankless job. It ain’t that easy being Stu McCallister. Man up! 🙂

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