At this site, I could spend time discussing shows at great comedy clubs. Just don’t think that would be that interesting. Instead, I try to give you a view into the weirder venues I perform at. Every once in awhile I’m asked to perform at a house party. Almost always I say no, as they are pretty much a no-win situation. Sometimes, though, the money is too good to pass up. Here is the story of the 2 times that has happened in 2010.
During the summer a woman contacted me and asked if I could perform at a surprise birthday party for her neighbor. The woman had one of those type of accents where I had no idea where she was from, except that it was probably middle-eastern. She had seen some clips of mine on-line and I was the person she wanted. Now that was flattering, plus it was only 20 minutes from my house. I still was wary about doing it as she said I would perform in her living room. I knew this meant no microphone, no lights, no stage, just me standing in front her guests projecting my ass off. She said she wanted me to do this on Sunday morning. I have never met a comedian who has done a show on Sunday morning and I’m guessing there is a reason for it. Sunday morning isn’t the time for comedy unless you consider Reverend’s Robert Tilton or Earnest Angsley comedians.
I decided to do it when she told me how much she was going to pay me. For the amount she offered I didn’t want to make these poor people have a get-together without my comedy stylings. So I show up and my host mentions at the door not to tell them I’m a comedian as she wants to make it surprise. She tells me to say that I’m a podiatrist friend of her husbands. I quickly guess scanning the room who her husband is. The older white guy. The rest of the party was all African-American. Now before you go all racial on me, whiteys, let me offer that this neighborhood was at least 3 pay grades above mine and the birthday crew were more Huxtable than Def-comedy jam. Unfortunately in this situation, I am no Bill Cosby.
So after an awkward 45 minutes standing around bullshitting the guests, our very strange host told everyone to sit down because she had a surprise for them. Then she told me to stand in the middle of them and start doing my thing. No intro, no context, no…you get the scene. I had to be careful not to step on the little babies and toddlers crawling at my feet, but I offered up my thing. I was just hoping the 2 very sweet elderly women there wouldn’t be offended by anything I said, as even though I was doing a PG performance, it was church time. If it is uncomfortable for you to read, let me tell you it was even worse standing in my shoes. The group was very polite, even though I could tell the last thing they wanted was for me to be telling jokes to them at 11:30 AM. What made it much worse was I was being directed by the host in her broken English to do certain jokes she had seen me do on the internet. I had no idea what half of these jokes were and I was starting to think she had seen someone else she liked and confusingly got a hold of me. I’m sure she was starting to think the same thing. I can promise you if I would’ve known how the whole thing was going to go down, I would never had shown up, despite the cash windfall.
After me sweating it out for an eternity (45 minutes) I dismounted. I thanked everyone profusely for putting up with me. The only really big laugh I got was when I said considering the makeup of my audience, I wished someone had given me Creflo A. Dollar’s sermon that week to deliver. The next morning I quickly hit the bank and deposited the Blood Diamonds, as it was as tough of a gig as I had ever done.
I brought this story up because last night I did another House party. A friend of mine had gotten a hold of me to do his corporate Xmas party next Saturday. He also asked as a package deal if I would perform at his annual house Xmas party. Didn’t want to do it, but he was being very generous with me, so I said OK. Now while it wasn’t half as bad as the previous mentioned show, it was a challenge in some ways, as I was standing in front of the kitchen island as the 20 people there were sitting on couches in the great room. They were all pretty bombed, as they had been playing Euchre, a popular card game played in the Midwest which often helps facilitate drinking. I stood up and did my thing. Didn’t feel that good about my performance, but everyone seemed pretty happy afterwards, so I survived it. Next time you think being a comedian is just going to some comedy club and telling jokes to appreciative audience members keep in mind that isn’t always the case. I do know though, that my job is rarely boring.