NO CROWD WORK ALLOWED

It’s the day of the comedy competition at Absolute Comedy, one of the top 4 comedy clubs in the city, and I’m nervous.

Not as nervous as I used to be, though.

I start preparing around 4ish. I’m just not that concerned about individual sets anymore. It’s probably why I don’t blog as much; there’s nothing to worry about.

So anyhoo, I practice my set once, and then stop – I’m worried. I’m worried that they’re not gonna laugh. I’m worried that the other comedians are going to be better than me. I’m worried about my crowd work not hitting. I’m worried about bombing in front of a notoriously easy crowd.

So I figure it’s time to meditate. I put down the mic, go into the bathroom, turn off the light, and sit on the toilet.

I hear my voice ask, “Do I deserve to win this competition?

I hear my voice reply, “It doesn’t matter. You aren’t trying to be the best. You’re becoming a MASTER at your craft.”

That puts me at ease. At the end of the day, my only responsibility is to be the best ME when they call my name. That means performing comedy without a worry filter colouring everything badd.

So I’m on my way to the competition, and again, nervous. But then I realize, “Hey man, be grateful that you get to perform at Absolute! You went there to do research before you even stepped on stage four years ago! You get to perform at Absolute!”

I become so calm that I literally stop at the used bookstore and pick up The Fall by Albert Camus.

Being master of one’s mood is the privilege of the larger animals. – Camus, The Fall

So I get to the club, and thank the Booker for the spot. I find the green room, but fuck the green room. I want to get a feel for the ROOM. So I walk the room. Notice who’s sitting in front. Think of crowd work options. Walk to one side. Walk to the other.

The Owner comes by to tell us the rules. He mentions no crowd work, but it’s included in a five-minute barrage of advice, so I don’t mark it. After all, I’m here to be funny.

I find this sweet spot in the corner, and await my turn.

Everyone’s doing well. Fuck. I mean, good. Lol.

What do you see?

Absolute Comedy competition

I see three things: a guy that looks like Walter White from Breaking Bad, an attractive older gentleman, and an attractive middle-aged gentleman.

I’m up next. I practice my Walter White intro a couple of times. Now the host is about to call my name. I go blank.

So yeah, the crowd work isn’t all fire, but I do get a mini applause break out of it in the end.

I listen to the other comics, and start counting all of the people that are doing better than I did. Fuck. At least four. AT LEAST. They all have their material down, and aren’t deviating one bit – and why should they?

They announce fifth place. Fourth place. Third place. Fuck me. Second Place. Oh I have no shot – First place.

That’s it. I lost. Damn, I didn’t even make the top five in a group of nine?? LMAO. Wowzers.

I’m not that upset, though. They all did great. In fact, I’m more shocked that the one girl who crushed it didn’t move on. I’m literally more upset for her!

Luckily, I get a chance to speak with the owner, who tells me that when he said no crowd work during his five-minute speech, he meant NO CROWD WORK. MATERIAL ONLY.

Fuck me. Pass the joint.

I’m almost in the subway when I realize that I forgot my book in the green room. I head back, grab the book, and descend into the subway. I start reading.

Wow. This book is SO MUCH BETTER THAN I THOUGHT. Oh that’s right, I’m high; I almost forgot. I start mouthing the words to myself, ACTING THEM, on the subway ride home.

Haven’t you noticed that our society is organized for this kind of liquidation? You have heard, of course, of those tiny fish in the rivers of Brazil that attack the unwary swimmer by thousands and with swift little nibbles clean him up in a few minutes, leaving only an immaculate skeleton? Well, that’s what their organization is. “Do you want a good clean life? Like everybody else?” You say yes, of course. How can one say no? “O.K. You’ll be cleaned up. Here’s a job, a family, and organized leisure activities.” And the little teeth attack the flesh, right down to the bone. But I am unjust. I shouldn’t say their organization. It is ours, after all: it’s a question of which will clean up the other. – Camus, The Fall

Before going home, I get a large bag of Ruffles Sour Cream & Onion to drown my sorrows in/have for dinner.

I’m upset that I didn’t win, but I’m glad that I did comedy the way that I like doing comedy. Material only is boring to me. I’m not putting down other forms of stand-up, but improv and crowd work makes me feel ALIVE, and it makes comedy fun for me.

Another set in the books. I’ve now done Second City, Yuk’s, Absolute, and Comedy Bar. What’s next?

  • Working on improving my weekly show that I just started at 596 College (6PM on Sundays).
  • We’ll see if Canada’s Smartest Person gives me a callback (I passed all their tests/interviews and now it’s up to a pantheon at CBC).
  • My Headhunting business is slowly taking off.
  • My Uncle challenged me to see who could get abs faster. Did I mention he’s 65 years old? When we both have abs, I’m going to fly down to Florida and we’ll take a picture together.
  • Read more Camus.
  • Have a Cheat Day.
  • Do more research for the book (it’s not about comedy).

So yeah man. Link up.

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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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