Saturday, May 17, 2008

My Comedy Drama

Tuesday I was up in North Lake Tahoe where I turned in a hour long performance where I kept the drunks at bay and the others laughing.
Wednesday I was in my least favorite club, Tommy T's performing on the bill at a friends request where I made fun of two guys for twenty minuets by implying their worse fears; they were gay.
Thursday afternoon I did a private gig at a tech company in Sunnyvale where I mostly talked to the crowd by asking them what their Indian names meant.
Friday I was at the Clubhouse in San Francisco where five very drunk guys who apparently came to see me just yelled stupid shit and I fired back only to learn after the show that one of the guys was indeed a regular reader of my blog.
Saturday- I take a breath.
I think I have to make some creative choices tied with some marketing decisions. In all of these shows, I got the gigs for what I do best; Riffing.
Riffing is the art of working the room or talking to the crowd. You know. I can write a joke, but what I am known for is Riffing. On private and corporate gigs, no skill comes in more handy when it's not exactly what you thought it was going to be or something happens. At a club, Riffing can light up a room like nothing else. It's what I am best at and it is something I really love to do. On my site, I have clips of me riffing away on stage. The favorite seems to be the one where I brought a guy on stage who wanted to rip on me. Needless to say, it didn't work out for him the way he thought it would. People see that, come to my shows and then yell shit out so they to can be a part of it. But the thing is, I want to pick when I do that. I don't want people showing up and trying to jump in so I can go off on them. So do I take those clips down and work on more jokes, or what?
Last night at the clubhouse in San Francisco, 5 guys were falling over drunk. We had some fun going back and forth. I really want to get more of what I think out there though. Eventually, it just bugged me. After the show, true to form, they came up to me to shake my hand and say they were fans. Now when people say they are fans you think, thanks. In this case I was thinking, why do I have drunk frat boys as fans? I am everything opposed to them. Well, one of the guys was a regular reader of the blog. Damn! He quoted some things from it and told me the clip of the guy on stage with me was cool. Now I feel weird. On the one hand, this is what I want; fans! On the other hand, my own web site is encouraging the sort of behavior that is not conducive for performing well written, thought out pieces on politics and religion.
This has happened a few times now. No other moment was like this one though. These guys were so obviously fans and so drunk at the same time. I just wanted them to leave so I could go watch Battlestar Galactica. I felt strange feeling that because this is what a comic works for, a little recognition. Eventually I meet the rest of the water polo team. Yeah. Water polo team. They are that nice jovial brand of drunk at the moment too. I sorta miss that. Course, I have no illusion that me drinking is nothing like how they drink. They want me to come with them and there is nothing less that I want to do. A few other comics are hanging around enjoying the spectacle and my obvious discomfort. Crap! Only I could turn this into a poor me situation. A victim of success? I don't know. If I put Riffing out there then that is what people will want to see obviously. I can't get mad at them for that.
All in all it is a better class of problem to have than I deserve.


sandy said...

RIFFING.... hehehe, I knew there was a word for it! I hadn't read this one yet, before I sent that message.

At your show last night, the guy sitting in front of me (daddy Rich), didn't really start laughing that night until you kind of pulled him in... that was soooo much fun to watch!!!!

Dean said...

You're kind of stuck in the same artistic quandary as Townshend of the Who ("Jump, Pete! Smash your bloody guitar!"). For better or worse, you're the fastest riff in the west.

Terri said...

True, I imagine it's frustrating to receive this recognition, but to have it be this weird crappy flavor of fame. I guess I say take it for what it is, a brutal form of love. But also, take it from a quiet audience member(except during laughter, of course): watching a comic put the loudmouths in place off the top of their head is comedy gold. This problem is a bit of a blessing in disguise. :)