Everyone at home asks what I’m up to. It’s hard to tell them. There are things I’m working on, and things I’m putting off, and things I’m just trying not to forget about.
The good news: our sketch group has a new website. We’re working on new material – new videos, a live show. It’s really exciting stuff, but somehow hard to relay to the folks.
They hear you’re doing comedy, and it sits in a box. When you’re from a small town, that box is the one that Larry the Cable Guy DVDs come in. I can’t blame them, but at the same time I can’t seem to figure out how to tell them otherwise.
So when I’m at the bar the other night, and the kitchen’s closed and it’s just the nice familiar chitchat that you only find in small towns where everyone’s known each other forever, the guy who runs the bar is asking when I’m going to do a show for him.
I haven’t done standup in awhile. It’s the thing I’m trying not to forget. I’m rusty, and my material isn’t really tailored for this sort of audience…and no one is there to see a show. They don’t want to stop talking, don’t want to get interrupted by some guy with long hair and a beard and black-framed glasses. And it’s loud in there, and I don’t have a mic…
But then he offers to pay me. “Just eight minutes” he says. And I think it’s all bluster, but the next thing I know, the money’s on the table, and I’m scribbling out my first setlist since probably August, and he puts some tables together, and I’m standing on top of them telling my jokes.
It’s hard to tell how it went. I thought it was terrible. A couple of laughs and requests to speak up, a lot of confused glances, and some of those people I’ve known since forever – Dad’s friends mostly – yelling stuff up at the stage. And halfway through, everyone’s back to talking amongst themselves, and my first homecoming performance, I’ve bombed. A couple of guys – the ones I didn’t know – told me on my way out that they liked it, that it was gutsy, that people were just drunk and they couldn’t hear too good. But I wanted to kill it. To show them that I can do something they can’t.
So I don’t know if they’ll have me back, or if I’ll have to beg for them to let me, but I’m going to give it a shot. Because this is what I’ve set out to do, and if I let it slip away…well going home is only going to get harder.
Besides, he still paid me. I could really get used to that.