Doing Comedy for 3 people

There was no beauty queens at the gig I discuss below.

Every year I do a couple gigs that I’ve done in the past and I think, there is no way I’m going back there…and then I end up with a week open and go back on my promise to myself.  I’m not proud to say this, but it’s the truth.  I wish I could say I do it to keep me humble, but when you never move to NY or LA, it’s not difficult to stay humble in my biz.

Right at the top of the list is this one-nighter run by this insane dude who has a restaurant/resort on one of the great lakes, which he does comedy at during the summer.  The owner who I will refer to Douchel is originally from some Middle Eastern country where being rude is no sweat off his brow. He might be the most difficult dude I’ve ever met in the biz.  Here are a couple stories.

These are 2 man shows done in a restaurant setting, with a bad sound system and open windows with bright sunlight coming through them during the first show of the 2 you do.  The opening act has an impossible job in this situation, but it is not good enough for my pal, Douchel.  He stands in the back stressing out telling me, this guy is not funny, why don’t they send me funnier people?  I did explain that you aren’t going to get Chris Rock to open 2 shows in this setting for $125 bucks.  After more negative comments from Douchel, I tell him I will get them back, don’t worry.  This is the crazy confidence I have and the 3 times I did this gig it turned out I did do pretty well.

Why I told myself I would never go back there again was what happened the last time. As I mentioned, there are 2 shows at this gig.  Well, the economy seems to impacted this low-rent resort, so there were only 3 people at the late show.  When I said to Douchel, “we aren’t going to do this show, right”, he responded by telling me that he was paying me for 2 shows, so yes.  I didn’t want to get into the part about for what he was paying he wasn’t really paying me for 2 shows and I didn’t want to alienate the booking agent who has to deal with this nutcase on the phone each week, so I just did it.  If you are thinking that doing a show for 3 people is an impossible situation, you are a rational thinker.  Douschel is a self-absorbed prick.  The opening act had no idea what to do, so he just recited his act as if 100 people were there.  It was then my turn and I began by addressing the craziness of the situation.  I proceeded to tell them that using a microphone was ridiculous, so I started doing my show that way.  Then I told my 3 new friends that it still seemed crazy to stand on-stage and talk at them, so I sat down at their table and proceeded to do the rest of my show that way.  It was kind of a mix of a conversation and standup show.  Closest I ever felt to doing table magic.

Oh and did I mention that the motel room they put us in was substandard?  While I was sitting in this shitty room after that show, listening to the dj blasting music at the bar right next to me, I promised I would never do another show for a guy who disrespected me so much like Douschel.  Well guess what.  I have an empty week in the summer this year and the booking agent asked if I wanted to do that gig combined with a couple other decent gigs.  I took it because I have to pay my bills.  Not proud.  Now, the only thing that could make it worse happened.  I block that week off, I get offered a much better gig the following week, but I couldn’t take it because I respect the booking agent.  Then the next month the booking agent tells me that Douschel (my word, not his) has decided to stop doing comedy.  Douschel fucked me again.  You miserable bastard.  And it ultimately is my fault.

I wish I had a happier ending to this story, but I figure I would share it for all the comics out there this week doing a gig they are hating.  Keep in mind that if this job wasn’t so good most of the time, you wouldn’t do it.  That is what I try to tell myself.

5 thoughts on “Doing Comedy for 3 people

    1. Thanks for the blog love. The majority of my career is doing quality comedy gigs, but the best stories pretty much all come out of the shit gigs.

  1. I am in a situation where small crowds are common at a Friday night gig I do. Playing music for 4 hours for 12 people, the bar tender and a waitress is boring. I promise myself to move on but it pays the truck payment each month.

  2. OK, the random picture at the top here made my miserable little day. And what a coincidence that our insurance agent owns a restaurant up north?

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