I did The Edge at Sully’s (which I’ve been calling Scully’s to who knows how many people) last night. It was a nice - SMALL - intimate room. I got out by 11pm.
It definitely wasn’t Cole’s (which set the bar for open mics UNBELIEVABLY high), but it was good!
I got 4 minutes - and I did the set I’d planned to do at Cole’s (the set I would have completed had I not started ranting about being stranded on the north side).
It was great!
I might start audio recording myself soon - mainly because the audience clapped at the same part as yesterday - when I was talking about how I will never have kids … after the part where I say “monster chimera Voltron of innately fucked up human beings.” Both times, I had to stop because the audience just started…. CLAPPING. Freaked me out.
And I heard a girl at one of the front tables say “That’s hilarious.” during the applause. Awesome. I’m going to do this set for the rest of the week until Cole’s again Wednesday, so I’ll know for sure whether this is a THING that every audience will do when I get to that part.
I just didn’t expect clapping. The laughs are good though. There weren’t any weird/loud/late laughers at this one, but when someone performed a good set the audience was supposed to yell “Shots! Shots! Shots!” at the end. I was walking off and THEY DID IT. That was awesome. But again, I explained about the Prozac (I mention that I’m on SSRIs in that set, so it’s not like I’m just oversharing like a creep)… which the audience thought was funny, so yea.
ALSO - apparently blank expressions freak me out. (Note: everything freaks me out.) I know the audience won’t laugh through the whole thing because some of the stuff I say is just set up, but I honestly couldn’t look at anyone in the crowd because they were SO CLOSE, SO WELL-LIT, and in between laughing, their expressions were SO BLANK. It made me think I was messing up. Then I thought about my own face during the other people’s sets and realized I must have looked like hell just staring up at them. So… I will have to get used to that.
Another nice thing - four or five people from Cole’s the night before came up and were like “good set last night!”. That was cool. STILL, because my social anxiety REMAINS a battle - stand up or no stand up - I brooded in the corner not speaking to anyone AGAIN.
The Sully’s bartender Dan was nice though. Somehow he garnered without me telling him that I didn’t drink. I accidentally showed up an hour early (ugh) and he was really nice about the whole thing.
Two days in - I have a feeling a lot of this comedy thing is going to be me just explaining why I can’t drink.
I’ll take it. I may or may not be getting hooked.
But yea - Sully’s was pretty nice. I’ll probably go back next week!
My next goals are to change my set next week (how often do people usually do this?) and to actually… you know… talk to some people - and not lurk in the shadows.
Firstly, Cole’s was amazing. I can’t imagine there being a better place to try stand up for the first time. The hosts are hilarious. The room is supportive. It was seriously the best experience ever.
If I’d only had what I perceived from the stage to go on, I don’t know that I’d have been able to gauge how I’d done. I couldn’t tell what was happening from up there.
But according to the host, I killed! Which is great! I can’t pick apart what happened though. I can’t remember anyone’s faces - I can only remember this one guy I kept talking to directly. And the light. When I saw Adam put up the cellphone I was like OH RIGHT. Other than that, I really couldn’t say how it went one way or the other but for people’s reactions.
I don’t remember doing any of my transitions. At all. But I’m sure I did them because I got from one topic to the next… miraculously.
I didn’t have enough time to do my material for a few reasons:
My ride flaked at the LAST minute and I found out I was stranded about 10 minutes before I went up, so I ranted about that for about 2 of my 4 minutes - almost completely abandoning my material. I don’t know WHAT I said - something about being murdered on the train at 2am. Some stuff about the southside. Dante’s Inferno, being solicited to death by guys selling body oils, “stab past rape o’clock”, etc.
When I practiced my set, I hadn’t factored in audience reactions. The laughing AND CLAPPING (two applause breaks, which scared the shit out of me - it was like being slapped out of sleep) for some reason freaked me out. Why? I don’t know.
I mentioned having to go to the southside and these guys in the front started whooping. FREAKED ME OUT COMPLETELY! In retrospect - I get it - but in the moment, I was like HUH? What are they doing? I almost froze. I said something in response that got a laugh - but I can’t remember what it was.
And there were two guys - one on either side of the stage laughing REALLY hard/loud. When they laughed, it kind of shook me out of whatever trance I was in. It almost threw me off because I hadn’t even considered that I’d have to stop/slow down for laughter. Looking back - OF COURSE - but I didn’t think about that.
The two parts that got claps were unexpected - I mentioned that any kid I had would be a monster chimera Voltron of innately screwed up human beings - applause. Then at the end, I mentioned that I just wanted to try stand up and didn’t deserve to die on the train for that - applause.
Weirdest thing ever.
OH - and in the best bit of synchronicity, this guy I’ve been corresponding with online (from the AST forums, about comedy, Splitsider, writing, Chicago, etc) was there. It was his first night in Chicago and he saw my first time doing stand up. I gave him a big hug after he introduced himself as I was coming off stage. The host was saying something to me, but I totally missed it because I was so excited to see a non-familiar face. I sat in the corner for the most of the night brooding on a stool while two audience members made out between my legs. They were basically on top of me.
AND - my poor hair. MY POOR POOR HAIR. Out in the cold, it was big - but tame. After being smashed into a wall for almost 5 hours in a crowded, humid bar, it Chia-ed. It just KEPT EXPANDING. So I went up looking like Boy George circa Karma Chameleon, but no one seemed to think anything of it. My hair literally looked like a fuzzy triangular hat. Roseanne Rosannadanna incarnate.
The whole thing was so weird. And wonderful. And I loved it. I’m just trying to unpack the experience right now in this post. I’ve slept on it and am still trying to decide whether or not it was a dream.
The host - Adam Burke - said something when I was getting off stage about me using the word “chimera” in a joke - and that he never bought comics drinks, but wanted to buy me one. THAT WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT. I’ve been watching Adam Burke’s clips online for a while now and he’s great. I’m a big fan. So yea. That made my night.
I don’t drink, but I had a few sips of something that tasted like fruit before remembering that I’m on Prozac (with which alcohol is a BIG no no!) and gave the rest to Adam’s co-host, the very funny, adorable, enthusiastic Cameron Burke. She was INSANELY helpful… telling me which mics to go to every night of the week. But I think I was in a daze right after I got off because I don’t remember anything she said. Lotties, maybe?
And while I was talking to her, these people kept coming out of the back room into the bar area patting me on the shoulder like “YOU KILLED”. WHAT? DID I? I wish I’d have had a more accurate perception of what was happening while I was on stage… but it was such a blur.
Overall, the only bad part of this is that I wasn’t brave enough to try stand up sooner. I couldn’t have imagined how much fun I’d have or that I wouldn’t be the worst ever. I’m constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop and am an eternal pessimist, so anything that flies in the face of that feels awesome.