Well, it’s official. I’ve earned my first dollar from comedy. Actually, I earned my first dollar plus twenty more. I had my first ever paid gig and walked away with $21 for 12 minutes of my time. That’s $1.75 a minute. That’s $105 an hour. If this was a full-time job, I’d be making $218,400 a year. But, I only got 12 minutes.
So, I guess you could say that the money’s good in comedy, it’s just the hours that suck.
So, I’ve been coming to the Funky Buddha in Boca now for their open mic for the last four weeks and there’s something that I learned rather quickly: the signup processs is a fucking madhouse.
For the uninitiated, open mic’s have a signup sheet that’s numbered with the slots that are available for the evening. Most, if not all, open mic’s put this list out an hour before the show starts. This known as ‘dropping the list’.
With every open mic I’ve been to other than this one, the list drop is fairly benign. Show up at the time the list drops or even a little later and there it is, sitting out waiting for signups. Easy peazy, lemon squeezy.
Except, that is, for the Funky Buddha. It’s currently 6:30pm and I just arrived to claim my spot in the front, waiting for the list to drop at 8pm. That’s right, I’m here 90 minutes early. The reason? It’s because by 7, they’ll be a dozen people here and by 7:15, that’ number will swell three times that.
That wouldn’t be a big deal if the signup was, at the very least, somewhat organized. It’s not. Not even close. By 7:45, there’s a dense crowd gathered around the table where the list will drop. By 7:55, it’s like a feeding frenzy. And when that list hits the table, it’s a God-damn free-for-all. There’s no line, there’s no courtesy, there’re no prisoners. It’s a bum rush to get your pen-filled hand near the paper so you can (hopefully) get the slot you want… or at least close to it.
So, where does that leave me? Sitting out in front of an empty venue writing a blog post and girding my loins for the impending battle.
At least the weather’s nice.
I’m sitting outside of a bar waiting to sign up for what will now be my third comedy performance and I’m thinking about doing this more. A lot more. Like four or five night’s a week more.
There’s four, scratch that, five other comics and we’re all trying to out funny each other while we’re waiting. It’s fun and interesting. There’s definitely an undercurrent of nerves and a desire to see who’s gonna be good. It’s like lions slowly circling a downed gazelle, waiting to see who moves first.
I just hope I’m not the gazelle.
Tonight, I do something for the first time. I get up on stage and perform a standup comedy routine for a live audience. I’m more excited about this than you can know as I sit on the precipice of this new endeavor.
I’ve been told that I’m funny all of my life and have no doubt that it’s true from the reactions I’m able to illicit from the people I interact with. However, all my life I’ve said that I couldn’t be a standup comedian because, ‘I wasn’t that type of funny.’ I always considered myself to be situationally funny where I could make people laugh by building on things that were said or the situation we were in. I could never write a comedy routine or, at least, that’s what I thought.
It wasn’t until this past year that I decided to jot down the funny things I said. Before I knew it, I had pages upon pages of ‘material’. Looking at it far removed from the original situation, some of it is funny, at least in my opinion, and some of it is inane. However, tonight I’ll find out if it truly is funny. If I can get the audience to laugh in the way I think they will.
If nothing else, I gave it a go. This could be a point in my life that I remember fondly as something that I set out to do and accomplished or it could be a turning point that I remember as the moment everything changed. We’ll know by 8:30.