Archive for the ‘comedy’ Category

The majority of the audience are 40 plus.
Therefore, keep the jokes relateable to this age range. Talking about things such as Mortal Kombat, Pogs or Boardwalk Empire may not go over with this audience so well as when doing stand-up comedy in a bar with young people. Young people will understand the references because they were there as well. Also, keep the material clean as older people do not gratuitous dirty jokes. Which is okay, because my jokes are generally clean most of the time regarldess who I am performing for.

One good rating can make your show extremely successfu.
My review from CBC was medicore and it while it can still be argued that I could still have had a successful fringe without a great review, getting 5 stars from the Winnipeg Free Press, allowed me to relax and enjoy the festival more. People do not take a balance of the two scores and go based on the average, instead a great review will run wild and drum up business better than one could possibly believe. Other groups had to work much harder, handbilling and promoting their show than I had to simply because I got lucky. There is both skill and luck in being lucky as I am not going to say I didn’t deserve the good score but the score from CBC shows that not everyone thought as highly of my show.

While Fringe festival can be lucrative, it may not necessarily help your social calendar.
This one is pretty self explainatory. There is no arguing that my fringe festival was a success and yet, after it was all said and done no girls flirted with me because I was a star of the fringe-festival and I still felt as uncomfortable talking to people my own age as ever.

Not every show is going to be equally strong, but that doesn’t mean you should beat yourself up over it.

Do not rush yourself, it only makes it that much harder to get back on course if you start off badly because of rushed lines.

If you say your show is going to be 45 minutes if you go under 35 critics will not like it.

Well, the fringe festival is over so I am now going to reflect on this amazing experience.
Pre-fringe I sent out all the emails to all of the contacts that Fringe suggested, which was like 4 weeks ahead of time. I thought that everyone would be interested in my story because I am egotistical like that. I have a hard time taking the perspective of others, therefore, when things go badly its because of something I did and when things go well it’s because I got lucky. Nevertheless, in my head the world revolves around me. Therefore, when I did not hear back from anyone other than the Jewish post and Shaw at first I got really discouraged. (I still think the Jewish post, had the best article of the bunch =0 ). Maybe, I had miscalculated and it turned out no one would be interested in the message that I had to say. Maybe, only people with aspergers would care and everyone else would prefer something lighter. This was a stand-up comedy which is light, but also about a weighter topic Aspergers. My blog never had the biggest audience after all. Therefore, I began worrying that my fringe show would be a flop.
Slowly, however, three weeks after I had sent out all the emails, two weeks after I stopped thinking anyone cared and four days before the fringe festival started. I started hearing back from CBC and the Winnipeg Free Press. When CBC first contacted me I was in a hurry and had just woke up from my nap so wasn’t really coherent about what was going on. Therefore, when they interviewed me for the website I was just confused and thought that was that. Then they contacted me again to do a radio interview, at the radio interview they also talked about doing something for tv but when nothing happened that day I moved on. The television department actually contacted me the day before I was performing. On top of that I was still writing my fringe festival show because the original script was too darn negative.
My mom was still convincing me, however, that not everyone would be interested and only people impacted by the disorder would come to my show. On top of that people with Aspergers rarely like to leave their house so I thought my audience would be tiny.
In addition, I had got my tech time wrong and only out of mercy from the tech guy steve who waited late were we able to practice at all. I only knew, I got my tech time wrong because my mom called me on my cell-phone I had been out that day with some people putting up the great posters that Cory Falvo made for me.
The first night of my show I knew was going to be huge because it was all my parents friends who had read the article in the Jewish post and therefore, had come out to support me. Therefore, I figured I’d have at least one packed house and only one packed house. I was okay with that, because frankly I was not that comfortable with my material after writing and learning it all in a week. Granted it was based on my five years of stand-up comedy but everyone told me stand-up comedy doesn’t do so well in the fringe festival. Also, it wasn’t like I was on the pinnacle of Winnipeg stand-up and had already been looked past for many big shows like the Winnipeg Improv festival. As a result, I had every right to be concerned. Forunately, for me there were lots of people who came out to support me. My brother’s friends parents all the way-out in the country even drove in to support me that night.
The next day, was Friday. I was very nervous because my show started at 5:45 and my shift at work ended at 5:15. Forunately the two were very close to each other. Nevertheless, I was very nervous about not having lots of time to prepare, mentally that is, as my show had no props. I was flabbergasted when I got there and there was a huge line-up. The place had sold-out. The show is very strange for an audience member to know when to laugh because at the heart of it, the jokes are about something really sad therefore, it was hard for them to know when it was okay to laugh and not feel like they are laughing at the person with the disability. It is made tougher by my pedantic speech as a result of my disorder. I have faced this challenge often as a stand-up comedian and I didn’t know how this would fare for my show. This ended up not being that big of a problem. Nevertheless, I wasn’t thrilled with how my show went. My general awkwardness at the end of my worked in my favour, however, as the audience loved it. I wrote this off as a freak occurence and that my audience sizes would normalize for the rest of the shows. That my third show no way would anyone come out I mean it was at a god-awful hour of 11pm on a day that had been raining hard and was still coming down hard. Nevertheless, lo and behold this show almost sold-out as well. There were 5 seats still available.

