Saturday, March 26, 2005

Look Out, Bombs Away!

For some unfortunate reason, I got the urge to do Stand-Up last week. This has been something I've been planning to do for a while now, but I had trouble getting the guts to do it. After making a fool out of myself at these Second City improv shows, I figured I could handle making a fool out of myself at an open mic. So last Monday night, I went with two of my buddies Mike and Steve for a comedic night of hell.

It was Steve's first time doing stand-up, while Mike has performed at different clubs numerous times. I got to the club about an hour before the stand-up was going to start. When I first got there, I met up with Steve and said, "What the hell am I doing here?" I'm not gonna lie, I kind of wanted to get the hell out of there, at the same time I desperately wanted to get rid of my stand-up virginity. To prove to you how nervous I was, I did not have any of the $2 special Cheesburgers they had going on there. Even though it did look pretty tasty, the inner fat was in a deep coma.

To decide the order on stage, everybody writes their name onto a piece of paper and throws it into the jar. Randomly the MC will pull out the names one by one and that will be the order. I really did not like this method because I had no idea when I was going to go on. I pretty much figured with my luck that I would be picked to go first.

The place was pretty packed with around fifty people, it was time for the MC to take the stage. Boy, was my heart beating fast. There was no way in hell, that I was prepared to go first. The MC did a few bad jokes and called out the first name. And fortunately, it was not me. Whewwwww! That was a close one. Now, I can relax a little now. As I was watching the first guy perform I started to focus in on the mic. The mic was connected to a stand, but you could of course remove it if you wanted to. But, I had no idea how to handle the mic. I started to worry that if I left the mic on the stand, it would probably be to short for me. Since I am a fairly tall dude. There was a way to change the length of the mic stand by turning the knob, but there was no way I was going to stand on stage for hours trying to figure out how to do that. So then I figured I would just take the mic off the stand and hold the mic. Then I started to worry if I would be able to get the mic back on the stand when I finished. Man, the torture of being inside my head! Anyways, my plan was to take the mic of the stand and then give back to the MC when I finished. Great plan!

Two guys had performed and the MC took the stage to introduce the third guy. He starts saying how "The next performer and I go way back. We have been great friends for many years." So I'm thinking great, there is no way this is me. More time for me to think about my act and worry about the mic. Then the MC calls out my name. I was like, "Are you friggin kidding me? Already." I did consider making a quick dash to the exit door, but I quickly realized that would look pretty ridiculous. So I sucked it up and took the stage.

When I got on stage, I could barely see anything because of the glaring lights. I took the mic of the stand with no problem. Okay, great start! For some odd reason I decided to comment on the MC saying that we were friends and how that we went way back. I was just going to make one statement and then move onto my act. Almost like a little icebreaker joke. As I looked at the MC, I said "I have never met this guy in my fuckin life!." Okay, not really sure why I cussed there. For some reason, I was hoping to get a laugh or two from that. All I got was silence. Then I decided to say, "I have no idea who this fuckin guy is? This guy is filled of fuckin shit!" All I am getting are blank stares and total silence. The MC is giving me a dirty look like he ready to beat my ass. And I have no idea why I am cussing so much. I almost felt like I had a combination of Turrets Syndrome and being possessed by Red Fox at the Def Comedy Jam. I have no idea what got into me?

After a horrible and awkward start, it was time to go into my act. To keep it simple, my act was about how I have a ten year old fat kid trapped in my body. I thought it was decent material, but I had no idea how people were going to react to it. I start off by asking the question "Who here eats food?" I got a few courtesy laughs from the dumb question. Then I went straight into my act. As I am on stage, I could hear absolutely nothing. No laughing at all. So I am pretty much assuming that I am bombing pretty badly. Boy, is it a horrible feeling bombing. You feel like you are the only person left on the planet. I desperately wanted to stop my act, as I could see it was going absolutely nowhere. But I knew I had to suck it up and finished it off. After a extremely awkward and disasterful four minutes, I handed the mic to the MC and said to him, "Here's the fuckin mic. You fuckin bastard." Settle down everybody, I'm just joking about that last line. All I ready did was hand the mic to him, shook his hand, and walked off stage. Boy, was I glad that painful experience was over.

