I was unreasonably mad and disappointed at myself last night after open mike. Because my newish jokes didn’t kill. Oh Jackie. You so silly. Chock full of pride and outrageous belief in my own skills to do well with jokes that are the sort that DO & WILL need months of work, I was hoisted upon my own petard (I can’t find where that came from) but I came to my senses this morning, while waiting for my plane.
I’m working on two, long, not very punchy yet, bits. They didn’t go very well. The punchlines that ARE there worked. But, not surprisingly, the parts of the jokes that need work did not get laughs. That was the reason I was doing open mike… to work on those bits. Afterwards… I was mad. Unreasonably disappointed in myself and doubting the material.
I’ve said it before and, even knowing I know what’s happening, I still fall for it; “only a good set can fix a bad set”. It’s part of a sewing project for my twilight years. I can stitch that on a pillow. And these, “A good set can fix a bad day.” “Sadly, a good day can’t fix a bad set.” It just has always been true. I wish it weren’t. But…that’s comedy.”Only a good set can fix a bad set.”
I slept poorly and woke slightly bummed. Heh. And then I remembered something Patton Oswalt said…14years ago at the old Largo.
That show was VERY alt-y… Lotta stories, not a lot of punchlines. Personality driven comedy (because the expectation was, that, you would do material that was ALMOST ENTIRELY NEW) It’s truly a learned skill to work on material like that.
The audience was PARTICULARLY judgmental that night. A guy went up…Canadian comic…funny guy…but it was his first time in the room and he did his material …I guess like some sort of ASSHOLE, he wanted to do well, and thought jokes with punchlines was the way of it.
They watched him for a minute and then started talking amongst themselves, like he was a band, or something. He did his time, got off and probably went on to hate “alt comedy.” Sigh. The emcee got up and MADE FUN OF HIM. Making ME almost hate “alt comedy.” The emcee said, “I love it when club comics try to do these rooms.” Then he introduced Patton.
Patton got onstage and you could tell he was irritated. He, remember, 14 years ago, was one of the darlings of these alty folk. Not everyone could have called this crowd (or the emcee, another darling) on their bullshit. He said, “Yeah. I hate it when comics, who make a LIVING doing standup try to come to a music club and want to entertain people. What an asshole.” Then, “You Know what I love? When an alt comic tries to do the road.” Pause. “You know…they’re telling jokes about their friend Jeremy and no one gets it….and he gets all HEY! I’m talking about Jeremy! Or it’s a not fully written bit but the crowd is hoping for punchlines. That’s hilarious.” Patton went on to kill for ten minutes.
Last night I was milking the crowd of their good will, surprised that they didn’t love my half developed premises as finished work. The jokes ARE there. They just need work. Hence open mike.
An hour ago I was reminded of that Patton story and now can’t stop laughing at myself. “You GUYS! Jeremy! I’m talking about Jeremy!”