Recently, I was enjoying the fantastic film Parenthood when it dawned on me, as soon as the music of Randy Newman came on, a giant smile appeared on my face. Yes, Newman is a brilliant composer and songwriter and wit, but also, he creates music that is pleasant. That might not sound like much of a compliment, but in a world of auto-tune and Train, it is.
It was this moment that made me come up with a new theory, The Randy Newman Effect, which states that you can take any scenario, no matter how boring, and with Newman’s music, it suddenly gets better. Check this video out of me putting my theory to the test:
There’s a great clip out there right now that is so great, I didn’t think it was real. But apparently, the footage of the woman berating a man on an NYC subway for flashing her is legit.
I applaud the camera man and especially the woman. As people, we tend to be passive-aggressive when it comes to rude public behavior. How many times have you just nodded your head in disgust or waited for the culprit to leave before going off on how despicable they are? We need to start speaking up and I can’t think of a better time to do so than when someone exposes their genitals.
When I saw this, it reminded me of a column I wrote for my college paper in regards to our own problem with a flasher. Note the outdated reference to Olympian Michael Johnson.
Catching a Naked Man
October 31, 2001
Recently, there have been reports of a man exposing himself on campus and then feeling the scene- a good old-fashioned flasher.
Supposedly, security has spotted me ( I mean John Doe) showing brain on more than one occasion, but have been unable to catch him. With all due respect to our security force (they are, after all, the very definition of professionalism) how do you not catch a flasher? How do you let a naked man outrun you?
I don’t care if you’re Michael Johnson, do you understand the difficulties a naked man endures when attempting to run? First, you’ve got your man junk bouncing around like a car flying down Olney Avenue. There’s absolutely no support going on down there. Plus, that smacking sound can be very distracting to someone on the run.
How about the fears of the flasher? What if he falls sac forward on the cement? I don’t care if J-Lo herself is doing the application, I don’t want Neosporin anywhere near that area.
When he runs into the woods, what about the risk of getting caught in some thorns or shrubbery? Or what if in mid-run the guy attempts a moving zip and there’s an incident? Have you ever heard a Wookie get shot?
These factors alone should help security keep up with the naked man. But let’s just say for giggles the guy does get out of your sight. Is the detective work really going to be that strenuous? Ask around, chances are an eyewitness will remember if they saw a guy running around with his bag hanging out.
Or, how about a stake out? Apparently, the flasher has been spotted doing his dance at the sidewalk by the tennis courts. One of our guys should be out there like a sniper with one of those machines the tennis team practices with, balls for balls. That will stop him.
If all else fails, I think Director of Security Bob Levins should take matters into his own hands. That’s right, sir, break out the long overcoat, fedora and sunglasses and go undercover. Get in deep with the flasher. Find out what makes him tick. Become his confidante. And then, just as he trusts you completely and allows you into his world, bring him down.
Once you have the culprit, he needs to be rehabilitated. I don’t think jail is the answer. Instead, throw him into the Schuylkill River first thing in the morning, drag him down to the main quad and have him flash the entire student body. Then, line every female up to individually point their finger and laugh at him.
The flasher will flash no more, I guarantee it.
Jul 30 : @ Boys & Girls Club, Greenwich, Connecticut
9-10pm: Mel Gibson announces The Apology: Summer 2010 Mel Gibson Apology Tour via live 1-hour interview w/ Jim Grey
Aug 2 : @ Oprah
4:02-4:10pm: Oprah gazes at Mel Gibson
4:11pm: Difficult for Oprah to talk to Mel Gibson because she really feels duped. Oprah feels duped
4:12-4:20pm: On recently released tape, Oprah says, Mel Gibson calls Oksana Grigorieva “a fucking whore” who Mel Gibson “owns.” Mel Gibson allegedly punched Oksana while she held their baby
4:35pm: Out of nowhere, Dr. Phil appears next to Mel Gibson on couch
4:46pm: Oprah wants to know, what is source of all this anger, this rage … Mel Gibson’s alcoholism?
