Sunday I went to an old mic where I got up to run through old material for a headliner set I am supposed to do. It tanked. Some of it was being onstage for as much as I wanted it, I dont know, I had a brain freeze. Then last night I went up and just didnt hit. Granted, it was four people, four men and it was manbashing material but I tanked it again. Crickets. The feeling that I sucked. Oh God. Butterknife to the wrist. I really don't want to kill myself, I just want to make the motion because my massive ego, which grows like Audrey, had just been killed temporarily.
This was old stuff. It used to kill. What the hell happened? I began to panic. Perhaps my gift had disappeared. Where had it gone? I used to be so good on my feet. Where was my ability to make people laugh? In the old days it would have been time to get trashed but I stopped that. Or it would have been time for a tub of iced cream but I stopped that too. "Time to act like an adult and cry," I commanded myself.
Just then I saw Kevin Downey, Jr. smoking a cigar outside and we began to talk. Soon I found myself pouring my heart out about what had been going on with me and comedy. The feeling of alienation and just hoplessness and worry that I had lost my gift began to fall out of my mouth. Maybe I had just sucked it hard all along and had forgotten about it. As we spoke he told me that it was three people and not to worry. Plus they have probly all heard this and therefore are over it, which they had. And then he put the finger on it. I was feeling like I was wasting my time by getting up at mics because the stage time in some ways in counterproductive. Kevin told me he knew the feeling and informed me I wanted to kill in front of threatres (he does this quite often) and not in front of comedians. And he told me to relax and that my ability to make people laugh would return.
We also talked about how comedy got us through some hard stuff which was cool. We laughed and said that when our lives were hell our comedy was awesome, but when things were happy our comedy was shit.
I also got to meet this lady Betty the Bartender. The two are cute together, and turns out Miss Betty and I have some things in common.
Either way, this showed me how important it is to have a support system in comedy. These arent fans who love you and sometimes flatter you to the point where they blow smoke up your ass. It's not so much your family although they help. It's other comedians who will give you support and honest to God feedback. When things went down eighteen months ago I lost some so called friends but honestly, they had never been supportive. If anything they gossiped about everyone.
On the flipside I got to work with someone I respect and his crew, although crazy as hell, they support the hell out of each other offstage. I got to know them and was pleasantly surprised.
So I look at my circle of comedy friends. So far I have Rich Carucci, Mick DiFlo, and now Kevin and of course with Betty as his date. I always tell the young woman I am mentoring that she needs to stick with the winners. I am starting to take my own advice. It was so good I should have taken it sooner.
I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl