Posts tagged ‘Stand-up Comedy’

March 7, 2011

Cerebral Ballsy

by JAMES DRAPER

I am not an intelligent person. I just think everyone should know this as a fact. I don’t want anyone thinking I have the correct answer to anything, although I have plenty of answers. Nor should they believe I’ve done enough research on anything I may speak to, other than drawing from personal experience. No, this is not a disclaimer, just something to put in your hat for whenever my life intersects yours.

A person of my mental prowess rarely has the use for a word like “ponder.” However, this is something I have pondered for some time. How is it I get by? I mean, I am nowhere near the intelligence level I am expected to be. I know this because many of the people I come across talk to me as if I have a single clue. What the fuck they are talking about? I just agree and smile. Once they’re gone, I Google it and laugh that I didn’t know what they meant, or I hurry up, as I’ve spent a lot of project time finding out what I agreed to do.

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February 8, 2011

Comedy In Purgatory: Catharsis

by ANDREW KING

Writer’s block. It happens to everyone. I’m experiencing it right now. Mine is a combination of indecisiveness and lack of motivation. I can’t decide what to write about: the legendary comedy boom of the ’80s, hecklers, alt comedy, idols, maybe a personal story or two… I don’t know. Can’t decide.

I have screenplays that need work, stand up material that needs to be refined, hundreds of recordings that I can salvage a few good ideas from, and, worst of all, an abundance of free time, but I just can’t do it. I don’t think it’s laziness or procrastination, though I am a master of both. It has to be something else… but what?

It might be that I can usually rationalize the wasting of time.

When it comes to screenplays, I tell myself, “Well, I have one finished and a couple others are mostly done. That’s enough considering where I am.”

The hundreds of recordings are a little intimidating to go through. I have over 500 recordings collecting virtual dust in my computer. They contain stand-up premises, story ideas, daily memos, tag lines, rants, and it’s just a mess. I tell myself, “I’ll get more serious when I’m closer to leaving, I’m not getting out of here for at least another year, what’s the point?” Which is terrible. All I’m doing is hurting my development as a comedian by doing that.

On the other side of that, however, is, Okay, what if I did go through those recordings? What if I went through them? I probably have a good 10 minutes buried in those archives. Even if I found it all and worked it all out I’d have a hell of a time trying to find a place to test it. You can’t count on the reactions of bars and coffee house open mics, and since comedians are constantly writing new material, that newer material is going to take priority over older, unfinished ideas when you go to a comedy open mic.

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January 21, 2011

Comedy In Purgatory: Ωpen Mics

by ANDREW KING

Open mics: the Alpha and Omega of stand up comedy. It’s where every comedian starts, and I have no doubt that it’s where several comedians have called it their end. An open mic has the ability to make you feel invincible, giving a high like no other. It can also crush your soul and make you doubt every decision you’ve ever made. Now, performing in general already can have those results, but with open mics… you’re doing it for free.

Here in Purgatory, where the majority of open mics are for musicians who want you to hear their brilliant covers they spent a couple of afternoons learning, comedy is considered alien, and it is often ignored. On the other side of that, however, is a great feeling of accomplishment if you can actually win the crowd. It’s not easy by any means, and depending on the location, the odds are heavily stacked against you. But it is possible.

There are different types of open mics:
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Bar Open Mics

Found here are TV’s blaring, people playing pool, drunks arguing over sports teams and more. Oh, and don’t forget the jukebox. What’s more fun than trying to win over a crowd who’s trying to drink away sorrows, the abandonment of dreams, or just another day at the office/coal mine? Trying to win over said crowd while the Ghostbusters theme is playing in the background.

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January 11, 2011

Comedy In Purgatory: Hell Gigs

by Andrew King

Every comedian I know has a great story of a really bad gig. The better ones have several. Hell Gigs are a rite of passage in the comedian community, an integral part of the journey of being a stand-up comic. There are many ingredients to a Hell Gig, they can have a combination of,  or all of these things:

[_] Heckler (You suck!)

[_] Oblivious/Bad Audience (What? Comedians? WTF is a comedian?)

[_] Awkward Set-Up (So here’s a milk-crate you can stand on… What? No, the TV’s will still be on.)
Now this particular gig had all of the above…

It was a benefit show for a guy who had cancer. I say “had” because he died before the show. So the benefit changed goals and now the proceeds would be going to a cancer charity. The show itself took place outside of a biker bar in East Moline, Illinois. Already there are enough signs to know that it’s going to be rough.

The stage was a Semi-truck’s flatbed trailer. There was a ladder nailed to it so you could get onto it. The trailer faced the brick wall of the bar and the audience was at an angle eating curly fries. I’ll try to illustrate below:

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