4:47pm: You don’t need a bottle of Jack to take a big ole swim in Lake Jackass, says Dr. Phil
4:50pm: Mel Gibson tells Oprah doctors diagnosed him w/ advanced XXXX Disorder/Syndrome [still awaiting acceptable diagnosis. Remaining candidates include: Acute Stress, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, Male Menopause]
Aug 4 : @ Lance Bass’s House
12:45pm: Lance Bass basically only person had picture taken w/ Mel Gibson @ Edge of Darkness premiere. Mel Gibson will never forget
12:50pm: Alrighty then. See you around, maybe
Aug 5 : @ Danny Glover’s House
10am: Mel Gibson declares profound sorrow at having made Danny Glover feel bad about himself for ever having liked Mel Gibson for even one second
10:10am: By “Danny Glover” Mel Gibson also means “America”
10:11am: …and “Australia”
10:12am: …and “most people who like watching movies in English”
10:45am: That scene in Lethal Weapon 2 w/ Danny Glover sitting on toilet bomb? Where Danny Glover tells Mel Gibson he loves him w/o actually saying it, and then they cleverly jump in the bathtub together, then everything blows up, and then toilet that had bomb strapped to it lands on car across street in one piece? Mel Gibson knows was only acting, but felt real love right then
Aug 7 : @ Tina Turner’s Studio
3pm: Mel Gibson tells Tina Turner that Mel Gibson never meant go this far beyond Thunderdome
3:08pm: But how the world turns, says Tina Turner. One day, cock of the walk. Next, a feather duster
Aug 12 : @ Grave of William Wallace, Scotland
6pm: Mel Gibson upset w/ shoddy craftsmanship of fake William Wallace monument
7pm: Mel Gibson calms following few drinks
9pm: Mel Gibson un-calms following more drinks
4:20am: In weird way, ghost of William Wallace kind of enjoyed watching whole thing unravel
Aug 17 : @ Robyn Gibson’s House
10:38pm: Mel Gibson wants to see Mel Gibson’s 19 children, apologize to them
10:39pm: Okay, fine, 7 children
Aug 19 : @ 2010 Apology Pancake Breakfast w/ cast of What Women Want
7:30am-12:30pm: Pancakes et al. served
11:34am: Marisa Tomei’s agent texts to say Marisa Tomei not coming
11:37am: Bette Midler’s agent: ditto
11:39am: Helen Hunt’s agent: ditto times 2
11:42am: Delta Burke’s agent: ditto times 3
11:43am: Et tu, Delta? cries Mel Gibson
11:50-11:53am: Alan Alda arrives, doesn’t see friends, leaves
12:28pm: Mel Gibson proceeds w/ announcement of top-secret screenplays in works for subsequent installments in WWW franchise:
- Part II: What Women Still Want
- Part III: What Women Never Wanted In The First Place
- Part IV: What Women Want Again
Aug 21 : @ Joe Jonas’s House
7pm: Joe Jonas almost only person had picture taken w/ Mel Gibson @ Edge of Darkness premiere
7:03pm: Mel Gibson won’t forget that, at least not before whole world has forgotten Joe Jonas
Aug 24 : @ Jet Li’s Offices
2pm: Mel Gibson apologizes to Jet Li in anticipation of offensive things Mel Gibson will soon say about Chinese people
2:04pm: Jet Li super confused
2:05pm: Mel Gibson explains new Regret It Forward method recommended by therapist
Aug 25 : @ Jodie Foster’s House
6pm: Mel Gibson apologizes for ensuring The Beaver never gets released
6:12pm: Jodie Foster is basically Mel Gibson’s favorite Jew in the whole world
6:14pm: Whaaa-at??? Jodie Foster is Atheist Lesbian? Mel Gibson bemused, sad
Aug 31 : @ Heaven’s Door
7-9:59am: Mel Gibson knock-knock-knocking
10am: Mel Gibson agrees w/ self – knocking for anything more than 3 hours could be seen as harassment
10:10am: Mel Gibson on knees, shouts to Jesus through keyhole. Very sorry. Apologies to Jesus for:
- Being bit of douche
- Being lot of racist
- Lethal Weapon 4
- Lethal Weapon 3 also
- Not treating body as temple
- The Patriot, aka A Community Theater Production of Braveheart
- Being shitty husband
- Being shitty infidel
- Making 610 million pieces of silver off movie about His death
I stumbled upon some brain teasers today and as usual, I went deep into thought to find the answers. Then I realized that brain teasers are no more than a way to distract us from life’s problems and that I’ve had enough. So instead of putting real time into it, here are some real answers to some ridiculous questions.
