Monday, September 29, 2008

I Have To Practice Not Caring

Did twenty minutes at a Ramada in Jersey on Saturday night - I rarely get to do twenty minutes so I was both excited and kinda nervous. Trying to ease my nerves, I wrote my set list on a bottle of water I was going to bring on stage. Of course, I wrote it too small, rendering it useless unless I was going to do a bit about the ingredients of water. Once the show started, I got more nervous...

The crowd was kinda sparse, about twenty in all, and when the MC inquired during his opening, not a single Jew present..not a huge deal but I do find some of my Jewish jokes go over better with Jews. Not only that, but they were pretty evenly split among young and old, about ten under thirty and ten above forty-five, making it tough to appeal to the whole crowd with every joke.

Speaking of the MC, he didn't do any crowd work, normally done to warm up the crowd, he just went straight into his parody songs...mainly to silence. Thankfully, the second comic up, Jerry Shack, made up for it, mixing in crowd work with a really great set of his own. I was heartened by the audience's response, though still nervous, especially when the MC did another fifteen minutes of songs between Jerry and myself.

When I finally got up there, after having trouble getting the mic out of the stand, I launched into my material... and proceeded to have one of the best sets I've ever had.

It was bizarre, they ate up jokes that I've cut from my shorter sets due to unresponsive crowds... I got huge laughs doing crowd work...after my set, several of the audience members congratulated me bar the bar.

The question I've been asking myself is - Why did this happen?

I can't say they were a particularly "hot" crowd (the headliner didn't do that great). I was pretty nervous going on stage. I didn't have any new killer material. So, why?

The answer is...I'm not sure - maybe the stars were aligned just right, giving me the perfect twenty people for my comedic stylings...or, maybe it was cause having twenty minutes, once I started getting laughs, I relaxed up there, really taking my time. I stopped several times to drink and water, and didn't even think of the silence... I didn't care, cause I knew they'd be laughing in fifteen seconds anyway. Maybe that's it. Not caring.

Rock On,

Aitch

11 comments:

Josh Homer said...

well Harris, if you taped it (and I hope you did) you'd be able to go back and see little things that made it turn into a great set. Plus you'd have a 20 minute tape to get some serious feature work on the road.

Josh

Harris said...

hey josh homer,

alas, the battery in the camera of the dude who was sposed to tape it... was dead.

Rock On,

Aitch

Anonymous said...

great that it went so well! i happen to think being somewhat nervous at first means you do care enough to do a good job. and you did. i think taking one's time helps people feel spoken "to" rather than "at" -- i personally don't always enjoy the machine gun speed at which some deliver their material. that's some shit about the dead battery. Mindy

Harris said...

hey mindy,

yeah, to be honest, i'm usually one of those machine gun types, as I try not to waste any words and know that I (usually) have only seven minutes.

but i'm gonna slow it down to a crawl for a while, and see what happens.

thanks!

Rock On,

Aitch

David said...

Congrats on the success.

Do you ever appear/perform in the DC area? Would enjoy coming to see you if you do. Alas I rarely get to the NYC/NJ area.

Harris said...

hey david,

I haven't yet, but I may in the next year. I'll make sure to let ya know.

Rock On,

Aitch

Kirsten said...

Congrats on the great set! I don't know how you get up in front of all those people and talk for 20 minutes. You have some serious cajones!!
When are you comming to LA??

Harris said...

hey kirsten,

thanks..it's funny - when I only did five minute sets, I wondered how comics can do ten...when I did ten minute sets, I wondered how comics did twenty...now that I've done twenty, I wonder how comics do a half hour.

I may come to LA in the next year too - I would write your local congressman (woman?) and demand me.

Rock On,

Aitch

josie said...

i vote for shows in dc and la as soon as possible, as we have friends there.

oh, and it's also good for your career.

David said...

I'll get on that congressional mandate thing right away...although here in DC with our "taxation without representation" lack of Senators and Representatives I can only appeal to our non-voting delegate. She is energetic but without a vote to trade, her accomplishments are limited.

Maybe I can start a write-in campaign for the November election "Official Stand-up Commdian of the Nation's Capitol" ...hmmm, that might not work since you don't...uh..live in DC.

Oh Oh Letters to the editors at The Washington Post. That should do it.

Cheers

Harris said...

hey josie,

with the cost of flying (or driving) these days, would you mind hitchhiking?

hey david,

maybe you can get it attached to the bailout bill.

Rock On,

Aitch