Posts Tagged ‘cavern’

Waiting with excitement and anticipation for the doors of the downstairs bar, the Cavern, to open. I drove here ten minutes to 9. I hope my car does not get towed because I parked it illegally in the Safeway parking lot. However, I doubt it, because I have been parking there for the last three years and have never had any trouble. However, it is still illegal so anything could happen. This could be the week someone decides to be a real son of a bitch and tows my car or gives me a ticket. It’s hard finding parking anywhere else in the Osborne Village that is as close and as convenient as the Safeway parking lot. Most of the other patrons, have already finished their evening shop by this point anyways.

    At 9, there is a dash for the sign-up board. Some people put clever nicknames down, however, I never have thought of one and I have had plenty of time to think. 3 whole years. My name goes 9th on the list. There are that many other people who have been waiting at the door impatiently for comedy to start and there are even more people waiting behind me to sign their name on the board. After this, its time to shmooze and go up to the bar and order beer with the rest of the comedians. While, some comedians have enough people who think they are the bomb and are willing to shell out the 4.25 to buy them a beer, I do not. The bar have all the major labels that you can buy as a bottle, and before they had Milwaukee on tap for $4 dollars. However, I am not a fan of the beers that they currently have on tap as they changed the beers a few weeks ago.

  At this point, there is few audience members who have arrived. There are some regulars but not many. Not that this is a problem, -yet- as the audience usually arrives closer to 9:30. After checking my watch it’s 9:12 and only a small number have trickled in so far. I hope more people come because performing for other comedians is the worst. As a comedian we are always thinking analyzing, trying to figure out what’s funny or thinking about our own sets, or having conversations with friends. To top it all off most of my jokes the other comedians have heard before, it is very difficult to come up with a new five minutes, every week so most of the jokes are simply recycled jokes that we want to work on honing and perfecting.

  9:45. The host finally, goes up and starts to warm-up the audience. This is to different degrees of success. The first comedian goes on. Everyone always says the bullet is the hardest spot in comedy, but I disagree. I honestly, don’t have a problem going first. It’s not about the crowd not being warm and ready to laugh that is annoying about going first, but rather the fact that the whole crowd who is coming is usually not there yet as they continue to trickle in like a faulty faucet. However, it’s easier to go 1st than 20th. The comedians continue to chat in the “green room”. It’s fun hanging out with your buddies. The first set ends, and you congratulate the first comedian for being funny, even if you weren’t listening to the whole thing. A majority of the time, comedians don’t listen to every single joke the other comedians tell unless it’s one of your personal favourite comedians, or one of the favourites of the group.  Slowly more and more comedians go up and perform. One of the things going on in the back of your mind is “I hope I am not in the final 4.”

   Usually 22 comedians go up on stage for minutes each on Sundays, which equals approximately 3 hours. therefore, the people at the end have it the hardest. The crowd is exhausted and they have just been laughing for three hours straight. They are beginning to want to go home or socialize with their friends because asking them to be quiet this long is quite a straining thing to ask for. I mean I have seen comedians such as Paul Rabliauskas, Winnipeg’s fastest rising comedy star and the sweetheart of the local comedy scene,  Tyler Penner and others killing in this slot but its still alot to ask from both the comedian and the audience.  That is why it is much easier to do well earlier in the night or as part of a show with a set line-up. In addition, in my case, I begin to get tired by 11:30 so if I have not performed by then when I get to the stage I am not full of as much energy and not as dynamic.  

    So during the open mic you watch what other comedians do during their sets to get an idea what will work. You have your own set that you are planning on doing but you always leave some wiggle room. For example, if comedians who do crowd work are having a hard time because the crowd is being unresponsive or being too responsive and trying to talk to you to much you have to decide what you are going to do. It also gives you an indicator if low-brow humor is going to work, or whether the jokes need to be on a different topic. Not planning enough has worked badly for me in the past when I am underprepared but being over prepared and not able to adjust to what the audience throws at you is equally bad if not worse.

 The big moment has finally arrived. The host has pulled my name out of the jug while the previous comedian was on stage and tells me that I am are next. the comedian on stage begins there set while the anticipation of going up next continues to rise. Then he finishes his set and the crowd is rippling with applause. The host calls your name and the dj plays your song. Usually comedians have a song that they always go up to. How does a person get a particular song, I am not quite clear on the process. Usually it is something to do with their personality or their onstage persona for example the guy who is seen as a lady killer goes up to the song “I am not a whore”. I can’t tell you what the song I go up to because my brain is not focused on the music but with getting on the stage and reviewing what jokes I am going to tell. By the time I get on stage I am so nervous, therefore I try to project all my thoughts on the crowd by getting them laughing. Usually my first joke I tell involves the audience getting involved. As a result of my having Aspergers I am known as being extremely socially awkward particularly when talking to women. Therefore, my first joke usually involves hitting on a woman in the front row awkwardly to get the whole audience laughing, such as my new joke telling the girl that “I bet she’s like a transformer, because there is more to her than meets the eye and I bet all the little boys want to get their hands on her.” Once the crowd is laughing, a huge weight on your shoulders is eased off. Suddenly you feel more comfortable up there and have more confidence in the rest of your set that you have been working on. Then at the 4.5 minute mark the host flashes you with a light to tell you to tell one more joke or wrap up the one you are currently telling and end your set.

  Then if you did well, when you are walking back to your seat you feel like a rockstar with everyone congratulating you and telling you how awesome you did. In the past I did not believe them but after bombing on countless occasions I can now tell the difference between when the other comedians and audience members are being genuine and when I feel like they are being phony. How I can tell is based off of how I feel I did. If I feel that I deserve the praise or not. After this you can get a beer, sit back and enjoy the rest of the sets.  It’s considered extremely rude and unseemly to leave before everyone else has performed and the host tells everyone goodnight. Since they have all sat through your set it is only fair to sit through theirs. Some people may have gone for a smoke during your set and you may be annoyed about that but its not their fault they have a nicotine monkey on their back now is it? It’s not like they were thinking about ways of annoying you when they started smoking 10 years ago.

 Walking to your car after your set at approximately 12:30, you either feel on top of the world after having done a really great set or you feel really depressed and are overanalyzing everything that you did wrong or could have done differently.