1. There is a man who lives on the top floor of a very tall building. Everyday he gets the elevator down to the ground floor to leave the building to go to work. Upon returning from work though, he can only travel half way up in the lift and has to walk the rest of the way unless it’s raining! Why?
Because the guy that owns the building is a real slum lord and hasn’t fixed the elevator despite numerous complaints from tenants. On rainy days he doesn’t even bother going to his place and instead crashes on the couches of sympathetic co-workers.
2. A man and his son are in a car accident. The father dies on the scene, but the child is rushed to the hospital. When he arrives the surgeon says, “I can’t operate on this boy, he is my son!” How can this be?
As we learned on The Cosby Show, the surgeon is a woman and thus the mother of the boy, making us all sexist pigs who can’t believe a woman could be a surgeon. But let’s turn it back on Bill Cosby and whatever jerk came up with this. Actually, the surgeon is Dr. Stephen Lapidus, the legally recognized by the state of New Hampshire” partner of Ned Lapidus, the man who died at the scene of the accident. They adopted an infant boy from Korea named Chin Ho, though by the time he got on U.S. soil they changed his name to Bob (the logic being that a Korean boy with gay, white parents with the last name Lapidus would have a rough enough childhood). On a separate note, why would they have even mentioned this on The Cosby Show? Cliff should be talking about orange soda and hoagies not widowed surgeons.
3. A man is wearing black. Black shoes, socks, trousers, coat, gloves and ski mask. He is walking down a back street with all the street lamps off. A black car is coming towards him with its light off but somehow manages to stop in time. How did the driver see the man?
There was no driver. The black car is K.I.T. and the man in black and ski mask is a very inebriated David Hasselhoff. See, once he decided to leave America’s Got Talent for better opportunities, he soon realized there were none and then started hitting the bottle harder than ever. The money dried up before he did so “The Hoff” took to knocking off liquor stores. K.I.T. being the enabler that he or it is, was the getaway driver. The incident in question was actually “The Hoff” and K.I.T. robbing a toy store in the early morning hours of December 24th, thus destroying Christmas and the innocence of an entire community of children.
4. One day Kerry celebrated her birthday. Two days later her older twin brother, Terry, celebrated his birthday. How?
Because in the real world, not everyone can celebrate their birthday on the actual day. You know what I did this past birthday? I poured drinks at a shitty hotel bar in Manhattan for customers that included a depressed housewife from Michigan and some insurance salesman from Madison, WI who kept telling me that I should write his life story, that it would make us all millionaires. You call that a celebration?
5. A man died and went to Heaven. There were thousands of other people there. They were all naked and all looked as they did at the age of 21. He looked around to see if there was anyone he recognized. He saw a couple and he knew immediately that they were Adam and Eve. How did he know?
Because they were the only prudes wearing fig leaves, a look that surprisingly never caught on. If that didn’t give it away then the apple certainly did, which is considered contraband up there.
6. A woman had two sons who were born on the same hour of the same day of the same year. But they were not twins. How could this be so?
This could be so because the woman had two vajayjays and even if you’re born at the same time from the same woman, you can’t be twins if it’s from different vajayjays.
Answer #@: Son #1 was born on January 5th and then as soon as she could, mommy started banging away, got knocked up and out came son #2 on October 5th. Mommy likes the sex.
7. A woman shoots her husband. Then she holds him under water for over 5 minutes. Finally, she hangs him. But 5 minutes later they both go out together and enjoy a wonderful dinner together. How can this be?
