|If you’d like to apply for a spot on Absolute Comedy’s Pro/Am Night (held every Wednesday), call 416 486 7700 on the first Tuesday of the month between 10:00am and 10:30am. You’ll have to call about 10-60 times (not a joke) to get through, but stay persistent. You’re competing with about 100 other comedians who are calling in at the same time you are. Ryan Maglunob is the booking agent.|
It was raining like hell tonight, and it took me awhile to get to Yonge St. and Eglinton Ave. where Absolute Comedy is located (2235 Yonge St.). I parked in the underground green P where my old U of T Professor used to live and jogged over to the venue as coolly as one can when running in the ran without a jacket, hat, or umbrella.
The ticket was $6.00, I paid in cash this time (I’m learning) and entered the main room. I noticed that the stage was small (I wonder if I could do my yoga bit there) and I took a seat in the back against the wall.
Crushing / Killing / Murdering
Call it what you will, I saw two people absolutely destroy tonight. I’m an avid listener of the Joe Rogan podcast (http://www.ustream.com/joerogan) and he often talks about guys killing (which means doing very well and getting a lot of laughs, for my international readers) on stage. I hadn’t seen that until tonight.
The first guy that crushed was a black guy that was very loud and had a great Tracy Morgan impression. It helped that he also had a top lip like the grill of a PT Cruiser to help make the impression that much more believable.
It was a truly amazing experience. It was like, after a certain point, there was magic in the air. He could say no wrong. It got to the point that even when he was setting up the premise for a joke, people would laugh. HE WASN’T SAYING ANYTHING FUNNY YET AND THEY WERE LAUGHING. And at one point he said, ‘Damn, I haven’t even said the joke yet!’ It was almost like he didn’t fully recognize what was happening.
And in retrospect, one of the things that I took away from his set was that you have to work the crowd into a fervor in order to kill…or so I thought.
Many different ways to slay an audience
Just when I thought that I was figuring things out, a white guy comes up with the EXACT opposite demeanour of the black guy that crushed. He was slow, plodding, and methodical in his delivery. He speech was more of a mumble than spoken word, to be honest. But he killed too…
What the heck? How do you do that?? So it doesn’t mean that you have to work a crowd into a fervour to kill.
How to Kill / Crush / Murder
This is the main question that every comic is trying to answer. But tonight’s experience left me with more questions than answers. Tonight I saw two stylistically different comics have the exact same effect on an audience. But I did pick up one thing: both of the comics that killed had a steady stream of laughs.
One after another
That might seem obvious, but there is a way you can write comedy in a way that doesn’t involve long, laugh-bereft, premise set-ups. For example, sometimes when I’m writing a bit, performance-wise it might take me 20 seconds before I get to a point where the crowd will laugh. I’ve realized that 20-seconds without a laugh is a VERY long time comedy-wise, and so I have to rework the bits so that I have laughs throughout, and not just at the end.
That’s one thing that I’ve learned from watching Louis CK. He gets a constant stream of laughs, and even when he’s building up a premise he is getting a laugh from the crowd. Easier said than done, but not unpossible (thanks, Ralph).
But hey, what the fuck do I know; I haven’t even been on stage yet.
Can I do this?
In my last blog post, I mentioned the twang of intimidation that I felt when I saw the Yuk Yuk host get a laugh. I thought to myself, “Can I do this?” I had that same emotional flinch tonight when I saw the two guys crush.
My years of reading self development literature tells me, “Belief is the Cause.” That means if I believe I’ll do well, I’ll do well. If I believe they will laugh, they will laugh.
But is that even the case? Because I saw a guy tonight yell his ass off, and he seemed like he really believed in his jokes, but they weren’t funny and nobody laughed. He bombed. And so I think to myself, self confidence isn’t enough. The jokes have to be funny…
But I guess that’s a good thing, and I take solace in the fact that my jokes are funny, and I’m spending a lot of time practising. I will follow the host’s (Kevin Gasior) advice and keep writing and do 100 sets until I find my voice. This is what I want to do.
Comedy is still a mystery to me, but I guess as long as I can get comfy in the mystery, I will avoid the trap of thinking I know all of the answers when, in fact, I have no fucking clue.
@JagdeoComedy on Twitter