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.