Classic Post #5: My first time doing Stand-Up

[Nine years ago I performed at a comedy show and it went very poorly. I was mortified. I hadn’t prepared much but I thought I could wing it. POOR DECISION! I don’t regret it though because it was a valuable lesson. I would love to do it again and actually prepare. Most names have been reduced to a single letter for censorship reasons. ]

Reading, Cassettes, and My comedy show

Mar. 16th, 2010 | 07:53 pm
I’m feeling: amused

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. I’d like to say I’ve been busy. Which I have been, but that hasn’t stopped me before. It’s mostly been that I haven’t really felt the need to write about anything at all. Also the fact that I haven’t gotten my fingers on the laptop in a while, and I love that sound. The sound of that keyboard is enough to keep me typing. Even if it’s nonsensical.

I was sitting on the toilet today (the office, as I call it.) when I was struck by a great idea for a blog (most ideas happen in the restroom.) Then as I thought about it there were a few things I wanted to talk about. I doubt I’ll remember them all, but at least I remember what inspired me.

So I’ve been reading a lot lately. I don’t know why, and I actually kinda like it. I find myself often ignoring the problems I have and diving head-first into a book. It’s more of a journey than a movie. You get more involved with the characters and a book lasts longer than two hours. (A real book anyway.) and I’ve been SORTA reading for about a month, but the past week I’ve been hardcore reading. I finished three books this week. Alice’s adventures in Wonderland, Un-dateable, The Book of Useless Information. They were all good. I like books, and I like my Hudson Booksellers because it’s neat and clean and Veronica is sort of my book girl. She always steers me in the right direction. With her and D as friends I’ll never miss out on a good book.

So I saw this book in the bookstore a while ago called THIRTEEN REASONS WHY and I kinda wanted to read it, and I eyeballed it for a long time. But I never really picked it up. Well I finally bought it. It’s about a young girl who commits suicide, and via video cassettes she leaves clues, and gives thirteen reasons why she decided to kill herself. And as I started reading it today (Already on page 105 =) ) Well it made me remember something from my past.

I was about 9 years old or so, it was the era in my life when I used to spend every single weekend I could over my aunts house in Revere. It was a very quiet area, with not much to do. I had no video games there. Only a few of my toys and stuff. It was a very boring place for the most part. I still enjoyed being there, but none the less I liked staying there. Well one day I was complaining about how bored I was, and sighing and just being an annoying 9 year old. She suggested a bunch of stuff and I denied each of them, telling her no they weren’t good enough. Or saying sarcastic things like “I’m trying to DECREASE my boredom.” When she was struck by a great idea.
“I’ll be right back” was all she said. She went upstairs and was gone for a few minutes. She came back down with a small dusty old Cassette player/radio. Not too dusty, but dusty enough where you knew it wasn’t used often. She put a blank tape in front of me as well. And told me that I could hit the record button, and make my own tape.

I opened up the new cassette and I loved that smell of new plastic. I popped the tape in the cassette player and hit record, and just started talking. Pretended I was on the radio. I said a few things, hit stop. Re-winded, and listened. I loved it! It was amazing. I did all kinds of things on that tape. I sang songs, I did funny voices, I told jokes, I read books, I did all kinds of things. I went upstairs in the hallway and sang Christmas songs, then sat at the table in the kitchen and told jokes. Even when I came back home in East Boston I kept recording things. I really think those old recordings got me into being funny. I found myself entertaining and I practiced new voices and new jokes. And then when I filled up one tape I’d buy another. My aunt bought me a pack of blank cassettes. I can’t help but feel that somewhere in this house those cassettes are laying around. With me as a child, and I’d love to find them. I’m just not sure of where to look. The basement? My aunts house? I don’t even know where that cassette player itself is anymore. But man were they some good times.

Speaking of good times, let’s talk about my comedy show shall we. So I was very nervous and a little excited about it. It was Friday the 12th and it was at the Hilton Hotel. Very classy stuff. A part of me wanted to back out and I would have too, but I’d already made such a big deal out of it. My boss K was going to go, and that meant a lot to me. She doesn’t usually like to go to events like that anymore. But she wanted to go for me. I actually have a lot I’d like to say about K, but I”ll save that for another blog.

Anyway, I even made the whole FACEBOOK event and invited like 60 people. From 60 it became 30, from 30 it became 19, and of the 19 only 5 showed up. In a way I’m glad, because the event wasn’t as amazing as I had hoped. It was a $35 charity dinner for the Logan Association. The food was quite shitty. The chicken dry, the vegetables flavorless but I was with some friends I hadn’t seen in forever. My best friend T of 21 years, our friend N, D whom I haven’t spoken to in person since the 5th grade, and later we were joined my M and P. We had so much fun reliving the past and talking about memories. Things I wonder HOW COULD I HAVE FORGOTTEN that all came flooding back. We talked and laughed and had a good time. They all got along with K great, and in turn K enjoyed their company as well. It was fun in that term.

