Thursday, June 9, 2011
I’m behind a day because I wrote two for Day 107. I’m going to fix that, I swear.
When I was a freshman in high school, I went to the Homecoming dance with my childhood friend and neighbor, Julie. Our backyards butted up against each other and she had always been one of the neighborhood kids that would spend hours in our yard. I have no recollection of asking her to Homecoming, somehow it just happened. I was certainly way too frightened to ask her out myself. I’m guessing my mom asked her mom, or something.
Mostly, what I remember is feeling awkwardness and excitement and I remember the pictures that remain of the night. There’s the one of my dad teaching me to tie a tie, there’s the picture of me with my sister, who had her own date that night, and then there’s the picture of Julie and me.
I am in my olive green button down shirt, black pants, and weird tie. I look too young to be a young professional, but too old to be a ring bearer. Julie has on a dress that is black on top and pink on the bottom with poofy hair all around her head. In our picture I look like I have scoliosis and Julie is standing like a cowboy. We’re standing a solid three feet from each other, which is a good eleven feet closer than we would be the rest of the night at the dance.
My senior year of high school, I went with Jeanie. I had a good time, it was less awkward, but it was hard to compare to the newness of the first time. However, Jeanie did have a boyfriend in college at the time. I was either a player or a “just a friend.” Don’t hate the ‘just a friend,’ hate the game.
It’s a general life rule, the second time you do something monumental usually isn’t quite as exciting.
A month ago, I performed at the legendary Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip. Leading up to it, I had been reading a book about how legendary the place. Plus, my previous performance had been my first experience bombing, so I was not feeling all that confident. I looked around backstage and thought about how many big, successful people had performed there.
Then, I went on stage and it felt great. I killed. I was pumped.
So, I set up my next performance there for June 9th.
I wanted to do the same basic set, because I’m happy and confident in it, and for the off chance that someone important would be there. On the other hand, as an improviser, I can’t stand doing the exact same thing. Reflective of the diminished nerves my second time, I started working on some new stuff for it just three hours before my set.
I arrived and I was cool. I didn’t get excited about the backstage, or my friends coming out, or the history of the place, I’d been there before. I have to admit, I was excited by the fact that the room was packed. It was a full house. They even opened up the extra seating in the back.
I was the seventh comic to go up. When it finally came for my turn I walked out slowly and sheepishly. I adjusted the microphone and pulled out my notecards. There had been people chatting and some general noise, but through my silence the room got quiet. That is probably my favorite thing about my set, being able to command a room through silence.
I started in to my first joke.
Some people claim to have gaydar…
(long, long laughter)
The ability to detect gay people. I can detect Mormons…
(really long laughter)
I call it Latter-Daydar
(they go bonkers)
I’ve told that joke a lot, but I’ve never had people laugh after the first line. It’s not even a joke. It was a great sign. I got through about half the stuff I did the time before because people were laughing for too long. I almost broke character a couple of times because I couldn’t believe how much people were laughing. I was wondering if there was a puppy scooting on it’s butt behind me or something.
I thought I had killed last time, but if this time was killing, then last time was just maiming.
It was nice to have that following the disappointing game show day. I don’t know when my next show will be, but I want to figure out when to do it again. It is drug like. I think it’s one of my best chances for getting noticed. There was nobody important that came up to me after the show, but there might be next time.
Sometimes the second time can be more exciting than the first.