The Most Difficult Thing to Do in Comedy

With Dave the King Wilson from a video interview I did for Comcast. Amazingly, this turned out well:)

If you want to know what is the kiss of death for having a good show, it is whenever you try to tape a show. At least this has been my experience.  Now part of the problem is that I’m a perfectionist and I don’t want to put anything out that has flaws, but it goes much deeper than that.  When taping, you try to be as technically perfect as possible, as improv doesn’t work unless you are in the room. Now for comics who do the same show night after night, it’s not a big deal, but for someone like myself who likes to incorporate the audience into the show, I come off a little tight.  Now I have put out a CD and 2 DVD’s during my career, but even with these I don’t feel like it’s a great example of what my live show is like.  I guess I’m kind of like a jam band, as to really understand what my show is like, you need to see it live.

I have plenty of nightmares of what has happened while taping.  When I was putting together my first CD, I had what I thought was the best set I had ever done.  I was ecstatic!  Then when I listened back, I started hearing a popping sound 10 minutes in.  It continued to get worse and them my heart sank.  My audio recorder was set up right next to a Popcorn Popper. I ended up getting the second show taped, but it was nowhere as good as that first one.  This just seems to be the way it goes when I tape.

On my first DVD, I hired someone to come out, as they had done some quality work with bands.  Show going pretty good, but even though the MC had announced that I was taping this show for a new DVD, some a-hole decided to constantly throw stuff my way.  I finally had enough and snapped, dropping the mic to the ground and walking off-stage to take on this dude.  I berate him, which the audience loved, but I’m not sure how much it translates on the DVD.  I didn’t have a choice, though, as this was the best of the 2 shows I had on-tape, so I went with it.  If nothing else, it’s a unique experience to witness, way different than the antiseptic type experience you get when you watch a Comedy Central standup special.

The most frustrating story I have is when I hired a friend to come out and tape my second DVD.  I thought if I did it in town, I could invite a lot of friends and neighbors, who would bring extra energy to the show. The problem was that my whole neighborhood had decided to tailgate most of the day getting ready for my show and they were blitzed by the time 10:30 showtime arrived.  Some of them were not what you would call, civilized drunks, as they were unfocused and created a lot of noise in the showroom.  While normally I would have started slamming them, I was determined to try to salvage this show since I had paid the cameraman.  No dice.  The staff would have thrown out these people, but they knew they were my neighbors so they didn’t.  Really bad situation. Halfway through I gave up and I started going at my drunken neighbors hard.  They loved it, but it wasn’t what I wanted to do that night. It took awhile for me to even want to see some of these “friends” again, since their behavior wrecked my show.

I’m really excited about where my show is now, as I feel like I’ve turned a corner bringing some real personal truth about my life to the stage. (wow did that sound pretentious!)  I’ve taped probably 6 shows in the past couple of months, trying to put something together for a new DVD. I’ve had shows where

  • there wasn’t enough people to get good audio
  • a waitress standing next to camera yammering for 5 minutes
  • the club’s background looked amateurish

So with this I decided to stake my hopes on my week at Crackers in Indy.  It’s a great club to tape, as the room is tight and the audiences are great for my standup.  I had awesome shows on Wednesday and Thursday, so I was feeling as optimistic as I can about taping the shows for the weekend.  I hired a friend to videotape my shows for Friday. He couldn’t do Saturday, but there were 2 shows on Friday, so I thought we would be good.

2 Worst audiences I’ve ever had at Crackers.  They were dead for the MC and Feature act and not much better for me.  In the video below, you see a man who feels cursed.  I was out money and even more importantly, feeling like I will never get the video I need.  The video begins with me resigning myself that there will be no new DVD tonight. I begin by laying down on the stage feeling like I’m having a nervous breakdown, then I steal a guy’s pretzel who had pissed me off earlier, and finally wrap up by slamming another douche.  The douche’s girlfriend gets up to go to the bathroom and douche wants me to do the old hacky trick where the comic tells the audience to laugh hysterically when I say a certain word and then I say it when person gets back from bathroom. Sorry, I believe in entertaining, but I don’t do hacky bits. Wrong guy.

Just so you know, the Saturday shows went great.  I did an audio tape of them which I hope to make a new CD from, but I’m not sure I got the best sound since it was a new adapter I bought to use through my Mac garage band.  Hey, maybe this week I will tape at the Funny Bone.  It is always a journey to create the next DVD or CD.

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