Then once the actual dinner started we went to sit at our designated seats. We were separated from K, but everyone else was at my table. A table that was reserved as L B, how delightful. I had a couple of drinks to loosen up, I knew the line-up. Three actual comedians followed by me. I should have gone first in my opinion as the amateur and since I only had about 10 minutes of material. I didn’t practice practice, but I made a list of things I wanted to talk about. Coffee, drugs, McDonald’s, friends. We went through dinner and the comedians were funny, and it was getting late. Mind you I’d been up since 3am that morning. And instead of ending at 9pm everything started at 9pm. So it was getting on in hours, I was tired, nervous, and a little upset. I kept going over in my head what I wanted to say so I wouldn’t freeze.

The first comedian was decent, made a lot of local jokes and airport jokes, got over real well. My friends were like “You’ll be better”

The second comedian came up and he kinda sucked, I won’t lie. I would have loved to go on after him. It would have been nice. But I didn’t.

The third comedian came in, and he was LOL funny. He had us in stitches almost the whole time it was up there. He was great. And he finished and all I could thing was “Fuck, I’ve got to follow that? I’m leaving.”

The MC got on stage and was like “Thanks for coming everybody, now I’m gonna hand it over to the DJ have a great night.” and for a second I was relieved, maybe I wouldn’t have to go on. I could chock it up as a loss and let it go, but R (one of the Logan Association and the man who gave me this opportunity) stood up and said “Bobby! You forgot him!” and pointed at me. The MC kinda looked in my direction confused and then remembered.

“Oh yeah, ladies and gentleman we’ve got a special guest this evening. Making his debut in stand up comedy. Mr.G”
“MR.D!!! I yelled”
“Oh yeah, Mr.D”

So I stood up and I walked up to the stage, everyone was clapping. I felt cheap and I felt stupid (hey just my feelings, I’m being honest.) And I walked up there and I felt OK at first.

“Boy, when they asked what to put my table under I said ‘You’ll never spell my name right just put it under L D’ and they spelled THAT wrong. My table is under L B, and he introduced me as Mr.G, let’s go through the alphabet shall we?” and I got a little chuckle from around the room. Then I dove into my material about coffee, and I didn’t get as big a laugh as I expected and I started really getting nervous. I could hear it in my voice, my head was moving around erratically. I was bombing in front of 120 people and I knew it. There’s nothing I could do. Suddenly everything I wrote down was fading away.I compared some coffee to an abortion and there was a huge GASP from some of the geriatrics, and I really lost my mental footing. I got a couple of chuckles nothing too big. But I was freaking out, I wanted to be funny. I wanted to be the same L I am everywhere else and I couldn’t I don’t know why I was so scared. It wasn’t that many people, but I freaked. I just wanted to get off. I couldn’t remember anything I’d written down so I told a story about setting off an alarm at work. And that was it. I’d only been up there for about 4 minutes but I didn’t know what to do so I said “Thank you for this opportunity and good night.” I put the mike back on the stand and walked off stage. My friends were all clapping. One of the women who gasped at the abortion thing said “You did a really good job sweety”

I sat down and wanted to die. I never wanted to see any of those work people again. I knew they’d all say the same thing “You did good.” or “It wasn’t bad” and I knew they would. They wouldn’t have said “Gee L you sure did suck” but I was up there, I heard myself, I knew I sucked. Part of me wishes I could have done it again, I’d be ready. Part of me never wants to do it again. K came over, and I gave her a hug. She was a comfort for me. Having her there made me feel good. I hugged her and I felt better. But I still was mortified, I felt like I’d really embarrassed myself. I was so glad I wasn’t associated with the company when I would have felt embarrassed for them too. Like “Yep, that’s our little fuck-up up there. Our little golden boy got tarnished. He sucks on stage, but you should see him ring up some gum.”

That’s how I felt. I know I’m funny, I don’t think I’m not funny. It’s not a confidence thing. It’s just how I felt. I’ll never really be able to do stand-up. In my mind, I was ready, I was prepared. Up there, I shrunk. I was two inches tall in a world of giants. I”m always on my feet, always able to make anyone laugh no matter what’s wrong with them. I don’t know why I froze like that. But I did, and it really made me feel like shit.

My regional manager told me I did a good job, I don’t want to talk to him.
I’m avoiding any conversations about the show at work.
I’m glad no one videotaped it. (As far as I know)

They kept saying “Just the fact that you went up there took a lot of balls, I’d never have been able to do that. Not for a speech or presentation or anything.” which to me translated as “You weren’t funny at all, but you’re brave….sorta”
I went into this thinking it would be great for me. But all I learned was I’m not ready for that either. I really appreciate M, E, and R for giving me the opportunity to do that. I really appreciate K, T, N, D, P, and M for being there for me. And I really appreciate my other friends for supporting me and giving me confidence… but I totally bombed. End of story.

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