COCAINE! I remember I ended my last post talking about cocaine or I was going to talk about cocaine, but then I had to go so I thought I would start my next post talking about cocaine even though I really have nothing to say about cocaine because I’ve never done cocaine. I feel like I would freak out if I took cocaine. I already get pretty jazzed off a green tea so I mean… yikes. I remember I took adderall once in college and I was up for like three days. Good times.
Anyways, what’s new with me? Does anyone care? Do I even care? I guess I care. I try not to care too much. People who care too much about what’s up with them are annoying. Jesus there was this guy on stage last night who was a total narcissist (which sometimes I feel like part of you kind of has to be to get on stage in the first place and actually think you can make people laugh) and he was the absolute WORST. He was one of those people who thought the act of simply being offensive would make him funny.
There were two black gentlemen in the front, and he said something to them and then leaned in to give them a fist bump and said “you don’t have the AIDS do you?” Then he proceeded to talk about how he learned the N word was something you were supposed to say from his mom, and then he decided it would be a good idea to attempt a two minute bit about AIDS with no punchline anywhere in sight. It was basically him just saying the word AIDS over and over again hoping that it would magically turn into a joke. Then this absolutely SMASHED woman walked into the stage area screaming about god only knows what, her twat or dolphins or something, and I looked right at the comic next to me and said “this is getting good!” because it was. It was a perfect moment of sheer chaos and lunacy. The comic on stage deserved the incoherent blacked out lady, and she deserved him. Kismet.
Anyways, I had a good time. I performed at two open mics last night. The first one wasn’t my best. I had a hard time feeding off the crowd because nobody was sitting anywhere close to the stage. Which, by the way, if you ever go to see live comedy, please try and find the small amount of courage it takes within you to not sit in the very back. It’ so much more fun to perform for a small group of people in an intimate setting than a bunch of people sitting or standing 50 feet away from you. I think comedy is ultimately about sharing a laugh with people, and that involves the performer and the audience working together to be engaged.
What other excuses can I drum up for why my set wasn’t as good as I would have liked? Oh god, there’s this light. For whatever reason, when you get on stage, there is a giant beaming light that is perfectly eye level just shooting an absurd amount of photons right into your face socket to the point where you can’t even see most of the crowd. It’s not a spotlight, it’s just a light. I’ll never understand why it’s there…
In all seriousness, though, every set is something to be learned from and making excuses doesn’t help anyone improve. Open mic comedy is full of distractions, people who are distracted, and widely varying audiences. It’s just part of the game. I think something I learned from that set in particular is to try and pump up the energy a bit when there’s a smaller crowd and everyone is in the back. It’s not really my style, but exploring different styles can teach me things as well.
I think I also learned not to be too hard on myself. I got off the stage unsatisfied because I didn’t murder like I had in my previous set, but when I was driving to the next gig I realized that I had actually done quite well. I remembered that a lot of people were laughing, enjoying themselves with smiling faces, I just couldn’t hear them audibly from the stage because they were so damn far away.
The second mic was quite the adventure, to say the least. I arrived, and there wasn’t a single person in the crowd, and I was supposed to go on in 15 minutes as the first comedian of the night, after a duo of rappers. Stupid coronavirus. Anyways, as much as I just wanted to leave, I accepted that I was gonna go up there and just see what happened. Fortunately, seven or eight people meandered on in by the time I got up there. I started making fun of this guy in the crowd a bit, and actually had success riffing with him, which was new for me. I’ve mostly been sticking to my planned jokes trying to get comfortable on stage, so it was a nice breakthrough to be able to mess around on the spot. It had always given me anxiety, but it wasn’t much different than casually riffing with my friends and turned out to be surprisingly anxiety-free.
Jesus these four ladies at Starbucks are doing some kind of job-training or something weird, and are all just staring at the employees doing their job like they’re performers on stage. I want to blow my brains out watching this. “Look, look how he steams that cream…” I could never work at Starbucks. I have a hard time working any normal job, for obvious reasons.
Anyways, after riffing with that guy who I set up to fail because he was performing later and I promised everyone in the crowd that he was going to juggle bicycles, I told a few jokes, and actually got some good laughs. Even a couple from another comedian, which is always extra sweet. Then, I was so inspired by the rappers before me that I just started rapping. And that… that was a blast. It was one of the most fun times I’v had on stage. I thought it was going to be awful. I guess you never know what it’s going to be like until you get up there.
That’s why I love comedy so much. Every time I go on stage, I have to get out of my comfort zone. Performing comedy is never comfortable and I never know what’s going to happen. It’s a great life lesson every time. It’s helped me not be afraid of all of the other things in life that used to instill fear in me or give me anxiety. I’m getting more and more used to being wildly uncomfortable, and that makes so many things in life that much easier.
It has helped with my golf game a lot, even. Standing over a six-foot putt in a money game or a tournament is nothing compared to standing in front of an audience of strangers with the expectation that you’re gonna be funny. Because, why? Why would you ever be funny? Why would anyone ever be funny? Why would anyone ever be able to just walk up on a stage and just start being funny? It makes no sense. It’s so difficult. And the illusion is that good comics make it look easy, and most people are used to good comics that they’ve seen on TV, so they think “oh, I’m funny. I could do that.”
But you can’t. It doesn’t translate. You could be the funniest person in the world with your friends, but I promise if you try and get on stage and just be funny, you will bomb so hard. It takes a lot of work to be a funny comedian. Most famous comedians went through years of generally unfunny shenanigans before they became legitimately funny on stage. It’s an ever-interesting and ever-challenging process, and I’m all about it.
2 thoughts on “Cocaine? And Comedy!”
I’m impressed at how you’ve said goodbye to your comfort zones. That was a great read Jason.
Yay, glad you enjoyed it!