Wednesday, May 25, 2005

"It's Getting Better All The Time..."

Good night. Start to finish. Had dinner at my usual table, saw Louie Anderson in the lobby (thought he'd be performing in the first show, but that didn't happen), got comp'd into the first show (Thanks, Bob), got a compliment from the manager (Bob told me I'm their best open miker... and even though I don't consider myself an "open miker" in the truest sense, I do appreciate the compliment... especially since a lot of the comics doing the open mic in Hollywood aren't really "open mikers", either), once again got a good spot (#7... Thanks again, Bob), had a good set, had several people compliment me after the set (and one of those people offered me the opportunity to do 3 minutes for a comedy CD, to be recorded at the Comedy Store).

I apologize for the above punctuation mess... though it shouldn't really matter much... in this stream-of-consciousness mode. Back to the stream...

A door closes, and other doors open. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

On the one hand, I feel really good about this evening. But keeping balance in mind, I'm not jumping-up-and-down-happy. Even keel. Not too high, and not too low. It sure does feel good, but I can't let it go to my head. I can't let it make me complacent. Exactly the opposite has to happen. Pedal to the metal. The time to work harder is when things are going well.

It'll be a trip going back to the Comedy Store after all of these years. Funny stuff. Once again, like with the Hollywood Improv, I'm walking backwards. A little over a year ago, my sights weren't set towards Hollywood. I was invited, in order to get a shot at Irvine (as you may recall from previous blog posts). Now, I've been offered a chance to circumvent the open mic process at the Comedy Store. We'll see what happens. Don't know if it's legit. For now, I'll assume it is. No big deal one way or the other. It's just another door creaking open. And I'm looking forward to going back to the Hollywood Store with a totally different attitude. I never did like going to that place "back in the day". Now I feel ready to walk through their doors with my head high. It may only be a one-time deal, or it may lead to other things.

You never know.

Maybe next Monday, I'll find out.

It was a good night.

"Now it's time to say goodnight..."

Monday, May 23, 2005


After weeks of checking to see if my name had been added to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), when I checked today, it was there! This isn't exactly about comedy (which this blog is "supposed" to be about). Nonetheless, I just had to mention it. In a way, it has something to do with my stand-up pursuits, since everything is connected. I found out that I could submit my name after stumbling into some "uncredited" listings for Flip Schultz (an Improv comic who's blog I've been reading). Their submission guidelines said that they generally don't give an uncredited listing unless an actor has at least one credited role. It was the word "generally" that made me say, "What the heck?!".

A friend at work (we'll call him Lawrence, because that's his name... as you may remember from a previous post) was about as excited as me about my new IMDb entry. So was my oldest daughter, Autumn. My wife went, "Oh... so... I've been thinking about going to the Street Scene this year". I keep forgetting that there are some things I shouldn't share with my wife. She's cool about me peforming, but really isn't interested in the details. I should leave well enough alone, be happy that she's supportive (to a point), and bite my tongue when it comes to the details. It's tough, because she and I usually talk about everything. Show biz is just something she's put in her past, and doesn't want to talk about.

As for me, I'm back in the saddle again, and riding higher all the time. The next goal related to the movies is to get a screen credit. Perhaps I'll need to get some auditions one of these days? Mmmmyeah... that might help. Don't want to wait for those door-to-door talent scouts to find me here in Oceanside. That strategy didn't pan-out back in 1991. There's no reason to think it would work in 2005.

Before setting my sights on movie auditions, I've got to stay focused on marketing myself as a stand-up. I'm heading to Hollywood again tomorrow, and probably next Tuesday, too. Even though they aren't doing the Improv Booking Showcases anymore (stay tuned for a new process), I still need to keep chipping away. If nothing else, it's stagetime. And you never know what else might happen. On June 2nd, I've got another spot at Martini Blues. This time, it's in a competition... on a Thursday night. It will be the closest I've come to a weekend since returning to stand-up. And it could dovetail into other gigs.

In a way, I have a lost opportunity to thank... or maybe not "thank". Yeah, forget that sentiment. I'm the one that chose to take a couple of my eggs out of the one basket they'd been sitting in. Forget thanking the person who's not being... professional? No need to look for synoyms or euphemysms... but I will. I may not "need" to. But I will. The point is that when one door closes, several more open. The person who's name I'm avoiding using here did me a favor... in a way. But no thanks are due. He didn't do me a favor on purpose. Enough said. Maybe more than enough said. Maybe not enough said. Enough said?

The snowball is growing... slowly but surely.

Did I mention that I'm in the IMDb?

Joe [tittering like a little schoolgirl]: Tee hee hee...

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Mental Preparation

It was a good night. And I owe it all to mental preparation. A few people in the audience and a #4 spot were frosting on the cake. Before the actual performing happened, it just all felt good. I went to sleep last night with the "proper" attitude, and it carried through the day today. At work, I was carrying myself in a deliberately confident manner... like an "as if" acting exercise. Whaddya know... act the part, and you become the part. Days like this make it all seem so simple. Aside from major catastrophes in life, most of what happens is about "choice". Attitude is part of choice. Today was proof. Tonight was gravy.

