Performance Through Trial and Error

Holy smoked salami is it a beautiful day today. The weather in Austin is very interesting. It’s super nice one minute and then pouring penis the next. The weather app will say it’s going to be 79 degrees and then it turns out to be 100. It’s kind of fun. I always get a chuckle out of people who get upset about the weather not being exactly as it was forecast during a specific time period. It’s like dude… it’s weather, not a business meeting. Nobody has control over this.

A dog just licked my leg out of nowhere. I was sitting here writing and I didn’t even know there was a dog around. All of a sudden I felt something wet on my leg… that was weird. I’m glad it was a dog and not a person. That would be especially weird if it was just some guy named Jeff. I can excuse the dog licking my leg. I can’t excuse Jeff.

I’ve been hitting the stage the last couple nights, which is cool and stuff. On Monday I went to the Blind Pig open mic on sixth street. If you’re not familiar with Austin, sixth street is a shit show. 24/7. All of the time. During the day you’ve got homeless people smashing bottles and yelling at the devil. At night you’ve got college kids getting smashed and yelling at each other. It usually looks like a pretty terrible time to be honest. That being said, the Blind Pig is always fun on Monday nights. Well, except for this Monday night. There was a storm that was coming in around ten or eleven and it was a holiday, so nobody really showed up. I signed up for slot number eight, which turned out to be slot number two. I was expecting a raucous crowd, so I prepared to present a couple of parody raps. I wrote a new one recently and wanted to give it a whirl. After seeing that nobody was really there, I thought about doing jokes for a minute, but realized it wouldn’t really matter either way. I had been rehearsing this rap and I came out to test it, so this would be a perfect trial run.

I was pleased with how it went, honestly. I didn’t stumble on any words and found a pretty decent flow. I’ve been in the habit of taping all of my sets, so I was able to watch it afterwards. The performance was definitely flat, but that’s okay. I’m a little stuck in between with the parody raps. I’m trying to play into my awkwardness and my whiteness; but when I catch a flow, I feel pretty black and cool for a minute. They’re supposed to be ridiculous, but I also put a lot of work into the word play, the rhyme, and the meter, so there’s an aspect of seriousness to them as well. I think I might have to jump completely into one pool or the other. I used to post some of these raps on Instagram and I would take it super far into the white and awkward realm. I would wear two hats at once, try and sound as dorky as possible, and satirize the entire rap experience. I actually got a lot of positive feedback on those, so I think that’s the call. Awesome, glad I could work this out with ya’ll.

I’ve been saying “ya’ll” a lot. Honestly, I think it’s a great word to describe a group of people. Ya’ll ready for this? Yeehaw gangster! Ooh, that’s not bad. I think I’m gonna use that on stage. That can be one of my tag lines after a rap. “Yeehaw gangster!”

Last night was a super fun time. I went up to the town of Pflugerville, about a half an hour north of Austin. What a name for a town. Pflugerville. Sounds like a place in a Tim Burton film. Anyways, a comedian named Charlie Mac was running the show. I met him a few weeks prior at a mic in the same town. He had a lot of success in Phoenix before moving out here. Super nice dude. He mentioned he was gonna run his own show, so I wanted to come out and support. I love the effort he put into it. He created a $25 cash prize for the most supportive audience member, a $25 prize for the most supportive comedian, and a trophy for the best comedian of the night. It’s such a good idea, because it gets people engaged in the comedy and it creates a really hot room.

There were 20 comedians, and I went up second. I started off my expressing my anger at the guy who drowned the barbecue in our apartment complex. Yesterday, for some reason beyond my comprehension, some guy was outside cleaning the community area with his kid, and decided to open the lid of the barbecue and just start unloading hose water INTO THE BARBECUE. And then his child started watering the Astroturf. Yeah, father watering a barbecue and son watering fake grass. These people aren’t going far in life. Long story short, the barbecue is ruined. At least for the time being. It obviously didn’t lite when I went out there last night. I spent $50 at Costco on steaks, so I wasn’t exactly excited to cook them in the fucking oven. Some things I just don’t understand.

At least I have a stage to express my rage. Once I got this all off my chest, I settled into my jokes. They went super well. It was so nice to have a supportive and engaging crowd. I was able to take my time while I was up there, and felt pretty comfortable. I met a musician at the poker table the other night who told me to simply breathe and slow down when I’m on stage. It’s really great advice for any kind of performer or someone who is doing public speaking.

I hopped off the stage to a nice ovation, and watched the rest of the comedians perform. Almost all of them were at least pretty good, which is a miracle at an open mic. It was one of the best shows I’ve been a part of.

At the end of the mic, Charlie announced the most supportive awards, and then did a drumroll for the best comedian of the night, and… Jason Brendel! I won! Pretty neat. A nice little confidence boost and a trophy to boot. I felt pretty cool walking out of the bar to my car holding a big trophy. Then I watched my recorded set in my car, which immediately brought me back down to earth. It’s only when I watch myself where I realized how subdued I am. I don’t bring much energy to the stage. It’s not necessarily a problem, I just need to figure out if I’ll end up leaning into that like comedians such as Steven Wright or Mitch Hedberg did, or if I’ll be able to bring more energy to the stage in a natural and fun way.

I’m not naturally an energetic and hyper person… at all. So, I’m never going to be that comedian. My natural state is very mellow and like I said, subdued. I’m also a very happy person, so I‘d like to bring more of that happy energy to the stage. I’m still learning how to tap into my goofy and happy side while I’m performing. Right now my joke writing is doing all of the heavy lifting.

I feel good, though. It’s nice to know that I’m doing something right. It’s also nice to see how much room there is for improvement. It helps me maintain certainty that I really can do this. You can doooooooo it. Alrighty, I have to go give strangers rides in my car. Hopefully nobody’s as weird as this one guy was last night. Good god. You know what, I’m not even going to go there. Goodbye.

Jason Brendel
Jason Brendel

Jason Brendel is an author, poet, and comedian from Northern California. Navigate the buttons below to follow him on social media, make a donation, or purchase his collection of laugh-out-loud poetry on Amazon.

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3 thoughts on “Performance Through Trial and Error

  1. 🤪👏 nice! Do you watch succession? Kendall’s rap is worth watching. I think it’s on you tube. I enjoy going along on the comedy ride, keep going!! Oh, my sons name is jeff…but he’s in Brooklyn…i hope.

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