I don’t know, but they’re into some weird shit and these brain teasers have taken a weird turn.
(SCROLL DOWN BELOW FOR VIDEO EVIDENCE!)
It was 10 minutes into my first editorial meeting at Nerve and I had yet to say a word. I kept wanting to say something even remotely interesting and I had nothing. Finally, when someone mentioned the Nerve Made Me Do It feature,which is basically double dare for writers, I could at least feel the wheels turning. Eventually, it came to me: stand up comedy. I have long been fascinated with the art for the simple fact that it takes such balls. As much as I respect musicians, if you’re in a band and flub a note, at least you have a bunch of guys to cover your ass. In stand up, you’re on your own. If you’re brilliant, it’s all you. But if you stink, it’s all you. Either way, it’s the ultimate drama. Finally opening my mouth, I suggested that we take a writer and give him/her 2 weeks to come up with a five minute act and perform it at a real comedy club in New York City, the mecca for stand up. Everyone loved my idea. There was just one problem, they wanted not only for me to write it, not only did they want to go see the “performance” but they wanted to tape it and post it for the world to see! It’s moments like these that I wish I would see the whole picture. Why couldn’t I have pitched something easy, like a “Nerve Made Me Use The Pythagorean Theorem To Get Laid.” My voice and head nod said yes, but inside, the panic and fear of getting in front of an audience, was pushing me towards no. Plus, my stomach was in knots and making repulsive noises. Still, there was no turning back. In two weeks, I would be taking a comedy stage somewhere in New York and show Nerve, the world wide web and myself what the hell I was made of.
2 weeks to go
First though, what was I going to do? Where does one start? How do you take what you think is a funny idea and translate that to a live and hopefully drunk audience? As with most things I’ve learned about in life, I decided to go to my favorite teacher, pop culture. At the very least, I could steal some material. I selected three sources of information. Comedian, the 2002 documentary that follows Jerry Seinfeld’s quest to hone an entire new act after retiring his old one in 1998, Funny People, Judd Apatow’s movie about comedians and love and the book I killed, a collection of stories from comics about the road. The common link between the three is on a good day, the joy that the subjects got out of stand up.
There was just one thing I failed to mention during my all star pitch session: I actually have done stand up comedy. Off and on for nearly ten years, I’ve taken stabs at my dream of being a comedian. But one tiny little thing occasionally gets in the way: I suffer from stage fright. It seems to be the pressure that I have the problem with. I am constantly writing down witty things and in a relaxed situation I say them but in the moments that I am challenged my pulse races, it feels like my stomach is stuck in my throat and I get disgustingly sweaty. At my best friend’s wedding, when it was my turn to give the best man’s speech I did about a minute of killer stuff and then I BOMBED. The speech I wrote out was brilliant, a nice mixture of funny and reflective, full of great memories and top shelf one liners. But at the first sound of clanging dishes from the tables and I started speaking fast and my hands shook so much that the groom had to put his arms around me mid speech. Worse, the a-hole editor cut in footage of my shaky hands on the wedding video. The thought of my bombing in front of an audience I know pops into my head when thinking of doing five minutes in front strangers paying to see comedy.
As if doing the gig isn’t hard enough, I actually have to book it too. This is the equivalent of when the mafia makes a guy dig his own grave before they off him. I must be a sadist. Where will I perform? Years ago, I did a new talent night that went sort of well at Comic Strip Live on the Upper East Side. Seinfeld and Chris Rock both got their start here. That’s good enough for me. I call up DF Sweeney, who runs comedy classes out of the club and who books shows there. I think he thinks I’m out of my mind, but he says I’m in.
Eleven Days To Go
Regardless, I’ve made the commitment so now I have to actually write jokes. I sat at my desk and did what any inspiring comedian should do: got drunk and watched some weird YouTube videos. Somewhere in the middle of an old Prince video I got woozy and fell asleep.
8 Days To Go
Three days later, I got back to work… only to watch more videos.
