Thursday, May 08, 2008

Just Another Show

Last night I drove to Davis for a show on campus. I have never performed at the college there. I see it every time I go up to Sacramento and back, but all I see is that parking garage it seemed to take them forever to build. Behind it is a school. A pretty nice school with a campus overrun with bikes and ducks. Apparently you are not suppose to feed the ducks. The males become larger and more aggressive. This in turn leads to them gang raping the female ducks.
Wow! Campus life is the same for females if you are a duck or a human I guess.
I saw a sandwich board advertising something for a co-ed pre-med fraternity. My gut says you should avoid this one ladies. What a great cover the guys have set up. "Who wants a jello-shot before we play doctor?"
Each time I do a show on a campus I become envious of the kids. I really do wish I would of gone. Especially to a place like this. I felt more like I was walking around the manicured lawns of an estate than a college. It was beautiful. I think I fell in love with half a dozen girls I passed walking around. Everyone looked so young and so fresh. I am so jealous that for them the adventure is just beginning.
The show was held in your typical multi-purpose college room complete with furniture that seemed right out of a Crate & Barrel catalogue, a fire place and stage. Yeah, I said fire place. How nice is that? And these were not those uncomfortable plastic chairs that gave my generation scoliosis and are legendary short attention span, these were wood and cushion chairs that would of fit in with some loft in the city. They even had a bit of my Comedy Central performance playing on TV screens around the campus. How about that!
25 People showed up.
That is always a little discourging. The weather was nice but 25 people at a free comedy show hurts the ego a little bit. I mean, it's free comedy on a Wednesday night!
There were four other young comics that went on before me. When I was told this I thought, oh shit! But they were all pretty good. A little rough around the edges, some jokes that I would drop and 3 of the 4 had bits about pimps and Ho's. We wonder why we go home alone after shows and jack-off? Maybe you shouldn't tell so many jokes about Pimps and Ho's guys. Then, women might talk to you. It was the first time in a long time that I actually sat and watched other comics perform. I am still amazed that in this age of CGI laden movies and video games that any of us can get a group of people to pay attention to us talk. But the little crowd was great. By the time I got up there we were an hour in and they were as warm as they were going to be. They were fun. I didn't want to leave the stage and the friendly warm room. When the show was over I got the usual nervous, "Nice show" from the girls and "good set" from the guys who then look down at their shoes. Just by being older you become an authority figure. Strange. I am still the guy I was when I was their age. We stood around for a while bull shitting and talking. It was only when I said I was going to my car that I realized they were hanging around to hang out with me. I am so bad with people off stage. I really don't know how to relate to them with out a microphone between them and me. As I walked back to my car with the poster from the show, I thought of how much this campus felt like the park by my house as a kid. The evening was warm and kids were stretched out on the grass in groups of 3's and 5's. This is always an odd time for me. That post show bliss is like a drug mixing with the let down that it's over and that I missed something in my life when I was younger. I recently told a class of new comics that you have to make peace with the idea right now that you will probably never be famous or even make that much money in stand-up. The best that you can hope for is this feeling I have right now. Of walking away from a great little show where you felt completely comfortable on stage, had fun and know you did well. Because really, that is all you get most nights if it goes well. I didn't make big bucks on this little gig and I am certainly not going back to the dorm room of some hot french student to talk politics and make love by the light of a lava lamp. But I feel good and that has to be enough.
Knowing that though, and climbing back into my car for that lonely drive down I-80 to
San Francisco is something else. Thats the thing; I want something else. Well, not something else, I still love being a stand-up, I want something more. Every time I finish a week at a club or a run of a few weeks working regularly, I just think what it must be like to do this more often. Even after 15 years I feel like I get a little better with every bit of stage time. What would it be like to be on stage night after night in front of crowds who showed up and paid to see you? It has to be a whole other high.
Well, I turn up the music, put the windows down and race down that dark stretch of I-80 on just another Wednesday night after another great show for a small crowd. It's good. But it's not enough anymore.


sandy said...

This is so emotionally déjà vuey to me…
Home schooled since 8th grade, I feel that way every time I go to any kind of event at my daughters school. And , I’ve done similar with college… *sigh*. It’s the sense of Longing in this post… I think that’s the déjà vuey I’m feeling….

Celery Caraway said...

Thank you for this "day in the life" slice. One wonders about roads not taken and this entry gave me a strong sense of what it is like.

Terri said...

I'm so glad you've come on to my radar, Joe. Your mind is a fascinating place to visit. :)

Joe said...

Thanks Ladies!
I do wish now that I would of gone to college if for no other reason than the social aspect.
A slice of life in a comics night. yeah, thats how it goes. You always want more but you have to be happy with what you have. I think thats the way it is for any of us in life. In comedy, it's just right there in front of you instantly.
I am glad I am on anyones radar! I think of my mind as a museum after hours. Sort of dark, weird stuff being stored in sealed rooms and exhibits of things we use to think were true.