Thursday, July 28, 2011
As a comedian or performer you just know that there are some people that you won’t please. Not everyone is going to get your stuff and think it’s funny. That’s fine. Unfortunately, for me, that group of people is other LA comedians.
Tonight, I performed in a stand up contest at a seafood restaurant in Long Beach. The highlight of the night might have been when we walked in. In an adjacent room, there was a heavy set older guy playing keyboard and singing Billie Jean while old people danced. That would be the most entertaining portion of the evening.
As the crowd started piling in, I could tell it wasn’t going to be great. Why? Because the crowd consisted of the eight comics, five of their friends, and one couple who soon regretted their decision. Fifteen people does not a stand up show make.
This was about the same scenario as the only time I’ve ever really bombed.
Each comic got up there and did their thing to the sound of an empty room. There were some laughs here and there, but mostly to the self deprecating jokes the comics were making. I said to Michelle, “See, now you understand why I don’t go to open mics.” It was a contest, but really it was just like an open mic. There were mostly comics, and not many of them. Comics don’t laugh at other comics, it encourages them too much. I would like to change that, but I’m not a big laugh out loud guy, when I do it sounds made up.
It was excruciating.
After Suicide Jimmy, Seven Blessing, and other comics with awesome names, it was my turn.
I stepped up there. Nope, this is not going to work. I think with my style, if people don’t get it early on, then they’re just left trying to figure out what I’m doing. But, I plowed through it. The only laughs I got was when I used a laugh track. While the others were going I had downloaded a laugh track app on my phone. I played it into the mic after especially bad responses. I skipped through half my stuff and jumped off stage. Each comic did not get many laughs, but Michelle, agreed, I was near the bottom of that.
The top four comics would move on to the next round and it was up to the audience voting. I did not vote for myself. I did not move on. I did not want to come back.
Here’s the thing. The disparity between how my act goes in front of a small room of other comics to how the same material does in front of a large house at the Comedy Store is astounding to me. The last two times I performed was at the Comedy Store and killed. Regular people think it is hilarious and unique. Comics think it is boring and boring. I think it’s because it’s too far outside the box for them.
I will say, it is great to have one person, Michelle, understand why I hate open mics, and don’t really go to them anymore. It is also nice, that I have some good shows under my belt here, so it doesn’t really rattle my confidence anymore if it goes bad.
Regular people good. Comics bad.
Billie Jean by Michael Jackson good. Billie Jean by old guy behind a keyboard better.