Last night I did a benefit for an autism charity called K-9 Care of Montana. This organization has a unique program helping families with children on the spectrum. My daughter Maddie is on the autism spectrum, so I was glad to be the entertainment for this charity. I have done a lot of benefit shows in the past and a show that benefits autism makes it even more worthwhile. My friend Jo Ellen helped put the event together. She did a great job and a lot of money was raised for the charity.
As I mentioned I do lots of corporate/benefit type events each year. They aren’t like a regular comedy show as they need to be in the PG range, which is the reason most comics can’t do them well. Not my favorite type of show, but the payday is much larger, so I do welcome them. In the past I have done a few events that I was booked by a friend for. It’s a good deal for them, as I give my friends a discounted rate and I am glad to help a friend. Most of the time these shows go well, so it’s a great thing for your friendship. Last night was one of those exceptions…
Like a lot of corporate events, the setting was not perfect, as it was still daylight outside, which was even more apparent since I was performing in front of a glass wall overlooking the Ohio River. Now that is a beautiful setting, but it makes it difficult to focus on someone telling jokes. There was no stage and the sound was not great. And the excuses are over. I’ve done shows in the past that had much worse issues. I still expected to have a good show. The audience’s ages were mainly of people between 30 to 50, which is in my wheelhouse.
So I begin my set by explaining why I got involved because of my daughter being on the spectrum. I went into my material on my family life which is kind of raw, but consistently kills with all audiences. It did okay. Well, maybe they just aren’t warmed up enough, as unlike a regular comedy show, corporate shows generally feature just one comedian, so you have to keep in mind you might bite the bullet a little bit at the beginning. Now my PG rated show features a lot of my older, sillier jokes, as I know I have to be careful of not making some old woman’s hair to get bluer. I went to one of my classics to get them all on board the Scott comedy train…one of the first jokes I ever wrote. Here is the basic core of the joke.
I went to Oklahoma. While I was there they had a tornado which wiped out a Hooters restaurant. That is now known as the largest titty twister in American history. Look people, I’m not proud of all these jokes.
I know it’s a pretty goofy joke. I don’t do in my club show anymore, but I promise you that joke has gotten a great response for 18 years, which is the reason I still do it at my corporate shows. Last night it got boos. Well that really threw me. When I got back home I was reading some news headlines online only to discover the Louisville area (where I had done my show) had a pretty destructive tornado just 2 days before. Yeah, it was one of those kind of nights.
Now my readers here know I’m way more honest than most comics about how my shows go. Who wants to read a comedy blog that only discusses shows where someone does a killer set? Not me. This is why I try to focus on the rougher shows here because it is more interesting. Here is my disclaimer: Most of my shows I tear the room up. That is why I work every week. Last night was not one of those. I didn’t bomb, but it was a weird show as I thought it would go great, but the audience were really tight. It seemed like the majority of the audience sat there judging me like a church group who just left the country club. I did a show a couple weeks back for a retired firemen. It was in Wisconsin and the average age was close to 70. That audience was great hearing the same material. Who can explain it.
Now I know some of this comes off like sour grapes. I don’t want it to be that way. I just like to examine each show I do, so people understand the different elements of being a professional comic. It’s not just going on the IMROV stage on an early Saturday show where everything is perfect and you say whatever you want. I do those too, but if you want to work every week you have to do a lot more than that. Some nights you just have to stand there and take your lumps. Not fun, but you try to be as professional as you can.
The hardest part about last night was that I felt like I let my friend, Jo Ellen, down a little. I was trying to think who would have done better with the group and I know Jim Gaffigan, Brian Regan, and Bob Newhart would have done well with them, but then, these comics wouldn’t have done the show for a 100th of what I did it for. This is why these guys get huge money to do corporate shows. I would say half the people that were there walked up to me after the show and told me how much they enjoyed the show. The charity ended up raising a lot of money which is the ultimate bottom line. It still doesn’t help how I feel today. I’m headlining a big show at the Congress Theater in Chicago on Thursday night, but a little benefit event I did in Jeffersonville, Indiana is what I’m still ruminating on. Ah, the mind that I live with…