Finding Success on Stage

Last night was… amazing. I was able to get on stage two times for the second night in a row, and both of my sets went extremely well. The first mic was at a dive bar in Pflugerville, about twenty minutes north of Austin. It’s exactly what you would picture if you thought up a typical Texas dive bar. My first thought when I walked in was “wow, this is very Texas.” My second thought was, “where the hell is everyone?” The mic started at nine o’clock, and I got there about fifteen minutes prior. I saw Joe in the parking lot, a former NFL player turned comedian and musician. He was hosting the show last night.

When we walked in, it was basically just us and a couple of people who looked exactly like you’d expect someone who goes to a bar at nine o’clock on a Monday to look. Some other comedians slowly started to file in. I was due up third, which I was happy about because I like going early. The first comedian wasn’t there, so third turned into second. The woman before me had a very distinct energy about her that was pretty fun to watch. She had a guitar and sang a fun song about conspiracy theories.

I talked with a comedian named Charlie Mac before I went up. He moved to Austin 8 months ago from Phoenix. He has only been doing comedy for about a year, but he won a few comedy competitions and has a solid following online. It’s always cool to see how people go about their careers. He said he thinks comedy is 10% talent and 90% business. I personally think it’s about 75% talent and 25% business, but he had an important point to make. It really helps to be business savvy. Or at least to understand the importance of marketing yourself.

It helped to simply have a conversation with someone before going on stage. I find it difficult when I haven’t had much social interaction in the day and then try and be funny on stage. It’s much easier when you’re already in the flow of conversing with people. I think it makes it easier to have a more conversational tone during your set.

I got up on stage and I was feeling really good. I didn’t feel too nervous and I was excited to try a new joke I wrote. It went extremely well. You never know how a new joke is going to go. Sure, I think it’s funny. But does anyone else? That’s always the question. This joke has me particularly excited because it’s funny right off the bat. My opening line is “I recently realized the best way to get laid is to have a boat or a dog… so I compromised and bought a fish.”

I’ve been searching for a better opening joke to start my sets with, and I think I may have found it. Getting the audience interested in your performance within the first 20 seconds is so important. If people check out in the first minute, you’ve lost them. And you won’t be getting them back.

I told a few other jokes that went pretty well. I’ve been telling a few jokes over the last couple weeks that have been doing really well, but I’m not excited to tell them anymore, and I think the audience felt that. They felt flat to me, and I think that energy translated. They still got laughs, but not the kind of laughs they were getting two weeks ago. I know those jokes work and I’ve got them down solid, so I think it’s time to move on to working on different material. I can always fall back on them if I catch myself in a pinch.

After my set, I hopped into my all new Subaru Crosstrek with four-wheel suspension and drove back into downtown Austin. This mic was at a bar called the Blind Pig, which has a huge rooftop bar and seating area. It’s complete chaos. The mic is loud, everyone is having their own conversations, people are yelling, playing games, doing all sorts of shenanigans. If you’re going to do well here, you need to find a way to gather people’s attention. And I had it.

After performing here once, I knew exactly what I was going to do this time. Occasionally, I start rapping on stage. And, especially for a white guy, I can actually rap pretty well. I’m also the last person in the world who looks like they can rap, and I think that plays into my advantage. So, I walked on stage and I said, “do you guys wanna hear a white boy rap?” And of course, the audience said yeah.

So, I performed a parody rap called “stay at home G,” about a hyperbolic version of myself that stays at home while everyone else goes out. It went… phenomenally. I forgot how fun it is to get into the flow of a rap on stage. I was definitely catching people’s attention. People were laughing, people were watching, and people were getting into it. My favorite part was in the middle of the rap, seeing the face of Joyce, the host. She was just standing at the front of the stage watching me with shocked eyes and her jaw wide open. It gave me so much confidence. It’s hard to describe a better feeling than someone being blown away by your performance. Especially when they’re a pretty woman.

After my rap, I said “And now, two minutes of comedy” and I performed my new bit and a couple other jokes. They went great. I was having a really fun time with the people at the table in front of me. I set up my camera beforehand on their table, so I got to say hello to them briefly. The two pretty girls at the table were laughing hysterically at a couple points, and there was another pretty girl to the side who was also really enjoying my set. I felt like a million bucks.

I got off stage and talked to the group of people at the table where my camera was. They were impressed, and wanted to follow me on Instagram. They were all musicians who just moved here from Seattle. One of the guys has seventeen thousand followers on Instagram, so I can tell they’re serious. It’s so cool to meet so many creative people here. It’s exactly what I had hoped for. I’m excited to check out some of their tunes.

After I talked with them for a minute, I talked to a guy named John who I had met the week before. He said he’s been watching a lot of comedy and my performance was at the A+ level. I was flattered. I’ve been working really hard and it felt so good to feel like it finally came together on the stage. I’m excited to keep it going, and can’t wait to see what comes next.

The Blind Pig. May 3, 2021.

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