May 11, 2007

Open Mic #4 - Nerves of Steel

I guess comedy really is a roller coaster ride. Open mic #3 was great. Open mic #4, last night, was not so great. I hesitate to post this clip, because it's not too impressive. It definitely doesn't make me look as quick and confident as last week's set. Maybe I was spoiled by having more friends there before (it was just Dan last night), and a more enthusiastic and diverse audience. But I'm going to buck up and post it anyway. Being transparent with my development, bumps and all, is in the spirit of this whole project, and - how can I reframe this positively? - moments like this are character-building.

It was a very different room than last week, despite being the same physical place. First, there were very few people there, and it was almost all guys who were all comics, save for one girl in the audience. I know comedy is sometimes a boys' club, and I can handle that, but sometimes it gets a little locker-roomy. I'll just leave it at that. And, without divulging too many details, I'll explain that for various reasons there was tension in the room, and some antagonism, and it wasn't the most comfortable, encouraging atmosphere. Comic after comic got up and put themselves out there to receive only dead silence, and most made jokes about the awkward atmosphere itself.

I had new material I was really excited to try out. It's about the information age phenomenon of using communications technology to avoid human interaction, using myself as the butt of the joke. (Of course, it's not entirely a conceit - I'm as guilty as any other technerd of communicating from a distance and sometimes holding people at bay while convincing myself we're in touch.) But the response, while not the utter silence that some people received (I did get some actual laughs), was not too enthusiastic. I acknowledged being thrown by this, and while I didn't melt down, I was put off enough that I left off lots of details that make the material denser and more nicely detailed. I realized, in editing the clip, that you can see the annoyance on my face as I hand the mic back at the end, and I'm not proud of that.

But it's cool. Nights like this are part of the deal, and it's certainly not going to dissuade me. If anything, it makes me feel like I'm earning my stripes. I'm a pretty tough girl when I need to be.

And when I think about all the years I lived a quiet life in a quiet town in Indiana, dreaming and dreaming and dreaming of doing this, and never really believing I'd have the courage to try, nights like this are really no big deal at all.

On I go.

8 comments:

Kduck said...

Yeah, that's the thing that sucks about having a creative job. Sometimes you're going to have one of those days.

However, this clip was funnier than anything I saw on Dane Cook's "Tourgasm," if that makes you feel any better. (I'm guessing it probably doesn't.)

I liked the "first off, don't touch me" line .. Gotta save that one for later.

Bella Rossa said...

Hey, kduck, you're right, it's part of the deal with creative stuff. Certainly outweighed in the long run by all the good stuff.

Thanks for the compliments - I kind of like the "don't touch me with your weird meat paws" stuff...there was more along those lines that had to do with mouths being unlikely communications devices, but I was too rattled to try it.

Next time! Or another time, anyway.

Dan said...

I think you're keeping it well in perspective. It's hard to go up and try to achieve some sort of comedy homework assignment you've given yourself when the room is determined to not take the evening as such. You did fine... I would love to see you try that for "another kind" of room.

Also, the song at the end of the video clip made me laugh out loud. Oh irony.

Bella Rossa said...

Hee, thanks all around Dan, and I do try to choose music and lyrics that make sense in context. Hence, with the very first open mic, "I can't control the pounding of my heart, it beats so strong," and, yes, with the last clip, "Nobody said it was easy..."

And you, too, are doing great. Nerves of steel, excellent self-determination, and damn good jokes, etc. :)

k.barrick said...

I'm watching this from my holiday inn hotel room and was just screaming at the computer for the audience to laugh... I also was going, "Oh no, oh no!" as I could TELL people weren't going to laugh.

Well, I'm moved out of my place and school is over so I'm back to lots a open mics. Woo-hoo!

i like the new material though! Meat paws, the babysitter joke, etc. And you're the first person I've seen perform that hasn't repeated a single joke!

Bella Rossa said...

K. - yay! Take that, school. Can't wait to see ya around at more open mics. It's going to be a fun summer.

k.barrick said...

and I meant that I couls tell they weren't going to laugh because they sucked... that your jokes were good and you were making a good rhythm and that they were going to spoil it...

just to make that clear.

Bella Rossa said...

K - gotcha. Thought that's what you meant. I was feeling sort of bull-headed and plowed right through anyway. Eh.