Sunday, July 09, 2006

A Ride to Comedy

On Thursday, I took a trip up to Gloucester to do a show because two of the guys I work with live up there and coming into Boston to see a show is a daunting prospect. So, I thought I would arrange to perform in their neighborhood. I approached Shawn Donovan , who produces a show up there and got stage time. It so happens, this will be his last show up there. And, coincidentally, I think it will be the last time I go out of my way to make it convenient for someone to come see me perform. I'm pretty sure Lloyd Webber wouldn't traipse down to Edinburgh so his friend from high school doesn't have to take a long train ride to see the Phantom of the Opera. My friend did get me good directions to the location , but him and the wife didn't appear.
Probably a good thing. The show was three hours long and Shawn performs with a partner. Yet another deal where a team is hosting a show, they haven't planned their material and don't have any awareness that there is no pace or progression to the show. Which, in my opinion, as a former half of a comedy team, would be their responsibility as hosts of the show. The show opened with a manic depressive elderly person singing original songs in between vague descriptions of the quality of his mental illness. I really wished David Walsh was there to see that. I think he would have enjoyed that portion of the show the most. Frankly, it was also one of my favorite parts and I'm glad my friend wasn't there to see that. It would have made him uncomfortable. It made me uncomfortable.
I was surprised by all the comics that made the trip up . Josh Gondelman, Dan Hirschorn, Taylor Connelly and EJ Murphy. EJ did some beautiful material. Watching him was worth the trip. Brian Freer lives in Beverly, so he wasn't that far away and Andy Paquette came all the way from Auburn. Of course, he went last. Poor thing.
There actually was an audience with civilians. However, 6 of the audience members were just about to enter 8th grade. So, the pedophilia jokes made me a little uncomfortable. The hosts are fresh out of college themselves, so , I don't think they were all that cognizant of the inappropriateness. And the girls were very scantily attired and sat up front. Again, I'm glad my friends didn't show up .
At around 2 and a half hours, Shawn's partner, a young whippersnapper named Joe Smith (Not THAT Joe Smith) starts talking about watching a video tape of his birth and the size of his mother's pussy and then he brings me up. Good Lord! What the hell are these kids thinking ? (The answer is :They are not thinking). He wasn't even doing bits! They weren't even jokes ! He probably thought "Bring up an old pussy with material about an old pussy". By this time , I've already been in this converted storage space for about 4 hours.I have driven up from working an 8 hour day on Boston Common. I am fatigued and have little connection to my set list anymore . I am not all that funny now , myself. This kid has made a tough road steeper for me. I wish I didn't make the trip. I'm cursing my friends under my breath and I had no memory of what I had planned to say. I blabber. I wish EJ and Dan weren't still there. I rallied but it was really a waste of time for me.
Actually, I learned two things. #1) Don't go out of your way to perform near where people live. No matter what you do, they're tired . They don't want to leave the house. It's not about me. I usually don't want to leave the house either. I originally learned this lesson a long time ago. I guess I needed a reminder. #2) I need to learn how to pace and focus myself. I got caught up watching the show and got distracted from my material. I could have really turned that incomfortable situation around to my advantage. Instead, I got flustered.
I like Shawn, I think he's got some good material. I wish him well.


Blogger Dee-Rob said...

My add to the list, as though you were asking, is never travel or go any mental or physical distance for people who mean well, but don't (yet) know how to put on a good show.

I once drove literally through mountains and woods to anger some already angry lesbians for a women's show. But the show's creator meant well.

Running shows, hosting, these actual require some talent and some effort. I think people forget that.

Sunday, July 09, 2006 6:56:00 PM  

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