I was a bit worried how, the critics would take it, however, as my show was barely 35 minutes at that time and I said it was a 42 minute show. One critic hated this and gave me a medicore review a 3. The other big critic, however, loved my show and gave me a 5 stars. Which is a miracle, since five star reviews should only be reserved for the best shows like the Hot Thespian Action one or Crumbs. You know, shows that would sell out automatically whether or not they got 5 stars.
After hearing both shows complain about my show being short. My brother and I stayed up late the Saturday before the Sunday show, my 3rd show, and worked really hard to add 5 more minutes. One of the jokes that came out of this session actually became one of my best jokes.
After getting the 5-star review I also got two super generous reviews from complete strangers in the Jenny’s which is the unofficial fringe newspaper. My shows now started selling out really quickly. I could only hope that the message that I was trying to send about people with Aspergers being just as capable and worthy as anyone else, despite having our shortcomings socially was getting through. One show sold out 5 minutes after tickets going on sale I’ve heard.
The final hurdle came after I won patron’s pick. I was going to be going up against the best shows from other venues in the exact same time-slot. Amazingly enough, the press and word of mouth was good enough that it was the only show that sold-out in advance.
The most rewarding part of the festival, however, was not selling out shows but having strangers who I did not know come up and talk about how they could relate to the show and how they too had Aspergers and appreciate what I had done. Some of them even shared their own stories.

In September, the show will air for one night only at the purple room as a fundraiser for Aspergers Manitoba.

Happy World Autism day. I bet some of you are just coming back from the big parade that happened downtown in your city. Filled with sugar from a little too much drinking of soda from all the celebrations. What is that? No parade? Yeah me neither. How come certain causes get their own parade and festival well others do not? Are the organizers afraid that no one would show-up if they did arrange a parade? That’s just silly, because apparently 1 in 88 people are on the Autistic spectrum. That means that there is plenty of people who should either be on it themselves or have close family or friends on it. There is no reason why there are not just the pure numbers to have a big celebration that rival that of the G/L/B/T parade every year.
Both communities have alot in common, for example both of them have been/are considered a form of illness for a long time. I mean, people actually think that a pill can take away all that I am and instead replace my social awkwardness with a brain that works like an NT’s. Sort of like the transformation that happened in Family Matters when Erkal becomes the sexy Stefan who is a complete babe magnet. Hey, if it’s possible why not. My lack of lacking a sex life would be a nice change for a couple of months/ years.
I get it Autism lacks the sexiness of homosexuality. There just is not the same marketability of it. There will never be the same desire for movies with two autistic people. You will never hear a conversation like this in the bar.

Stefanie: Hey, instead of making out on the bar like we do every week, to look sexy for guys let’s do something really different?
Trish: Like what Bitch?
Stef: You’re the Bitch, Bitch. Let’s act really Autistic won’t that be so sexy.
Trish: You’re so naughty. I love it. Let’s totally do it tonight.

There are certain stereotypes people have of people with Autism such as we have poor fine motor skills. It’s true, there is nothing that will ruin a date faster than having the person you are trying to woo have to tie your laces for you. Except, maybe asking them to buy you a hot chocolate at the end and calling them mom. Worst practice date ever, am I right?
(seriously, never happened but I did have to have my dad or mom come into the locker room growing up and was like 13 to tie my laces because I could not tie them tight enough. It was extremely emberassing. Once this was no longer acceptable, for awhile a teammate would do it or my coach. One of my former teammates always brings it up whenever he is trying to embarass me in a social setting because he knows I am not proud of it and he thinks that everyone will get a laugh at my expense. Fortunately, I don’t hangout with this guy often, who would if they were me?)

