Monthly Archives: September 2014

Leaving Las Vegas

What a week in Vegas.

There are more events in the World Series of Comedy – I still need to find out how two of my San Diego comedy buddies fare in the finals – but I only planned to be there through today.  Yes, I drove home this afternoon.

I was on stage in Las Vegas twice – once for the World Series of Comedy and once at the Sapphire club (yes – gay man in a straight strip club, eventually that will be a bit).  Both sets went pretty well even though I had to make some last minute changes. Just before the World Series show, we were told that we would have 4 minutes instead of the 5 I expected, but I was able to adjust without issue.  Just before the Sapphire show, we were told we could have 8 minutes; I had planned on doing 5, but I added a bit of material I haven’t done in a while and came in pretty close to 8 minutes.  Chris Clobber told me there would be days when I would have to stretch or cut at the last minute, so I feel good that I was able to do so.

The seminars at the World Series of Comedy were great.  Even though some covered areas that are still a few years out for me (e.g. getting an agent and manager), I still found enough relevant to me for me to consider it a good use of my time.  I spent more time writing in the last week than I did in the previous quarter; not all of it is worth saving, and in fact the actual output, measured in punchlines is pretty small, but there are some gems that I will unleash when they’re polished.

In general, I hate business “networking” events – I never know what to talk about after “Hello”.  But this worked well – I met many comedians that I want to keep up with as we pursue this career.  There is a wide range of experience and talent levels at this event, and yet I felt like I could strike up conversation with anyone.  Everyone was very friendly.  And I think the biggest thing I got out of the week is renewed confidence that I can actually make at least a part-time career out of this thing that gives me so much energy.

Bye, Vegas, I’ll be back.

It’s Vegas, baby

I’m in Las Vegas and I’m going to do comedy!

I used to come here regularly for a software project and developed a fondness for the energy that this city exudes. There is a palpable sense of “anything is possible” here that outweighs the bordering-on-tacky displays of wealth (real or rented), the faux glitz, and the whatever-you-can-get-away-with entertainment.  The fact that “anything is possible” can be either positive or negative seems irrelevant – the city vibe practically begs you to get out of your comfort zone.

On the drive up here, I listened to recordings from my last two shows – Aces and Twiggs.  Twiggs was a little worse than I thought at the time I was doing it.  Yuck I can do better.  I guess I need shows like that to remind me that I have to learn to learn from my failures.  The Aces show was much tighter, and that gives me some confidence going into this week.

I didn’t make the cut for the World Series of Comedy contest, but the event includes seminars that I can definitely use.  Besides, it’s Vegas, so I’m sure there’s something I’ll get out of it. I have a slot in one of the non-contest shows, so my goal is to be good enough that someone says “you should have been in the contest”.

When I got here this evening I started looking for additional stage time, and I secured a slot in the open mic at Sapphire Club. I went to this club to see one of my comedy teachers (Tony Calabrese) perform when we were in town in December, so it seems kind of fitting. Yes, this gay man will be performing in a strip club. But it’s Vegas, baby – get out of your comfort zone.

Learning to fail, a little

While I don’t typically do topical humor, I do try to have something different in every show I do. I believe my audience deserves more than seeing the same set every time. Sometimes I’ll add new material, and sometimes I’ll revive something I haven’t done in a long time, and sometimes I’ll do both.  I planned to add some completely new bits, a few new lines to some existing bits, and a few bits that are still under construction to the Comedy Heights show at Twiggs last night. Of course, I also planned to incorporate some of my signature pieces.

I have a confession to make – I wasn’t as prepared for the show as I should have been. I’ve been pretty consumed with our kitchen renovation and I didn’t rehearse the new material that I was working on. I say that not as an excuse, but rather as an explanation for my lack of time management.

So the bad news is that I got on stage and kind of blanked on some of the new stuff.  The good news is that I was able to immediately fall back on some tried-and-true bits that filled my time pretty seamlessly. My husband and friends in the audience that have seen me perform before saw some hesitation in my delivery, but I don’t think anyone seeing me for the first time noticed.

I know that one of the things a comedian must learn is to not be afraid to fail. I took a risk by incorporating new material into a show without sufficient rehearsal. A more conservative approach would have been to do the same show I did the last time I played Twiggs. But, as I said, I believe the audience deserves something fresh. On one hand, I failed – I didn’t do the full set I had planned. On the other hand, I rose to a challenge – by changing my plan mid-performance to keep my set going. I’m just a little less afraid to risk a failure today.

 

Yikes – not again

Wow.  Two comedy legends gone within a month.

I have to say I’m not as broken up over the loss of Joan Rivers as I was over Robin Williams.  Her acerbic wit was great. Although her acerbic style was  never one that I wanted to emulate, if for no other reason than I’m not that plugged into popular culture. Yet, I will still miss her.

We saw her at Harrah’s earlier in April.  She joked that she’s old and “could go at any time” and that if she died during the show “you’ll be able to talk about it at parties for years”.  I’m glad I can’t really do that.  I’m also glad that I got the chance to see her live.

That comedy club in heaven is getting a pretty amazing lineup.