Monday, September 26, 2011

Show #138: Looking Glass

I did 5 minutes at the Looking Glass Lounge in Washington, DC.  I have never felt better or learned more from a sparsley crowded and mediocre open mic set.  My opening and closing punchlines were met with awkward silence and my transitions (to the new bits) need shortening.  On the positive side, one of the jokes I started doing on Thursday did great and I figured out a way to work an older bit (that didn't have a place in my long set) into one of my newer stories.  This old joke has made a good bit into a great bit.  The long set is taking shape. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Shows #135, #136 & #137: Comedy Spot, Terra Cafe and Laughter in the Basement

This past Thursday, I peformed eight minutes at The Comedy Spot in Ballston, Virginia.  Despite the extremely small audience (one patron and six comedians) I got a lot out of this open mic. Only one of my jokes had been previously told (the joke was written specifically for the "dirty show" I did a few weeks ago but has made it's way into my regular set).  The rest of the set was either brand new or improvized.  When writing new material, these sets are great.  I think a few of these ideas are going to stick. 

I had a similar experience at the Terra Cafe in Baltimore, Maryland the following night.  My eleven minute set was mainly used to work on the wording for new bits and trying out new ideas.  It was a very productive and character building set. 

I closed out with the week with a twenty-two minute set at Laughter in the Basement in Leesburg, Virginia.  This was a lot of fun and a really good set.  I did mostly polished stuff but also had fun playing "F, Marry or Kill" with the cast of "What's Eating Gilbert Grape".  Fun times. 

The show in Leesburg will probably be my last booked show sometime (with the exception of a trip to New York next month).  I haven't been trying to get a lot of shows and want to focus on writing and building new material for the next three months.  I'm looking to book a ton of shows in January and February and then recording a live album in late February.  So for now... It's all about writing and hitting open mics. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Shows #127, #128, #129, #130, #131, #132, #133 & #134: Capital Comedy Connection, Sonoma's Bar and Grille, RFD, Varsity Lounge, Hightopps Bar and Grille, The Windup Space, Joe Squared and All Star Bar and Grill

I have a lot of shows to talk about, so let's get it started...

On Saturday (September 10th) I made my third appearance on The Capital Comedy Connection.  The show was a challenge because I had to work clean but I also did not want to repeat myself.  Going in, I did not know if I had a combined eighteen minutes of clean material but this ended up being my best set on the show to date. 

I followed up this appearance with a show at Sonoma's Bar and Grille on September 12th.  The show was a contest and my job was to warm up the crowd while the ballots were being passed out to audience members.  This was not ideal because the ballots were being explained and given to people, so the audience was paying attention in chunks.  This is a show that felt like work and I plowed through it.  Despite the conditions, it was a solid set. 

I performed at RFD in Washington, DC on September 15th.  As I have stated before, this is one of the best open mics in the region.  It is nice to see an open mic run by really cool guys and comics that look out for other comics.  I wish there were more rooms like this.  My five minute set was a very good one that included a new call back (a tag referencing a line earlier in the set) that received an applause break. 

After RFD, I closed out a showcase at the Varsity Lounge in College Park, Maryland.  This twenty-two minute set went over very well and included a lot of new material.  The call back I tried two days earlier got another strong reaction and applause break and has become a very good bit for me.  The highlight of this show was picking on the table of West Virginians (in town for the UM/WV football game).  It was all in good fun and showed improv skills that I did not have six months ago.  I'm going to post a video of this exchange in the next few days. 

My eight minute set at Hightopps in Timonium, Maryland was a really strong set.  This set was a return to my homebase for comedy and featured a lot of strong reactions.  One new joke didn't work out, but the rest of the set connected.  I need to simply the joke in question and set up the premise better.  It still has potential. 

This past monday featured two sets.  The first show was a fifteen minute run at the Wind Up Space in Baltimore, Maryland.  This is a monthly showcase that features Improv and standup.  It was an interesting energy in the room and I never quite connected with the audience.  Still, it was a good set and I got laughs throughout.  I just feel like I really had to work for laughs. 

My second set that night came at (the now defunct) Joe Squared which was run by my good friend Mike Storck.  I tried out a lot of new material and did a lot of improvizing which was very fun and important for me to do.  I hope Mike puts another open mic together soon because he is one of those comedians that looks out for people.  He is a genuinely good guy and I wish more people that ran open mics were like him. 

My last show was at Allstar Bar & Grill in Baltimore, Maryland.  This was the first open mic at the venue and run by my friend Leclerc Darguin.  This turned out to be a great work out room (the audience was made up of 15 patrons and 10 comedians) and I tried out and worked on new jokes.  As I watched the video back, I noticed how comfortable I was.  A few of the new jokes didn't work but I did't come off awkward or phased by that.  There was a time (not too long ago) that if I joke fell flat... I was done for the rest of the set (and probably the next day at my 9-5 job).  Now if a joke fails, I have more confidence that the next one will hit.  This is probably the area I have improved with the most at stand up.  I ended up closing out this set stronger than any other set I did during this run. 

Overall, this was a very successful series of sets.  I have a few really good new bits and got to work on a lot of things over the past week.  I just need to keep it up...

Sometimes you start liking something ironically... then you like it genuinely.  Now you hate yourself for it.

Thursday, September 8, 2011