Drag and Ducks

I really thought May was going to be all about writing, not being on stage. I started the month with two planned shows, but it looks like I’ll end it with six. I realize that’s not a lot for some comedians, but it represents progress for me.

One of my other activities is square dancing (still don’t have any jokes in that subject area, but I’m thinking about it) and last weekend was the IAGSDC convention in St. Louis. I did some research and found some open mics on Sunday, but wasn’t sure how I was going to get to them without a car. Then on Friday night, one of the callers asked where he could see my comedy this weekend and suggested I ask the person running the Honky Tonk Queen contest (an intentionally bad drag show that is a longtime tradition of the convention) to get 5 minutes. So Saturday afternoon I found myself putting together and rehearsing a set. Take a big, friendly, and lubricated audience, add several drag performers of various camp levels, throw in a well rehearsed set, and I had a recipe for a hit show. Yes, I will post my set as soon as I snip it out of the full recording.

Last night was quite as successful, but then again a sports bar during the NHL playoffs may not be my best venue. I wasn’t as rehearsed for the set as I should have been, and my phone didn’t sync notes, so I didn’t have my outline with me to review just before going on.  That combination meant that I had a few stumbles.  And the Anaheim Ducks lost.

So my lesson for this week is ‘rehearsal’. I have one more show this month, on Saturday, and I’m trying some new stuff. Let’s see if I can nail it.


The last few weeks have been…. sort of a rollercoaster.

MC’ing the SoCal Drummer contest was a complete blast. I loved having the luxury of time, but it turned out that there was too much of that luxury – I ran out of material (even what I prepared for a “stretch”) to cover “they’re not ready yet – stall for a few minutes” a few times, and when I saw video, I realized that I looked at my notes more often than I thought. On the plus side, I did some “off script” crowd work and handled my first auction reasonably well.

The next week was my husband’s birthday and we spent a lovely and uncrowded day at Disneyland, literally riding rollercoasters.  Later in the week, in my software developer world, the client decided to end my contract.

I’m treading lightly into the job search waters because we have a partially pre-paid vacation coming up in June, so I can’t easily pick up new work for a few more weeks, which supposedly means that I have that elusive entity – free time. But it is a truism that tasks expand to fill the time available, and as I tick off all the things I have to do every day – “honey do’s”, long neglected “I need to get that that’s”, etc. – I am amazed that I ever found time to work at all. I have spent some of the time (re)writing a script, I’ve revisited some old comedy material to improve it, and I’ve taken a few classes, so I have some sense of accomplishment.  One thing is certain, I won’t lack things to do when I’m retired.

On the actual “on stage” front, it’s also been a mixed bag.

A week ago Friday I got a call – “I had a comic cancel, can you do 15 minutes tonight?”.  I was excited that people think of me for these last minute engagements.  Of course I said yes, and quickly pulled together 15 minutes from existing material, but didn’t really have time rehearse that particular arrangement, so I used notes on stage. And while I didn’t exactly bomb, it was not a show I will look back on fondly. I definitely had a few “Why am I doing this? Do I really suck?” moments the next few days.

I decided to do an open mic this past week to try out some reworked material.  Madhouse now has an open mic every night (yay), but most of them don’t start until 9:30 (ugh).  Actually, this particular night, the regular show ran late and the open mic didn’t start until 10:15.  I finally went on about 11 at which time there were only two audience members.  So I sat on the bench and just chatted directly with them.

Friday night I had a “booked open mic” slot. The show organizer interspersed 10 minute sets by people she knew with 5 minute sets by people who approached her.  So, I got 5 minutes.  It was a great crowd, and I felt like I did fairly well. I definitely had a few “I’m so glad I get to do this” moments this weekend.

So here’s where I am starting this week – I am organizing my notes from last year’s trip to see if I can create a coherent chronicle of our travels in e-book form; I’m working on my iMovie skills so I can create comedy videos quicker, and yes, I am reviewing, updating, and creating comedy material.  So, for me this Spring is still the season of writing.