Never judge any of your own work to harshly. This is a life lesson that I have learnt recently. I had lots of fun making a webseries called Library outreach where I went out into the community and interviewed other comedians about things in their lives and always tied it back to the library. In the end I felt like it was a failure. When the library insisted that I remove it from YouTube because it was giving people the wrong idea that I was part of an organized promotional attempt from the library which takes a longer time getting anything done and runs through more of a committee and many many meetings. At the time, however, I was not that upset because the views on the YouTube videos were dismal. A popular video got 100 views and most of those I felt like were from me. Therefore, I was ready to write the show off. Just yesterday something amazing happened, however. A big name Comedian who is well-known and has been on televised comedy shows and gets interviewed by Bill Mader wants to do my show. Turns out he is dating another comedian. A comedian who is from Winnipeg and I am good friends with, a one Aisha Alfa; who had previously moved to Toronto less than 4 months ago to further her career. When Aisha told him about the show he became interested in being in it when he passes through Winnipeg for the Winnipeg Comedy Festival, in which he is participating in the biggest shows of the festival. When I informed him the show was cancelled he got upset and me realizing how big of an opportunity that I am missing have decided to create a new interview web series called “It’s a Work In Progress.”

One way as a person on the autistic spectrum I avoid sensory overload is that I rarely go into situations that I don’t know what to expect. No matter, what situation I get myself into whether it is at a bar or going to work or home I always know what to expect. I know that when I get up in front of a stage to perform that the sounds I will likely hear is laughter. I know that before and after the show there will be conversations going on, with something funny occasionally thrown in for variety. When a crowd is silent it throws me off more than most comedians, because it is unexpected and I don’t do unexpected well. Therefore, I am up there trying to salvage the show not only for the audience’s benefit but also for the benefit of my own sanity, because the longer the new situation goes on, the greater the chance I will have a problem with sensory overload. If I went into a stand-up comedy venue and instead of conversation going on like I expected there was suddenly five screaming babies who were crying at the top of their lungs I would totally freak out. I would have the worst headache because I would be unable to adapt to the new scenario and it is not only because crying babies are extremely annoying and it is a wonder after listening to one, that anyone would want to have children. If the MC before the show was blasting heavy metal music before the show it would be the same result. I would have a really bad headache to the point where I feel physically sick.
One time a couple of friends decided to randomly pop by which did not happen often. The whole time they were there I was so thrown off to the point, where I was rude being like what are you doing here. Granted it was on a Jewish Holiday where I had already been fasting for 10 hours which can make me cranky on its own, nevertheless; their appearance made me feel really uncomfortable since I had planned on playing video games by myself in my boxers the rest of the afternoon till I was able to eat again. This would not have affected most people but I felt like I had to put pants on and had to play a two-player game, it was awful. Even if someone texts me first or calls and lets me know that they are coming in five-minutes I am less thrown off.
Essentially, what I am saying is, please don’t bring a cortet of crying babies to one of my comedy shows at a bar. Thank you in advance,

sincerely

Adambeck-crying-babies

That is a really weird confession to be making after doing stand-up for over three-years but I really am not sure whether I get comedy or not. There have been times when another performer has told jokes and the audience has loved them and yet due to being to literal I am left scratching my head, why what I just watched went over so well. For example, another local comedian has this joke where he does an impression of the Canadian flag. Every single time he has done the joke the audience has absolutely adored it. I on the other hand was waiting for the traditional set-up followed by a punchline. My literal brain is like that does not look at all like a flag, why is so funny? I have over time become a fan of the joke just because it is so goofy and fun but on the other hand I really did not get it. There have been countless jokes told in the local community or that I have seen on television that have left me scratching my head on what was so darn funny about what I had just seen.
This trait is not exclusively about others, however, as there are jokes that I tell that still leave me unsure why the joke went over so well with the audience. For example, I have a joke about not being the smartest tool in the shed, which is an old metaphor, and then saying I am sort of like a rake. At the time it was simply a toss-away joke and I never gave it too much thought about why it was funny until it went over really really well. Therefore, I have told it over and over again and yet I still do not know why the joke is funny but keep using it because every time I have told it, the audience has seemed to love it. Really, I like many people with Aspergers am too literal minded which has got in the way of my having written many more jokes at this point than I currently have. On the other hand the pure randomness of how I view the world and the things that confuse me is devoured by the crowd as hilarious. This is not something I can count on, however, because when I go up with the strategy of just talking about my confusion about life and it does not follow any kind of stand-up pattern this strategy often backfires as the crowd does not enjoy it.
All of this simply leaves me with the realization, that I in fact do not know how stand-up comedy works. I enjoy stand-up comedy but I don’t truly understand it. Therefore, sort of keep it at an arms-length distance, which is the same relationship that I have with the rest of the world created by NTS.