7 Days To Go
Finally, the next day, I sat down on my computer, put on some music and just started thinking. What don’t I like in comedy? Hacky shit. Things don’t come off as sincere or from a real place. I like comedy that feels like there’s a truth in the joke. Then I am going to have to reveal some of my truths to make this work. What am I? Who am I? What is going on in my life and what is funny about any of this? For the first time, I am going after what I really want to do but doing so at a rather late age. Which means I am starting over. Which means I am no longer making the money I have been accustomed to. Every day, I pick through almost every job section of Craig’s List, looking for anything that will help pay the bills, whether it be for a day, a week, a month or longer. Some of those jobs are for bartending, others are manual labor. As the days have turned into weeks have turned into months and I still don’t have steady income, I seem to get more and more desperate. I can definitely do a joke about how I am getting so poor I am considering doing things for cash I never would have thought of. But manual labor won’t cut it, it’s got to be something sexual and possibly vulgar.
I’m so poor, I saw an ad on Craig’s List last week where this guy would give me 20 bucks to jerk off on his feet and I went (shrug and make face). It’s not like it’s the face. That would be weird.
20 seconds down, 4 minutes and 40 seconds to go. I’ve got nothing left. I’ll just watch Comedian again.
6 Days To Go
It’s the next day at work and my boss wants me to practice in front of a couple of the people from the office. I struggle to tell the joke from last night. Silence.
5 Days To Go
It’s less than a week until showtime and I’ve got one joke down. I definitely need to get to work. This is when I remember my friend once telling me that my tales of misfortune are always amusing. Sitting in front the computer is just not cutting it so I decide to put on Nas’ Illmatic on the ol’ iPod and take a stroll. I figured the cold December night along with some Nasty Nas would be a good searching tool for finding the funny. Listening to the lyrics, I started thinking of racial intolerance. Intolerance. As a white dude from the suburbs of Jersey, I’ve never been much of a victim of racial intolerance. But I do suffer from lactose intolerance. It’s crippling, I am constantly in discomfort. I think it would be funny if I did a joke fantasizing about racist people suffering from the same symptoms as people who are allergic to lactose. Like what if a racist guy shit himself whenever he saw a black guy. Or farted at the mention of a Jew. I like this.
Not bad. Keep it moving. A while back, one of the times I was thinking about actually doing this, I wrote a joke about my hairiness:
I come from a long line of hairy people. You know that famous evolution chart? My grandfather’s second from left.
Not great, but not terrible. Still need more. What else? I’ve been thinking about my my mother writing the family Christmas newsletter and when you read it, it’s clear that I am the loser out of all the kids. Better. What else I was a bed wetter off and on until I was 16. There’s gotta be something there. It was humiliating. The regular every day things that most people don’t even give a second thought to, I would have to plan out carefully. Like when I got a new mattress at the age of 10, my mother told the delivery men not to worry about removing the plastic. The plastic stayed on there until my sophomore or junior year of high school. I cannot tell you the humiliation of having to come up with an excuse when a friend would come up to my room to play video games, only to hear the sound of plastic rustling. I had a brief experience with an old girlfriend in this situation and it was horrible.
You guys wanna hear a secret? I pissed the bed until I was a teenager. It was awful- there was no good remedy. You know how when you get a new mattress it comes in that plastic wrap? I always had that! It only got worse as I would take girls up to my room. On the miraculous occasions that I would get them on my bed we’d be making out and hear (SOUND OF PLASTIC RUFFLING) “What’s that?” “The sound of me pleasuring you.”
My parents were always trying to figure out a solution and of course they were, my bed wetting was a horrible thing. But the solutions were terrible too. Once, my father took me to the doctor and the guy just started yelling at me. He just took a look at me and essentially said, “Cut the shit.” Another time my dad ordered this giant machine that literally looked like a car battery and it connected to this wee wee pad through these black and red wires. I don’t recall second guessing my parents, I just went with it. I do remember the first time I wet my bed while being connected to this thing. It didn’t stop the accident from happening and it didn’t shock me as to say, “this is what happens when you wet yourself.” Instead, a buzzing alarm went off to wake me up and let me know what happened. By the time I came to, my parents were already summoned to the scene and were about to change the sheets for me, while I was asleep under them. To this day, it was one of the most humiliating things I have ever endured.
