Stand up comedian semi bombs

So last night my A material bombed. The first time I performed it, it did great! And so my last post discussed the fact that I planned on killing tonight to prove that my A material was worthy of its title. Fuuuuuz – things didn’t go like I planned it in my head…

Realest Blog Ever

Yo homie, I’ve decided that this is going to be the realest comedy blog ever in the history of blogs and history. Most people would just post videos of them succeeding. I’m going to do the exact opposite. I’m going to show you the good, the bad, and the ugly, and I’m going to show you it in whatever order it decides to come out.

Hopefully, it can be inspiring to some. Hopefully it’ll show everyone the real part of starting something new. The reality is that falling is part of learning how to walk. Because that’s how tings gwaan when you start out. Eryting nuh gwaan criss when yuh fuss reach ah foreign. (Translated: Because that’s how things go when you first start out. Things don’t always go as planned when you try something new.)

Tonight didn’t go as planned. I thought that I would kill, and I didn’t. But I’m going to learn from tonight. Let’s take a journey into a set that doesn’t work out, and let’s see if we can’t glean some nugget of truth to go with the 9-pack of shame.

 

Mike has trouble with the mic

You’d think this would be obvious, but it was my first time using a microphone to do stand up. And when I got on stage I wasn’t talking into it, and the host said to talk into the microphone more. Fiddlesticks. That threw me off right away. You can probably tell:

Squirming in your chair yet?

 

Special Opening

I rehearsed a special opening for tonight, which related to the venue (a waffle house) and the fact that the first item on the menu was named, ‘Waffle Bacon.’

Starving Artist online menu

Starving Artist online menu

You can tell that the problem was that I wasn’t speaking into the mic. But remember, I didn’t know that at the time. I figured they didn’t find it funny. Watch me completely talk through their applause – I can’t hear it. It’s clear as day to you, but I don’t hear any of it.

I gotta get more comfy on stage.

 

That didn’t kill?

As a comic, there are times when you are dead certain that things are going to get laughs. That opening didn’t work out the way I thought it would, I think because I wasn’t speaking into the mic.

Not getting the response I thought I would, coupled with the fact that I was having trouble adjusting to using a microphone for the first time, was tough. Deflating, really. My springboard turned into quicksand on me.

And it’s like a ish snowball, gaining ish as it continues to roll downhill. Put a ‘t’ in front of ‘ish’ and spell all of it backwards and you’ll see what I’m getting at. I’m trying to keep this a G-rated blog for the kids. Because the kids are definitely reading this…

 

Manboobs doesn’t go down well

In a bit, you have preset points where you think the audience will laugh. The crowd didn’t laugh as much as I thought they would. And the room starts choking you. And you start rushing the preamble to get to the punchline. And you start sinking. Keep in mind, you might hear people laughing, but I didn’t. All I heard was a thick, imposing silence:

Please continue. There is a silver lining to this, but I warn you: it gets worse before it gets better.

 

And The Ish-ball gains steam

And man, because I’m not saying the bit right, because I’m rushing the premise, because I’m not taking the time to paint the picture I should, the next part completely bombs. No laughs whatsoever…

I think you get the picture.

 

But all is not lost

The room was very narrow and long, and I was totally separated from the back of the room. When I approach Natasha Henderson, the host of the show, I apologized for things not going well. She said, ‘No, it went ok. The people in the back were dying of laughter!’

Natasha Henderson, Toronto Stand-up Comedian

Natasha Henderson, Toronto Stand-up Comedian

WHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!?!

Here I am considering throwing out my A material, and there were people dying in the back. And Natasha reiterated to me that she loved the manboob bit.

And now that I actually watch the video, I didn’t totally bomb, which is what I was convinced of when I got off stage. I semi-bombed. And that’s ok.

 

Lesson #1: Hold the Mic in your Hand, Einstein

 

Lessons Learned #2: Learn to relish the experience

At my second visit to an open mic, I had a chat with Kevin Gasior, a seasoned stand-up comedian. He told me not to judge my stand-up career until I had done 100 sets. He said, “It will be weird at first. One time you’ll kill and the next time you’ll completely bomb.”