I'm out!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Schmuko + Astronauts = Bad Comedy

Alright, so this past Sunday I had another show at Second City. I'm not going to lie, I was kind of looking forward to this show. Even though my first show I made a fool out of myself with the "Your shirt looks good on my boobs and ass" comment, I still had a good time performing. With one show under my belt, I thought why not have my parents and sister come. They wanted to come to the first show, but I told them that was not a good idea. So because they would be in the audience I really wanted to put on a good show for them.

Before the show started I was friggin nervous as hell. More nervous this time, than I was for the first show. I knew the reason why I was so nervous had to be because my family was in the audience. Right then, I realized it was not a good idea to have them come. Backstage, before the show I turned to my buddy Mike and said "Is it normal to be more nervous for your second show, than your first show?" I do not remember his answer, but I'm sure he was thinking "Man, you sure are a spaz."

Anyways, it was time to go on stage and put on a funny performance. Well, at least try to. The way the show was set up, is that everybody in the class would do an improv game together at the beginning and at the end of the show. In between, each classmate would perform in one improv game. I was doing the improv game "Jeporady." I felt pretty comfortable doing this game because I was performing it with talented people and I did fairly well when we practiced it in class. In the game "Jeporady" each contestant (4 of them) is given an occupation from the audience. The host will then give the audience a category and then the audience will come up with an answer. Each contestant will then give the question to the answer, in the character of the occupation that was given to them. So lets say somebody has the occupation "baseball player." And the answer the audience gives is a straw. In a baseball player's voice the contestant would say "What is the tool I use to take streroids with." I am fully aware that this example is not funny, I just want all of you to understand this gem of a game.

So it was time to get the occupations from the audience. This was one of the reasons why I was apprehensive about doing the this game. I knew I could get screwed by the audience, if they give me some occupation that I knew nothing about and could not make funny. But I was willing to take the chance anyways. There were four contestants playing this game and I was the fourth one. The first person was given "Stripper." (Good one!) The next person was given "sewage worker." (Another good one.) The next person was given "martial artist." (Also, a good one.) So I started to think maybe I'm lucky here. These audience members are giving some pretty good suggestions here. All three of those oppcupations have strong personalities and are not too difficult to come up with characters for them. It was now Schmuko's turn to get his occupation from the audience. And I was given "Astronaut." Yes people, this is no joke. I was given "Astronaut." Mother f#cker! What the hell was I suppose to do with that?

So the game starts and each contestant is suppose to give a little intro of who they are. The stripper, sewage worker, and martial artist all give these nice little, funny intro in different character voices. So when I do my intro I just say in my natural voice "Hi my name is so and so and I am an astronaut." I vaguely remember seeing a few blank stares. But my feeling was why even attempt to be funny, if there is no possible way to be funny in this situation. The first category are things you find in a hospital. The audeince yells out the answer, "Scapel." I then began to think to myself right now, "What the hell am I going to say funny about an astronaut using a scapel." The three contestasts did a great job of coming up with good questions to the answer of "Scapel" and are getting some good laughs. Being the last contestant, you usually are supposed to give the biggest punchlines. Boy, was I out of the place! Struggling for an answer, I then said (Hold on to your seats and get ready to burst out in laughter folks!) "What is the tool I use in space to eat my cheerios with." Not surprisingly, I did not get any laughs with this shitty line. As the game went on, I of course continued to struggle with the "Astronaut" character. So I see no reason to share with you what I said and I'm sure you get the point anyways.

After the show, I greeted the fam by holding my finger in the shape of a gun to my head. (You see, I'm getting better with my object work.) They of course gave me some positive comments and understood that I was kind of put in a tough situation. One thing they mentioned was that I never smiled once on stage and that I need to loosen up. My mom went as far to say that I looked "constipated" on stage. Well, I better get a new facial expression if I ever plan to get any improv groupies in the future. I'm pretty sure that the "I got to drop a duece look," is not that appealing for the ladies out there.

In conclusion I have learned two very important things from my two perofrmances at Second City.
1. "The shirt looks good on my boobs and ass," is not funny.
2. Me playing an astronaut is uncomfortable to watch and may give you gas.

I'm out!