Where most people are like Loverboy, Workin’ for the Weekend, my job has me working pretty much every Friday and Saturday night. When I started doing comedy, a lot of clubs were still open on Tuesday. Now I can’t think of one that it is. There is an occasional one-night gig that is on a Tuesday, but I can’t think of one non-open mic type show that scheduled for a Monday night. I can only think of a couple times where I’ve done a paid gig on a Monday, so when a booking agent got a hold of me and said he had a show which was less than 4 hours from my house, I said sure. Wasn’t as much as I usually make for a corporate, but it was on a Monday so it felt like I was getting over a little bit.
I drive down to the show and I meet Paul and Adam when I get first get there. They are 2 very cool guys who love comedy that thought it would be fun for some of their financial service clients to have a Tax Day comedy show. I had done a couple of these before and it’s a good idea. So I was optimistic that it would be a good corporate show. Then the audience started to shuffle in. Let’s just say the demographics were of the retirement age. There ended up being 25 people in the small banquet room. Half were pushing 70 or over. Not the ideal group to do an hour of comedy. The only time I have any nerves before a show anymore is when I know I have to seriously edit my material. It started a little rough, but I tried to song and dance my way through our initial feeling out period, until they realized I wasn’t going to say anything that would shock them into a seizure.
I’ve discussed here once before about how I have a joke about how I like to curse at the elderly. I mention there are 3 reasons I like to do this.
- They don’t hear you.
- They aren’t going to catch you even if they do.
- Most importantly, these senior are out there spending our social security laughing their butts off.
At the front table staring right at me were 2 couples that I had found out had been married 52 and 50 years, respectively. They looked like they were upper 70’s. Well, after I do this joke I mention that when I say elderly I mean people over 85. Then I looked at them and said, you see, your not that old so I’m not talking about you. With perfect timing, one of the ladies replied, I turn 85 tomorrow.
It was one of the most perfectly timed heckler lines I’ve ever heard. The audience roared. I laughed and walked away from the mic. I let her have her well-deserved moment. About 20 seconds later I walked back up to the mic and said I have only only one rule, don’t be funnier than me. Then I complimented her again on how funny that was. The rest of the show was cake. Really important lesson to any newbies in the comedy biz. If someone says something funny from the audience—don’t be competitive. Let them have their moment. Only time this rule doesn’t apply is if they say something funny which is mean-spirited towards you. Then you better have something to come back at them or you risk losing the crowd.
So that was my Monday night. I posted on Facebook that when I started at 6 pm, I wondered if at that moment was I the only comic in America doing a paid gig. While it not be my favorite gig of the year, I came out pretty unscathed, had a made a decent amount of scratch, and made some old lady’s night. Read that and you would think I was a gigolo for past-their-prime cougars.