I performed standup again last night.
Michael and I went to a new club, which made me happy for two reasons. One, it meant I could do the same material again, which was good since I hadn’t worked up any new material. And two, there was apparently an on-stage depantsing at the old club this weekend (a rambunctious and drunk member of the audience administered a full-frontal humiliation to one of the comics in the middle of his set), and I was scared to go back. I don’t like to show my wiener in public, even if that is my best shot at getting a laugh. (Rimshot, please.)
When we got to the new place, we learned that signup occurs by a lottery, which meant that even though we’d arrived over an hour early, we might be the last ones to go on, if we got a slot at all. Michael did pretty well in the lottery, so he got to go up sixth, which meant a fairly short wait. By the time my name got called, every signup slot was filled up to #14, which I could be waiting almost two hours to go on.
But amazingly, the first slot was still open. People were avoiding it like SARS (have we updated that cliche in light of recent world events? Well, we should.) Brave or stupid (but mostly just not wanting to hang out there all night), I went for it. At a new club I had never been to, I was going to be the first comic of the night.
I was extremely nervous when I got called to kick off the show, but I got up and tried to make the best of it. “This is my first time here,” I said. “This is a karaoke bar, right?” Then I sang, “At first I was afraid, I was petrified!” If you’re not laughing right now, you know how the audience felt last night.
The crowd was very cliquey. Most of them appeared to be regulars, familiar with the club’s procedures and with the other comics waiting to go on. There were a couple of nice, supportive people who laughed a lot at my jokes, and I made sure to laugh when they went up later on. (It’s so petty. I also try to remember who DOESN’T laugh at me, so I can cross my arms and stare blankly at them when it’s their turn. Ha, ha!)
Overall, it went okay. Definitely better than the first time. I mean, people actually laughed — that’s an improvement, right? But they didn’t laugh a lot, which is the way I always picture it when I’m rehearsing in front of the mirror at home.
I waited around after my set for Michael to go on, and the crowd warmed up considerably as the night went on. There was a lot more laughter for the later comics than I got. To be honest, the people at this club were actually pretty talented. MUCH better than the comics at the depantsing place. I may have been out of my league.
But next time, just to make sure, I’m going to avoid that first slot.
I’ll let some newbie take it.