The worst one was my dad special ordered this giant appliance it had volt meters on it, it looked like a damn car battery and it would hook up to a wee wee pad with all of these red and black wires. For all I know my parents were trying to blow me up. “Our laundry bill is threw the roof!” (BOMB NOISE) The thing with this machine is it wouldn’t do anything to prevent an actual accident. No, instead it would wait for you to piss, THEN it would make noises to let you and the entire house know what you had done. I wouldn’t even say it made alarm noises. It was more like a taunt. EHHHHHH. EHHHHHH. YOU’RE A LOSER. YOU PISS THE BED. YOU’RE GONNA BE POOR AT 30, YOU PISS THE BED EHHHHHHH.
Not sure if this is enough for five minutes but it’s definitely a good start or at the very least, better than where I was the day before. A good test would be my friend Sean Bradley, who has written monologue jokes for my hero, Dave Letterman. Hanging out in my kitchen, after about ten cocktails, I made my move. Sean was excited to hear what I had and suddenly, I was more nervous than having that girl on my bed of plastic. At least I knew Sean would give me his honest opinion but do it in as nice a way as possible. I did my routine and it went better than expected. I still stumbled on the material but sold it well enough that Sean bought it. After even more drinks I made a random comment:
I am sick of fat people who are overly critical of professional athletes. Who are they to judge? They’re fat!
Sean tells me I have something, I told him I was just venting. I agree to put it in somehow.
6 hours to go
Day of my show and holy &*(&) %^*^ I am not ready! What was I thinking? I should have written more and spent some time memorizing. I am going to bomb on stage and the post traumatic stress of it will prevent me from ever speaking in public again, let alone show up to the office tomorrow. I know it won’t be the end of the world but everyone will be really sympathetic and overly nice and in many ways that is a hundred times worse than being deliberately mean. And why did I have to make such a production out of this? If I was so eager to do stand up again, I should have just done it quietly, on my own. I’m always making a production out of things. Stupid. I’ve got to get this to a better place before tonight. I print out my notes and, prop them onto my bathroom counter top and start reciting jokes while staring in front of the mirror. I don’t see a comedian as much as I see a goofy looking guy who may or may not say funny things. I also see food stains on my shirt. If my girlfriend comes home or the neighbors can hear me, I’m going to come across as a mental patient. After spending two minutes on how I would say “hi” to the the crowd, I got down to the nitty gritty. The Craig’s List bit is going to be good, I can tell. Or I think I can tell. I’ll be able to sell it hard because I am poor and I am contemplating ways of making money that I’ve never thought of before. But what to do next. I don’t want to jump from the Craig’s list bit to lactose intolerance. I think I should bridge it with more material on being poor and my career moves. Okay, quickly, quickly:
I used to make a good living as a reality television producer but decided to drop everything. To be an intern. At a website. At 30. It’s okay though, I know what I’m doing. I’m going to do this writing thing until I find some success and then I will leave it all to be a jizz mopper at Peep World.
I can live with that, I guess. So I have Craig’s List, TV to jizz mopper, I should do the family Christmas newsletter then go right into lactose intolerance.
I was fine with my station in life until now, the holidays. It’s all because of my mother’s family Xmas newsletter which lists all of the accomplishments of the people in your family so you can basically see how awful you’re doing in life. My mom first writes about my step-brother Jason and his wife Michele, who just had a baby and bought a house. Then, she writes about my brother Rick, who just got engaged to his girlfriend Christina. Then, you’d think she go right to me, the other son but she doesn’t. Instead she lists starts listing these other little things like: Mike and I just put in shelving. I’m off the dairy. Oh yeah and Greg, he’s a 30-year-old intern. And not the doctor kind.