Hi people
So I am stuck with figuring out what to name my show
Here are the top candidates so far
Pass the Aspergers; a story of honesty, courage, and Aspergers.
Aspergers am I rights?
On the Autistic Spectrum
Aspergers; a social misfit story.
Mr. Asperger

I am not sure about any of these names.
Please send in genuine sincere ideas.

It’s been a tense couple of weeks as a result of weeks for the Asperger community. So to remind everyone of how hilarious Aspergers can still be I posted this video.

 

One of the common characteristics of Aspergers is the inability to block out unnecessary information which leads to sensory-overload. Having to deal with all of this information can be extremely distracting and probably feels the same as ADHD, which has led to people with Asperger’s being misdiagnose.d Some people with Aspergers avoid going anywhere where there is really loud noise because all of the stimulus can be overwhelming and make them feel sick afterwards. I am fortunate, unlike many people with Aspergers that I am able to deal with this stimulus; otherwise I would not be able to do stand-up comedy. Looking out on the audience when I am on stage can often make it very difficult to focus on the joke I am telling if I have not planned it well in advance. I will start telling a joke and then suddenly be like huh, that guy has a nice baseball cap, wow that girl in blue is pretty. Hmm, why isn’t that guy in the second row second from the left laughing. I wonder if I can win him back. Some people you can’t win over because there is something else going on in their lives that they are distracted about or they are just tired. Then again, comedy is subjective so I can’t be everyone’s cup of tea. I can also be completely thrown off when two people are having a conversation during my set.  They don’t think that they are doing anything wrong because they are being quiet, therefore, it shouldn’t affect the comedians set. However, unlike many comedians, I have a harder time focusing and tuning out the unnecessary sensory information.

Receiving all of these stimuli is a double-edged sword when I am performing. On one hand, it forces me to interact with the crowd more than other people and a crowd that is involved; is usually a happy crowd who enjoys themselves.  On the other hand, receiving all of this information makes it harder to focus on the material that I have written. At times, when I am trying out a new joke the sensory information can be overwhelming and make me forget how the joke I have written for the show goes. Therefore, when I focus on the message I am trying to get across I sound like I am reading the joke off of a page and it looks extremely awkward and wooden. Stand-up comedy often is not about telling jokes but is about sharing observations or insights. Therefore, if you are drawn out of the moment because you have to focus on the joke, you often run the risk of alienating the crowd. Many comedians can actually bring their notebook up onto stage to remind themselves of how a new joke goes and still come off as more natural than I do with a joke that I have been working on all weekend. As a result, I generally try to keep my jokes simpler and shorter than comedians who are able to go up there and tell whole stories. I also leave out doing funny voices for my jokes because it is just another tangible to focus on, and when you are already stretched thin, something has to go.  Even then, in the end, after coming off stage I often realize that there were several jokes or tags that I wanted to tell but simply being up there led me to being so distracted that I cannot remember them.  I am not going to say having Aspergers is a hindrance to stand-up comedy, but it definitely plays an important role in shaping who I am as a comedian.

 

Yeah, I know I am kind of a big deal in Winnipeg. Sure the majority of people who will recognize me on the street don’t exactly stop me because they know me from comedy and sure I never get anything free because of my celebrity status but I am still a bit of a big shot. I mean occasionally, once in every six months or so, someone will be like “hey, I think I saw you at comedy, you were really funny!” It does happen I am not making it up. I also like to think that I am doing the responsible thing and putting my celebrity status to good use promoting an important cause. While still preventing all this fame from going to my head and giving me a massive ego. I mean I almost went and talked to girl who I didn’t know. I stopped myself at the last minute, but I would not have even considered it 6 months ago.

Here is a list of my achievements of the last 6 months that people might know about:

Was in the local comedy festival, in one of the free shows that happened at the library during noon time.

Appeared on two local mic shows a week. One at the Rose’n’bee and the other at the Cavern on Osborne. Not to brag or anything, but the Cavern is where local Z list stars are born after all.

 

 

    Being a Z list celebrity is new to me and it raises many questions. For example, at what point can I go around being like “do you know who I am?” As well, at one point can I get away with dressing garishly in public? What point will girls want to start sleeping with me just because I am so-so famous. As well, how long am I safe before paparazzi start chasing me around on really really slow news days? I think you have to be at least C list internationally, before anyone asks you to play Celebrity Wheel of Fortune for your charity. Does anyone know the rules about that?