The hardest part of this equation is herding 140 sheep to the door, 60 of which are drunk sheep. They must exit through the side door and not the front, but there will be at least 20 wayward sheep trying to exit through the front. We slaughter them.
Then you have stragglers. Some people stay in hopes of meeting the comedian, and these are usually the kind of people who really like being told “No”. Once a couple just kissed until they were the last two people in the room and were asked to leave.fri. I still think of them. They could be stitched together now. I hope so.
It’s a nightly reminder that stand-up is a brutally difficult art form
I still have thought stand-up was tough, but now that I’ve worked in a club and watched night after night, I to know how hard it is. Much like being an astronaut, most people look at comedians and think, “I could do that.” Ok, maybe replace “mercenary” with “astronaut”.
Stand-up comedy is downright bizarre. One person comes up and does their best to make a room full of people laugh. Sounds like some weird medieval punishment. With few exceptions, it’s a person, a microphone, their thoughts, and the audience. There’s no one else on stage to bail you out like in a shitty improv show. If you’re dying, you’re dying, and the only way to get better is to keep dying until you stop dying. Then probably start dying again.
But really, it’s so much more than telling funny jokes. It’s about delivery, specific word choices, timing, tone, and everything in between. Plus, failure is part of the gig, and accepting failure is easier said than done.
In his book, Is it something? Jerry Seinfeld wrote, “The real problem with stand-up, of course, is that you constantly have to justify why you’re the only one talking when a room full of people is sitting quietly.” He has several other picture-perfect characterizations of art, but as a nighttime viewer, this one resonates the most.
Someone killing on stage always makes me wonder how that’s even possible. With every good joke, I can’t help but think how someone’s mind can find something so funny.
And then I start thinking again that I will become a mercenary.
So this is it. These are things I learned as a wide-eyed Huckleberry working in a comedy club. Now please keep table conversations to a minimum and remember we have a seven drink minimum.
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