I think I have a set! But I definitely need to re-write the set list out with buzzwords to help me really memorize:
TV to Jizz Mopper
Family Xmas Newsletter
Lactose Intolerance Vs Racial Intolerance
This is easily the weirdest collection of words I’ve ever written down. I put my headphones on and listen to the Day of Reckoning play list I made just for today, and then head on in to the city.
3 hours to go
With time to kill and material I still need to get comfortable with, I decide to get off at 9th street at 6th Ave and walk to the club, which is all the way at 81st and 2nd Ave. This is a ridiculously long walk normally, throw in me mouthing the words jizz mopper over and over again and it’s a damn journey.
1 hour, 27 minutes to go…
Somewhere around 57th and Madison I have a mini meltdown. I don’t know what else to do but call Sean. He’ll know what to do. Miraculously, Sean picks up and we go over my set. This might be the smartest thing I’ve done all day. We decide that the Peep World thing isn’t really working and I’m just using it so I can say jizz mopper in front of a paying audience. I’ll change it up. Sean validates my inner fears about the hairiness joke being too hacky so I decide to drop it all together. Other than that Sean tells me this is some good shit and that I can do this. Thanks Sean.
I make my changes and then, with about 12 blocks to go, put the headphones back on and go back to my own world. For some reason, I keep playing Jay Z’s Empire State of Mind on a loop because it makes me feel like I can do anything. I come to the understanding that I might be the lamest person ever.
35 minutes to go…
Arriving at the club, DF sees me and is not happy. It’s 6pm, showtime, and not one of the twenty people I promised had yet arrived. Instead of focusing on my set, I frantically make phone calls.
30 minutes to go…
Once everything is settled, DF ushers me into the comedian’s area of the club, a perch that overlooks the audience of mere mortals. I feel cool. I talk to the other comedians for a few minutes but decide I need to look at my set list, which is a crumbled mess from my sweaty hands. I’m starting to feel a little out of my element.
22 minutes to go…
Showtime! My heart rate is steadily rising. Someone asks if I want a drink, I can’t even do that. I start to get nervous again. My co-workers will see what a fraud I am. I’ll show up to work in the morning and nobody will make eye contact. It’s after this last thought that I realize this thinking will drive me crazy and is not going to help me get through my five minutes. I decide to stop the bullshit and as my brother always says, sac up. Speaking of five minutes, one of the comic’s five has somehow become about a 12 minute set. DF is pissed.
3 minutes to go…
DF does everything but throw a shoe at him and the guy finally gets off stage. I am then ushered to right behind the stage as I am next. DF tells me that thanks to the chatty comic, Mike the emcee will stand at the side of the stage after four minutes and then I’ll know I have 60 seconds to wrap it up. As I make a note to thank the gentleman before me, I hear…
“Ladies and Gentleman, please welcome to the stage, Greg DeLucia!
I push through the door and it’s one of classic moments you see in the movies in that everything is in slow mo. My heart, my movement and the crowd. My worst fear is almost realized when instead of using the stepping stool to get get to the elevated stage, I just jump right onto it, like an animal. After not tripping, I grab the mic and that’s when I feel it. Somehow, this sense of power and confidence shot from the mic, through the wire and right into me. Not to say I wasn’t nervous, but at that moment I said, “I can do this.” I opened with a call back about Ramon’s set, got laughs and I was off. As I am beginning The Bedwetter, I see Mike standing at the side and I know there is no way I can finish the bit without going over. Instead of panicking, my normal route, I simply end one joke early and everything is okay.
That’s my time!
I shake Mike the MC’s hand as I leave the stage and I feel like Super Man. I’ll have to go to the tape to see how I really did but for the moment, I am the King of Comedy. I know it was anything but the perfect set. But that’s not what matters. All I wanted was to get onstage, not feel like a jerk and see if this is something I want to do. It is and better than that, the audience didn’t hate me. The night was a success and a dream was realized. That’s the easy part. Now that I know I have it in me, I have to go up and do it again. There’s going to be times when they laugh and there will be plenty of times when I bomb, but if I just get up there and have some fun, it’s all going to be okay.