That didn’t make sense to me at the time. How could material get different reactions from audience to audience? Funny was funny, no?

But that’s kind of like saying Michael Jordan sucked because sometimes he scored below 30 points a game. Even the best basketball player ever had a shakey start. Heck, Jordan was cut from the high school squad.

As long as I learn to relish the time I have on stage, I can enjoy myself, even if there are some people in the crowd that don’t.

 

Lessons Learned #3: I Love Comedy

Francis Brian Shaw, a comedian with 3 years of experience said to me, ‘The worst day as a comedian is still better than the best day in an office.’ Truer words, for me anyway, were never spoken.

Even with semi-bombing tonight, I had fun today. I had fun writing the Starving Artist bit, and I had a good time because my sister and gf were so supportive. Finally, it turns out that there were more laughs than I realized, and that my A material is A material if I believe in myself and don’t self-sabotage on stage.

 

Conclusion

So hey ladies, if you’re still reading this and haven’t totally been turned off by my lackluster performance tonight, I’m here to stay. Dude, I’m having fun. I’ve finally figured out a career where I could write all day and perform at night.

See you don’t understand, I can’t work a nine to five. No really, uff the nine to five, son. I’m going to enjoy life.

My name is Mike I’m not your legal type of fella,

Michael Jagdeo

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About Michael Jagdeo

My name's Michael Jagdeo, and I refuse to write about myself in the third person. I'm a Comedian from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In addition to honing my stand-up comedy act, I maintain this blog and write the weekly comedy article for blogTO.com.
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5 Responses to Stand up comedian semi bombs

  1. Pingback: Stand-up Comedian Revises his Bit | Diary of a Toronto Stand-Up Comedian

  2. Im loving the hip hop references brotha! Keep em comin!

  3. sacha proctor says:

    This is exactly how I feel at the open mics I have done, only a few so far. You think you’re stuff will be great, then you go up and get nothing, or what feels like nothing. Then I start rushing and I want to get off the stage as quick as possible. Then I start doubting my material. No wonder so many comedians are depressed people.

    • Hey Sacha,

      Oh man…I remember this set. LMAO it was soooo rough! From the fumbling with the mic in the beginning to cold silence throughout and the bewildering feeling afterwards as I sat down and asked myself, ‘What the fuck just happened?’

      But don’t worry, man. You know that feeling to rush off stage as soon as possible when you’re bombing? It turns into the feeling of rushing into the next punchline in your arsenal to try to make them laugh. And then that feeling turns into…

      ok that’s as far as I’ve gotten. Regarding depression, I think that the only reason that comedians are seen as depressed people is because they’re in the spotlight more. I’ve heard that 15% of people in developed countries suffer from depression.

      Heck, I entered comedy to get me out of a depressed state (see About Me for the full story). Francis Brian Shaw once told me,

      ‘The worst night in comedy is still better than the best day at a day job.’

      Truer words were never spoken.

      But yeah, it’s totally depressing coming off a bomb. Hell, I semi-bombed last night at a comedy competition run by Kris Bonaparte! This is where it’s so crucial to have a mentor. As I slunk back to my seat with my head down, I typed the words, ‘Ugh‘ on my phone and passed it to Quinn C. Martin, my mentor…

      After talking to him again today and going over the night that was, I realized that I’m waiting for the crowd to enjoy themselves before I start enjoying myself. That’s backwards. I should enjoy myself and lead them into my world, not ask for their permission. Quinn said, ‘The crowd wants to be entertained.’ So yeah…if I hadn’t semi-bombed last night, I would never have recognized what I was doing wrong!

      I remember a millionaire once saying,

      When I started, I looked around and saw people that talked better, looked better, and had more confidence than I did. But when I realized that most of the people around me were going to quit, I knew that I had a shot.

      Keep getting on stage man! It will get better. And hey, I’m going to Rene Armando Payes’ open mic, ‘Spillin the Beans’ at Full of Beans Roastery tonight (Sat 6:30pm sign-up). Hit me up on FB if you can make it!

      Jagdeo

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