A Year of Standing Up
So at this point I've been doing stand up comedy for about a year now. I'd done it before--in fact, Bobbie and I had met doing stand up in college--but I never really went at it full time. It had been about 12 years since I'd gone up in any capacity. Around that time, I tried going up a few times at the Unurban Coffee House open mic, and had even done one booked show, but I had such intense stage fright that I kept freezing up and forgetting words. Besides which, I didn't seem to be generating material fast enough. Obviously, the correct solution to all this would have been to buckle down and put in the work, but mentally, I guess I just wasn't ready. It's funny: part of me feels like I wasted the last 10 years not pursuing it, but then part of me thinks that I spent those years preparing. This blog (and other internet outlets) got me exercising my writing muscles, and then taking an improv class and performing sort of eased me back onto the stage without the intense pressure of stand up. (Which is a funny side note: to me, improv is very low pressure. It's basically just doing what you would be doing anyway, but doing it on stage. Other people, including Bobbie, find it much more stressful than stand up. Stand up stresses me out, because it's all on you, whereas in improv you can always pass the ball to someone else. But having to rely on other people, and work without a script, is much more stressful to some people.) I'm getting pretty good at it, but I'm just beginning. From the evidence below, I believe I have about 30 minutes of new material, plus the 6 minutes of topical stuff on the election. But actually, there are a couple other topical jokes in there, so probably not quite 30 minutes of useable stuff. (There was also one routine about the whole Eddie Murphy/Brett Ratner/Oscars fiasco last year, but I could never really get it to work, so I didn't end up using it.) I'm not sure how many of those are long-term keepers, though, so let's say 15-20 minutes of solid "A" material. Below, I've conveniently compiled all of my stand up performances from the last year.
11/14/11 So this was the first time I performed stand up in about 12 years. Jokes about A Separate Peace, Denny's, Pussyfuckers. I was surprised at how well the A Separate Peace joke went over. For a while, the Denny's bit was the one everyone identified me with, so I stopped doing it. Making fun of shitty food isn't exactly edgy, and I didn't want to be known for a hack bit, but I guess it's pretty funny anyway.
2/16/12 This one is all about the Republican primary, so extremely topical. In fact, it was already a week or so out-of-date when I recorded this.
3/11/12 Bulldiving, Pop Tarts, Moment of Clarity, and a sort of rebuttal to Bobbie's "Sex Rules" routine.
3/12/12 This one is from the following night, slightly different set: Drug Tests, Pop Tarts, Moment of Clarity. The drug test routine is my favorite.
6/4/12 I Don't Trust Life, White Chocolate, Mushrooms. I've abandoned that first bit, it never really worked that well, and besides, I watched Sleepwalk With Me last night and discovered that Mike Birbiglia has a similar routine. But I like the other two jokes.
8/27/12 Taco Bell, Pluto, Survivalists. The Pluto bit has kind of replaced the Denny's bit as my calling card.
9/9/12 This one is a slightly longer set. The audience was small, and wasn't really feeling me, so I lost a little nerve. (There is also, unfortunately, a bit of me giving Sally a birthday cake at the beginning, which I probably should have edited out.) But there were some jokes that I had written for the first round that I never got around to recording, and I wanted to get some of them on tape. Plus, I was trying to unify everything conceptually. Rejecting nostalgia is a recurring theme that I enjoy, so I like this set. Mitt Romney, Simpler in the 70's, Dangerous for Kids, 80's music, Pop Tarts, Pluto.
11/18/12 I meant to have more new stuff for this one, but I got busy with other projects, so you get about 4 minutes of new, topical material about the election, then I ended with the Denny's material that I had premiered one year earlier. Legal Marijuana, Tod Aikin, Chik-Fil-A, Hurricane Sandy, Denny's.
6/3/12 At some point, Bobbie and I decided to take her sex material about me, and my "rebuttal," and combine them into a double act. It's kinda like an NC-17 version of George and Gracie.
Bonus videos: Bobbie and I doing a commercial for MEAT Clown brand meat-based meat products, and a painful video of me trying stand up at a high school talent contest. One last chance to see me this year, at Bar Lubitsch this Sunday night (December 23rd). Come out and have a drink!