Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sets #30, #31, #32, #33, #34 & #35: The Barking Dog, The Irish Channel, Two Doors Down, The Baltimore Comedy Factory and Firestation One

I did thirty-eight minutes at The Barking Dog in Bethesda, Maryland. It was blah blah blah blah blah blah and blah. Conditions were not ideal (small crowd, too long of a show, a really tired crowd that was smaller by the time I got on stage, weird lighting and a really hot mic) but I should have done better. I needed to make adjustments and I failed to do so.

Some crowds are tight, some are attentive, some like being punched in the face. This crowd enjoyed being punched in the face (which I did a few times) but I didn't follow through. It was a weird vibe in the room and I didn't make things better or less awkward. The crowd didn't dislike me or hate the show... They just weren't the most lively or enthusiastic bunch.

I followed this set with a very good set at the Irish Channel in Crofton, Maryland. I'd be lying if I said my heart was fully into this one... but I think that I faked it well. This is actually a big deal. You're going to have off nights and times when you're not feeling well. Being able to perform at a high level and not having the audience realize you're not 100% is an important skill and one I have not always done well with in the past. When I listened back to the set... I think I pulled it off.

On Friday I had an odd thirty minute set at Two Doors Down in Manchester, Maryland. I've been to this venue before and had a lot of success. Unfortunately this show was derailed by the "Desperate Housewives of Carroll County" (a table of drunken hecklers). This group of obnoxious women interrupted the host, guest comic and the co-headlining comedian that went on before me. They repeatedly disrupted the show for me, the other comics and their fellow audience members. After they interrupted my set several times (and I asked them to be quiet several times) I finally had enough. I responded by laying the microphone on a stool and refused to continue the show unless they "were removed, left or died".

It seems like a bold move and one that I've never tried before. There was just no way I could continue with the show as it was. It wasn't fair to me, the other comics or the other audience members that paid ten dollars per ticket. The people were eventually removed and it made for a better show. Despite the awkward removal and unexpected two minute break, the rest of the show went very smoothly. I performed 15 minutes after the drunks were kicked out and I ended up having a good, if not interesting set.

I followed the Manchester episode with an last minute feature gig at the Baltimore Comedy Factory where I performed two sets in front of the hilarious Godfrey. My first set (20 minutes) went okay as the room had a short attention span and was a little chatty. After starting out very well, I lost them with a long form bit at the twelve minute mark. I got a little nervous and started speeding up after that (which is something I haven't done in sometime). However, I calmed myself down and rallied. My closer and my backup closer (which I used to cover the time because I cut another bit short) did well. I feel lucky that this set ended up the way it did... because it could have easily gone off the rails and been a disaster.

My second set at the BCF went much better. I ditched the long bits and adjusted to the rowdy room by doing all shorter entires. This fifteen minute set (everyone's sets were cut short due to a late start) went over very well and was much needed. Every joke hit hard and the response by audience members after the show was great as well.

On a side note... Godfrey could not have been a cooler headliner to work with. He was an incredibly friendly, funny and thoughtful dude. I really enjoyed chatting with him after the show and got a lot of good advice from him (as well as nerding out about the Dark Knight Rises and dueling Bane impressions). Overall, this was a very fun night.

Finally, I had an okay set at Firestation One on Monday. I spent most of the eleven minute set working on two stories and it went over pretty well. The main story was a six minute story (that is called "air freshener" in my notebook) did not do as well as I would have liked but will eventually be a great bit. I screwed up the order of the bit and missed a joke or two but the arc of the bit is in good shape. It has a strong punch at the end but just needs to be structured better. This venue was a perfect place to workshop this bit (and a few others) and helped it cap a productive monday.

Overall, this has been an odd but solid and busy week. If you've read all of this... Bless you and I'm sorry. I'm done.


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