Said a few words to Flip Schultz just before heading back from Hollywood. I think I may have startled him at first. No big deal. I just hit him with an abrupt non-sequitor when I spotted him coming back into the lobby from the showroom. "I LIKE YOUR BLOG!", I blurted. The look on his face indicated that he was taken aback a bit. Then we proceeded to share a few words before I left. Hopefully, he doesn't think I'm some kind of stalker. Again, as my dad has told me for most of my life... I think too much. But hey, if I didn't think too much... I wouldn't be pursuing a career in Hollywood, would I?

Who knows why some other people perform up there. Not for me to determine. But I had an interesting conversation with one of the doormen up there, who also teaches at Pepperdine, and has a minor in Psychology. He wondered why some people would get up on stage week after week, bombing with the same jokes, and not change anything. He quoted the old definition of insanity: "...repeating the same thing and hoping for different results". I counter-quoted with a line from "American Beauty": "Never underestimate the power of denial". I'm sure the psychology behind crappy performers has been the subject of a few Psychology Theses. If not, it should be. There's a never-ending supply of people showing up in Hollywood... some good, and some really sucky. The allure is obvious. How some people can think they're so good when they're not is beyond me. I'll fight the urge to put myself in that category. Old habits die hard (namely, inaccurate self-ridicule). I know when I suck. With that fact in mind, there's still hope.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Long Layoff from Hollywood

On Tuesday, I'm planning on returning to the Hollywood Improv for the first time since April 12. That's a long layoff, compared to the rhythm of the past several months. Compared to the break I took from stand-up prior to a couple of years ago, five weeks is a blink of an eye.

So, is it a long layoff or not?

And, more importantly, what difference does it make?

Long or short, it will feel good to head up there again. Funny, isn't it? Last year, I didn't want to go up there. Now, I have a hard time staying away.

Of course, Hollywood and I are "just friends". We have no plans for a serious relationship.


That's what my wife and I both said when we first started dating...

Fifteen years and two kids ago.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

I Spell Relief "S-T-A-G-E-T-I-M-E"

Once again, just a little dose under the spotlight was all it took. A month away has now melted away. I'm a comic again. Okay, I'm always a comic... but it sure feels like I'm more of a comic right after a show.

I'll tell you more about the room in another post.

It's past my bedtime.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Performance Anxiety

I'm chanting the mantra from yesterday's reminder ("Have fun, have fun, have fun, have fun..."), but it doesn't make the anxiety go away. It's just something that goes with the territory. Part of a classic love-hate relationship. Man, I love performing... but I hate this feeling in my gut.

Action is usually the best cure. On the way up to Martini Blues, I'll be able to relieve some of this gnawing feeling by running my act over-and-over. And even the simple act of moving closer to the club should also bring things down to a more pleasant level.

Adrenaline is fine. Jitters are fine. Getting excited is fine.

But this constant buzz of anxiety can be a bit annoying.

Once again, it goes with the territory.

I've never had a good performance without feeling like this to some degree. In fact, it's hard for me to even remember the handful of times when I was totally relaxed before a show. All I know is that it didn't work out too well. Maybe on those occasions, I was fooling myself into thinking that I somehow "had it licked". As if anybody can every "conquer" this thing...

Whatever "this thing" is.

The bottom line (if there has to be one... and apparently there does) is that I'm looking forward to tonight. Ironically, that's where the anxiety comes from. My favorite definition of anxiety is that it's "the distance between where you are and where you want to be". Right now, I'm sitting at my desk in the daytime at work... and I want to be standing on stage in the nighttime at Martini Blues.

[deep breath]

It'll happen soon enough. I don't want to wish my life away. Not even a few hours of it. So, back to work...

Monday, May 09, 2005

Reminder: Have Fun

Why do I always have to keep reminding myself about stuff? Such is life, I suppose.

Tomorrow night, I'm going up for the first time in almost a month. The bottom line...

Have fun.

That's it. Nothing else. Prepare... sure. Fine. Prepare. Got it. Go over some stuff, get the attitude right, etc., etc., etc. But in the end, there's only one thing to do...

Have fun.

Now my work here is done.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Vacation from Work and Performing

Haven't been to work in 10 days.

Haven't been on stage in 26 days... unless you count my schmaltzy (sp?) performance of "I Left My Heart In San Francisco" on the bus while leaving San Francisco last week.

Count it or not. No matter. If we stick with "the world is my stage" philosophy, I haven't missed a day yet.

This Tuesday, I'll be going up to Martini Blues for the first time. It will be nice to get some of my eggs out of the proverbial "one basket". Whether or not this new basket will be a nice place for my eggs remains to be seen. What's the worst that can happen? So, I break a couple of eggs. Big deal. There's plenty more where they came from.

Speaking of nonsense...

Believe it or not, I'm at a loss for words. Time to go to sleep, and dream that my first day back at work might actually be pleasant. Who am I kidding? Of course it won't be pleasant. Or was that "of course it _will_ be pleasant"? Now I remember. It's up to me. Geez. When will I remember that without forgetting it? Probably the day I die, if I'm lucky. Of course, how lucky could I be on the day I die? Depends on how you look at it, I suppose. And now, I suppose, it's time to stop this nonsense. Of course, there's plenty more of this nonsense to be had on another day. I just want to stop this particular dose of this nonsense.

So much for being at a loss for words.

But then, you didn't believe me in the first place, did you?

Smart kid.

Now get outta here.

I mean it, you knucklehead!