Monday, January 28, 2008

I shall continue

I went off on a tangent last night. It was way past my bedtime when I finished and I realized I hadnt really talked about what I was setting out to do, or why. Well, obviously, what Im doing is a journal. As I mentioned last night, and in the blog's title, I'm chroncling the early stages of my comedy career. Starting with my very first performance-mentioned last night- and continuing through classes I take... I'll be starting one next week.
Why are you doing this?
I probably would have started comedy years earlier had I had a bit more help and/or information on where to begin. Whenever I asked about starting I was told 'Do open Mics'. I guess that would have helped. But there's a starting point before the open mic. You can't just go up there and wing it. Or can you? I'd never have the balls to get in front of people with nothing prepared to say. As a fan of standup, I knew it took more than just 'doing open mics' to get started. There has to be alot of writing involved. I refuse to believe the great ones just got up there and were lucky. They had to have sat down and jot down some ideas first. So I decided to start writing. What I almost never did though was put pen to paper. Most of my material was recorded to memory. Or so I thought. I was lacking the discipline to actually grab a pad and record my premises. Even though I had scattered notebooks all over my house and my car, whenever something came to me, I somehow convinced myself I'd remember it. So alot of comedy gold has been lost in my subconcious. Maybe it'll pop up again, who knows. So here I am on a tangent again.
So why again? umm, well, I guess I just want to pass on some early knowledge to those who are in the same boat. I've read other comedians blogs. But they all mention their current status and bitch about their road gigs or how the booker promised more money, blah , blah.
I may need to use this for myself in the future. Possibly, remind myself of what I'd set out to accomplish. I hope to keep using this journal step by step throughout my experiences to not only offer help to others but to motivate myself to continue writing. If I discipline myself to write down my thoughts on comedy Im sure little funny tidbits will spring up and get me started in writing the next great comedy special.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I shall begin... and continue

After countless futile attempts at keeping some sort of journal, I think this will be the one thats not forgotten. I plan on keeping this journal for as long as my comedy career goes. If I decide to never set foot onstage again after bombing in my first Open Mic set, you would have read my last entry.
What are you doing? I've decided to start this blog as simply a log of my journey through what I would call my comedy career. I'll consider my career's starting point as 1/5/08. That was the night of my first introduction/performance. After noticing a dwindling audience at a monthly local show in December, I decided to offer the show's booker some help in promoting the following show. He, of course (arm twisting not required) allowed me to design and distribute flyers. Only two people showed up from my efforts (they were family). Although I didn't produce I big turnout the guy running the room noticed my efforts. I believe he knew my intentions were to help support local comedy. So, when I showed up that night, before anyone I had reserved signed in, he came up and thanked me by offering me the opening spot.
"Wanna get onstage tonight?" He asked.
"Huh?" I thought I heard him wrong.
"Yea, Ill let you do one joke to start the show. It can be your own joke, a stock joke..."
I don't recall ever agreeing to perform. I think he knew I was gonna take him up on his offer.
Immediately, my hands started shaking. I've always had terrible stage fright and never had any proper public speaking training.
A couple of the night's comics came up to me and told me stories of their first time on stage to get me to stay calm, but their shitty stories weren't working. I was too busy trying to think up a joke that would get me a decent laugh. The host even told me to forget about doing just one joke and offered me five minutes. I don't think it was his place to offer, but I was tempted. Regardless, I was having trouble remembering a single joke, much less, a 5 minute set.
So, after what felt like an eternity and 1 liquid cocaine later, my time to shine had come. I dont know what felt better. My first laugh, or my first intro. The host had worked the crowd up pretty good so that raised my comfort level onstage.
I have to confess, I went the safe route. I have quite a bit of my own original material and I do believe it's funny. But it IS untested. For me, it was too much of a risk to try my stuff my very first time up. If it bombed, I'd have retired that same night. So I went with a solid stock joke. Judging from the laughs I received, it wasn't much of a well known joke. As soon as I hit the punchline, 'Turn it around'- the room errupted with a laughter I had hoped for but didn't realistically expect. Immediately after, the comics were urging me to do another, but my stage fright popped into overdrive and I simply 'clocked out' and walked offstage to a sweet sounding applause. So i go home feeling pretty good about myself. I felt, if nothing else I managed to speak in front of a large group of people.
The next morning, I check my email and notice a message from the shows promoter offering me standup comedy classes. It made me wonder, did he see some sort of potential, or did I suck that bad?