I killed it last night.
Jay Martin, host of the show and a veteran in the Canadian comedy scene, repeated my jokes when we were hanging out after the show, and that was all of the validation that I needed. Like I’ve said: it’s not enough for me to get laughs. I want people to remember my jokes and repeat them to each other on the way home. Why? Because that’s the effect that Paul Mooney, Richard Pryor, and the rest of the greats had on me.
Ego At It’s Finest
After my set, I walked to the bathroom. I didn’t have to go pee pee, but I wanted people to congratulate me as I walked to the back of the room. Wow…that’s pretty egotistical, eh? But that’s the realest shit ever.
Do poorly, and you can’t wait to leave the bar. But kill it, and you can’t wait for the show to be done so you can have people come up to you and tell you what a great set you had.
Lesson Learned: The Magic Of The First Laugh
Michael Samuels, an awesome Toronto comic, was in the bathroom at the time. He congratulated me on my set (of course) and I said to him,
As soon as I heard that first laugh, I knew that I was going to have a great time.
You see, I started that set off with a managed risk: singing a reggae song that only serious dancehall fans would know:
But it was a managed risk. I surveyed the room, saw that there were black men between 25-40 scattered throughout, and thought, ‘If my energy is right, I think they might even sing the song with me. They’re going to know what I’m talking about.’ I also wanted to show Jay and Marvin (the Producer of the CanuMakemLaugh) that I wasn’t afraid to work the crowd and improvise.
Although the joke got a smattering of laughs, I saw the DJ immediately jump to his iMac trying to find the song (0:56 of my video), and that’s when I said,
…what riddim was that? DJ maybe you can help me out. He’s smiling…all I can see is your TEETH! …and the Apple [logo].
Once they laughed at that, I thought to myself, ‘If they’re loving that, I’m going to kill them with this…’ and I just went into the rest of my set. I KNEW that they were going to laugh, and that feeling gave me the courage to tear into my material like I’ve never done before.
Other comics that had seen me do the set the night before noticed it, too. I need to be able to enjoy myself regardless of that first laugh. But now that I know what sets me off, perhaps with a bit more thought I can use that to my advantage.
Following Your Passion
On the weekend, one of my friends from high school passed away. Though he went to university and proceeded to get a law degree, those closest to him knew that his first love was drawing.
His most touching works are the ones he made on his notebooks and lecture notes, which to me shows that he couldn’t help but do what he loved best, no matter where he was. It’s a reminder that our passions are always pleading with us to spend time with them, away from the noise, away from the bullshit. By the way, all of the drawings were done in pencil. P E N C I L.
RIP Thomas Wisdom.