[Pre-Gig: First time doing gig for Lynn Epstein. TBD minutes. Planned = new "standard" set... all material... cut & pasted from 7/12/05, added back the not-so-clean stuff... & some rordering. Feed this back into new "standard".]
Like my previous blog post, this is also being written a couple of weeks after the fact (7/29/05). I've got a few minutes to play catch-up, and didn't want to lose some of this "historical" context.
Before the gig, I hung out at the beach for a while, then wandered across the street from the beach, and into the library. That was a unique experience. The library in Laguna overlooks the ocean. It was actuallly a partial ocean view (to use hotel terminology), which was a first for me. With a lot of time to kill, I found a book by Stella Adler ("The Technique of Acting)", and sat in a comfortable chair, facing a large window overlooking the ocean. I plowed through half of the book before it was time to head over to the club, and made a note that I needed to own that book. When I said there was a lot of time to "kill", that was a misnomer. I didn't kill the time. I made good use of it.
The gigs at Brea and Laguna were on consecutive days, which hadn't happened since my previous stint as a comic back in the 20th century. It was a good week. I got to stretch my legs in Brea (15 minutes), and follow it up on the next day with another gig (8 minutes).
It's still not nearly enough work to get in a really good groove, but sure beats the heck out of the sparse scheduling I had last year. Step-by-step... brick-by-brick...
I've finally realized that I can't limit myself exclusively to the "good" clubs and "good" audiences. For one thing, that's all relative. Who's to say what's "good"? And who did I think I was, thinking that I could develop my act by only waiting around for the "good" rooms?
Live and learn.
The thing about rooms like the Laguna Beach Brewing Company is that they're not easy. It was a small room, with a handful of tables, and a capicity of maybe 25 to 30 people. The ambient lighting was a reddish hue, and there was no spotlight. There was no elevated stage. We stood on the same floor the customers were sitting on.
With all of those factors working against us, the good comics still got laughs.
It was a good reminder to me. When I watched the comics who are further along than I am, it reminded me that if it's good, it's good. My act had limited success. I didn't die, but I didn't kill, either. A couple of the comics smoked the room... at least, as much as you can smoke in a room of 25 to 30 people.
Speaking of the people, they were great. There were a lot of regular customers there, and they were there to have fun.
Bottom line... I need to keep focusing on being "good", rather than looking for "good" rooms. If it's good, it's good.
Sure, there are limits to that logic. But mostly, the "bad" rooms are the ones that are filled with comics, and those have to be kept in perspective. You do rooms full of comics for different reasons than you do rooms with paying customers. And as long as I keep focusing on my abilities and development, there's something to be learned from every room... good or bad.
So, I'm looking forward to returning to the Laguna Beach Brewing Company. Next time, I'm going to approach it with a lot more confidence. I shot myself in the foot. It was the first time I'd done a room like that in a lot of years. I never found my footing. Next time, I'm going to connect more with the audience, and own the room. I can't control the reaction of the crowd, but I can control my attitude. And "owning" the room is about confidence. It's not about "killing". It's about control. Stay in control, no matter what. And even though I didn't feel like I totally lost control during my set in Laguna, I was a bit timid. And afterwards, I was talking to one of the comics (Bernadette), and heard myself making excuses about the lighting and the sound system. That was BS. The room was fine. The crowd was friendly.
Next time, no excuses.