You’ll never guess what I did last night – unless I already told you about it, of course.
I finally screwed up what little courage I have and went to an open mic (my friend Mike resents the fact that people tend to shorten the word microphone to his name, so I’ll try to avoid that) to try my hand – or mouth, rather – at some stand-up.
My schedule being what it is, i.e., I can’t really get out until the kids are asleep, I had to pick something local. It turned out to be a lesbian bar. (Not that a building can have gender and concomitant sexual preference – no, not choice, Goedi, say sexual “drive” or “direction” or “inclination” or “reality.”)
If you ever have to try something new and slightly embarrassing, here’s my advice: DO IT IN A LESBIAN BAR.
Talk about your circle of healing and acceptance.
The host, Athena Reich, is super-sweet. Any and all acts get a warm welcome and an encouraging send-off. Sure, the critique factor is low, but when you’re exposing yourself for the first time, you don’t necessarily want your heart carved out right away.
So when Julie asked me how my first open mic went, I had to say, “I’m not sure it was really an open mic. They were too nice.”
Of course I made tons of rookie mistakes. Bumbling, looking at notes, and nervously appealing for mercy because it’s my first time being the least of them. The material I wrote was – I thought – tailored to a lesbian crowd.
But no, it turns out it was tailored to a crowd of my imagined high-school and college friends (male of course) and how we might imagine stand-up would sound in a lesbian bar. During the week the bar looks like it’s frequented by all sorts of lesbians, butch, femme, earth-mother, and folksy-artsy. There are probably more, since they’re really all unique individuals, but comedy (as far as I can tell) deals in broad strokes, so there you go. The open mic night is frequented by the folksy-artsy type, mostly, so my little jokes about the mechanic-type lesbian looking like a pubescent redneck boy and the irony thereof got scratched of my little set list right away.
Really, my whole set was saved by Julie. In absentia, even, she is my saving angel. See, I recorded it so I could learn from it – hopefully. And because I figure that nothing I do on stage should be a secret, I told them that I’m recording it for my wife so she could partake as well, etc. I thought of it merely as an ice-breaker, but all of a sudden they all went, “Hi, Julie!” And the ice – as well as my proverbial stage-hymen – was broken.
So now I need to rework my set to emphasize any natural cuteness I might possess. Because, let’s face it, I’m not a d**k-joke comic. (“Finger- and tongue-joke, maybe,” as I said last night and faced a bunch of blank stares.)
The timely thing is Halloween. I’ll try to think of some Halloween jokes. ‘Cause, yeah, I’m going back, baby!