“That’s not a full plate. This won’t count towards the challenge unless you have a full entree and a side. Don’t forget desert.” Meet Rob: fellow contestant, arbitrator and judge.
“Ugh, we still have two more dining halls to go. This was a terrible idea.” I replied as if anything short of a heart attack would prevent me from finishing this exercise in self flaggelation.
Rutgers University has five dining halls. Rob, Chris and I decided to eat a full meal at all five. Back to back to back to back to back. In alphabetical order. Gotta love state schools and no Friday classes. While I have not been able to go into the kitchen to prove it, Rutgers puts laxitives in its dining hall food. Four years of eating dining hall food is all the scientific evidence I need.
Imagine a campus that used to serve barracks for the army. Take the kind of dining hall that would be there, add five quarts of beauracracy to it, mix thoroughly, bake for an hour, then add salt. Voilla: Tillet Dining Hall! The the worst, last and most painful dining hall on our journey.
There’s nothing like sampling the same rubbery chicken meal in 3 different dining halls, except living in a bathroom for 6 hours after finishing such a kamikaze tour. As we felt our stomaches rumble with every bump the bus took back to the dorms, I announced: “Today is the day the music died.”
Antics from my college days have little to do with comedy except to how I don’t learn from my mistakes. Yesterday I spent the afternoon sampling four different cheese steak places in Philly. Back to back to back to back. It was the second day the music died.
For those that don’t want to suffer the aftermath, Geno’s was better than Pat’s which was better than the random mall steak place by Independance Hall, which was surprisingly better than Jim’s. So in conclusion, don’t gorge yourself and stay away from Jim’s, they have a weird texture to their steak meat.
My mom used to tell me to choose my profession carefully, as I’d spend a disproportionate amount of my waking hours with those people.
Engineering, law and finance tends to attract very different personalities than comedy. “Working professionals” aren’t trying to find their voice, they’re trying to make their voice shut up so they can get through the work day. Which is why, after a while, all those lawyers and consultants start to look and sound the same. Same questions, same responses, no depth, only surface. Every comedian I’ve ever come across has a different set of neuroses that they don’t try to hide. I love learning about these “ticks” off stage as much as on stage.
So yes, my favorite part of stand up is hanging out with other comics after the show… I’m not sure if this means anything. Maybe I should be on the producer/manager/agent side. Maybe I just need a more interesting day job…
The Phillies playoff game was on so the crowd was small. I’m still trying to figure out how to best address a small crowd: Do I do my regular show lke there’s more people, or tone it down and get more personal? My current hunch, and based on who got the most laughs yesterday is, the smaller the crowd, the more crowd work you should do. Personalize it for them. Make them invested in your performance. Hopefully I’ll be able to adjust to this next time.
Actually, two shows wound up occurring last night as 6 new people came in as the original show was ending. The hosts made a great decision to keep the show going, and you could tell the small crowd appreciated it. (Not to rant, but this is the opposite of what many businesses do when a customer shows up two minutes before closing time.)
I didn’t get to go on a second time, but it was interesting to observe the other comedians and to see how much material they repeated from the first show (at which point I looked over to the the bartender contemplating suicide) versus how much new material they did that wasn’t done that night yet.
“Ladies and Gentleman, we’re gonna have a guest “oh snap” contest. Sir, you can finally come up on stage,” says The Legendary Wid.
The Heckler gets up on stage.
“So what’s your name sir? What do you do?”
“I’m just a man doin what I do.” The previously vocal heckler is getting a little gun shy now that the lights are on him. I guess being on stage against the night’s best “oh snap” talker can do that to you.
Vid pipes in, “Okay, you don’t have to give a name. We can just call you Ray Ray.”
Chris, the winner of the contest to date, grabs the mic. “Where’d you get that coat, the army surplus store? You look like a poor man’s Kayne West.”
After two hours of trying to out talk and out jokes every comic, the heckler grabs the mic. The actual spotlight is finally on him. You can see the wheels turning. And turning.
he sits down.
Last night’s scene at Laff House reminded me of the old Teddy Roosevelt quote:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”