Thursday, January 05, 2006

Open Mic last night

I went to the open mic at the Miramar Theatre last night and had a nice time. As far as my own routine went, I have no complaints. I didn’t stammer or pause in search for words, nor did I screw up any segues leading to different bits of the routine. My routine went smoothly. I received less laughs than I did the first time, but that was because instead of performing for over 100 people, the room was “packed” with about ten other comedians. I did get some laughs; just not as many and not as for long as the first time. This did not bother me as I expected it upon surveying the room. I was heartened to see one gangsta’-looking black dude doubled over laughing at a lot of my lines. There's a big difference between perfunctory chuckles and real laughter, and in such an intimate setting, you can see the difference.

A little over half the comedians were black. I found myself heckling some of the other comedians in a good-natured manner, and think I got just as many laughs from my heckles and banter with guys on stage than I did from when I was up there. Nobody heckled me, but I think that had partly to do with the fact that my routine is polished to the extent that I keep going and don’t pause or stammer, thus giving a heckler less of an opening.

This was a totally different experience from the time on stage primarily because it was held in a small room and thus much more intimate. There was no spotlight blinding me from seeing the crowd. I could look everybody in the eye. The microphone was a prop, if anything, because the space was so small it was really not needed. I think this was why there was more heckling. Actually, I was the biggest heckler, I think. I wasn’t a mean heckler. Anything I said was usually going along with whatever the comedian on stage was saying; not making fun of them, but joking along with them. That inter-comedian banter and general jovial atmosphere of the little room was what made the experience enjoyable.

There was one female comic. She was a late 20’s or 30 something black woman whom I thought was pretty funny. I appreciate comedians who can make fun of difficult things in their lives, and she did a pretty good job of making jokes about growing under an abusive, ignorant mother. Her routine followed mine and I think she liked my stuff. She would make up names for the people in the crowd; nothing harsh, but just little monikers, like “Hey you sweata’ man” for a dude in a big fluffy sweater. Or in the case of my friend Kevin who came with me, “Brady” in the sense that he’s clean cut and must have seemed to her like the quintessential upright uptight white American that the Brady’s represented. But me? She called me Sly Stone. I said, “Sly Stone? I don’t even have my afro any more.” [As an aside, I didn’t cut my hair for a year once, and had a huge puffy fro]. She said something like, “But you cool tho, you Sly Stone.” Cool with me. Better than being called Screech or Alfred E Neuman.

All in all I had fun, it was a learning experience, and I still want to keep doing this. I enjoy the atmosphere of being at open mics or comedy shows. Even if many or most of the comedians are not funny, it’s the jovial nature of everybody and the general goofing around that attracts me and makes it fun.

When I was a kid and started weightlifting I was at first intimidated to ask big muscle dudes workout questions. I soon found most were happy and enthusiastic to answer my questions and give me information. It’s the same so far with the comedians I’ve met. Most are more than happy to talk about the inevitable bad shows everybody has at times (and that you can’t let it get you down), where other open mics are; they are glad to trade phone numbers and emails and to give any advice in general.

With that said, let's not forget about Ariel Sharon, a true hero of Israel and the Jewish people and one of the best modern-day generals of all times.


Blogger airforcewife said...

Zak, I'm sure you're hilarious (and there's not a trace of sarcasm there, either). If you can get some verbal repartee without stammering, you've got a talent.

I think wanting to talk about jobs you love is universal. Come ask my husband about HUMINT sometime - he'll have you listening for about a year and a half, then he'll make you look at his Iraq pictures AGAIN. Then he'll give you the most god-forsaken tips in manipulating people to give up info (and they don't involve water torture, sacks over the head, or nekkidness and dog leashes, either).

Arik is definately in my thoughts - particularly since what I've read about Olmert (sp?).

10:40 AM  
Blogger semite1973 said...

Cool-- I'd love to meet your husband. He could talk my head off all he likes as I'd be completely interested (no sarcasm). My mom's best friend's husband was a life long reservist and once he showed me his pictures from Bosnia. His wife was all, "Don't bore those boys with your pictures." But I thought it was cool as hell!

Anyway, I've spent yesterday and part of today interviewing people for a story I'm working on. And even though I'm not trying to locate important intel, I'm still extracting information from people. Maybe some of his techniques could be helpfull.

11:32 AM  
Blogger semite1973 said...


What neck of the woods are you living in (if you want to divulge that information)? I'm just asking because if I'm ever in your neck of the woods, I'd love to meet you and your family.


11:33 AM  
Blogger airforcewife said...

zak - you would be welcome at any time. We are in New Jersey, near Philadelphia.

8:41 PM  
Blogger semite1973 said...

Cool. I will certainly alert you to any trips east in the future.

7:25 AM  

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