Following Helen Hunt

Sunday. The Improv Space. 10 o’clock.

I was sick as a dog. I had called in sick that same day. Coughing. Mucous. A little less sneezing still stifled breathing. Chills. Overall ick.

I called in for work but didn’t think twice about cancelling a show. I had a cup of hot chamomile and a cigarette that I pulled from my hair. I was as ready as I was ever going to be.

The crowd was good to me and after the show a friend mentioned to me that my presentation was what sold it. They said I looked like I could care less which was couldn’t have been more opposite but the point was my jokes were recieved like a good connecting combination of jabs in a boxing round.

I treated that show more like a job than I can care to separate it from others.

A strange thing has happened in recent weeks, something along with this summer, that has taken hold of my way for delivery. I don’t know if it’s something that comes along at the point of a comedian’s path to the point where I find myself now but recently I’ve found myself easily writing in the voice of my peers, separate from my own and not on stage, but just at home and in my head; and I’m wondering if this is just a natural intersection.

Like my brain is bored with my own habit of formulating so it’s created these challenges to supplement my own work.

In a breakdown, if I like a comic, I watch their material. Familiarize. And when the tone sticks, I use it and push the same tone as far as I can until I understand it then I discard it and move on. It’s not so much emulation as it is a tool that my mind seems fixated on utilizing. It’s like I’m absorbing they’re tactics. Like playing a video game and only using Ryu or Chun Li. Knowing when to pause, use cadence, dig deeper or strattle that line that makes people call you a devil’s advocate. Catching whatever it is that draws me to like that comic. In the end of the video game, there’s always a character that unlocks that hosts the greatest pieces of every character seen before. Cammy’s cannon drill, Guy’s sonic boom. The Apocalypse of X-men if we can jump to Marvel vs Capcom.

All I’m learning is that I like structure. I don’t mind missing a belly laugh out the gate, but I also know that’s important in a set overall. Pay attention is what you want to tell the crowd. But once you’ve got it then what? Being yourself and guiding the listeners to thoughts I have is what I want, no matter how far disconnected that may be. The challenge here is relating.

This post was brought to you by Nyquil.

Lestat’s

I did a show for Christian Spicer and Rajan Dharni. On the bill, Zach Fairness and Moses Storm.

I shot for 15 min, but hit 18 min.

Let’s break it down.

Opening with self deprication will always get a laugh.

I talked about this UC Santa Barbara shooting and the phrase “too soon” came to mind. “Too soon” will always restrain progress so I did it anyway. Big laugh. My new favorite joke and favorite direction.

Safe LA jokes.

Personal jokes. The human body and brain. I mentioned that on block my neighbors call me “young old man”. I also said it’s probably reflective of my behavior. On my block I’m anti-social. In retrospect, I’d like to take that back. It’s not that I’m anti-social, it’s just that on my block my neighbor murdered his wife.* Feel me? I’m “young old man” because I keep to myself and don’t hang outside but to leave.

Lighter nerd joke.

Another personal joke that should have been introduced on the backbone of living in neighborhoods where crime and drugs are heavy. The crackhead who lived outside my window.

Then a new joke which may tie for new favorite. New but old and also told at my last visit to Lestat’s. Rewritten of course because had it not, it wouldn’t have gone well.

I mention being biracial with opposing sides cause I’m mulatto fun yal. Real niggas hate white people, fake white folk hate niggas; and being in this spot, I often find myself being the inside man. Either side will send me on these missions into the threshold of the other. Often stereotypical. This is the direction that gives me edge.

This joke I had only done once and just the day before. Normally a rule for me has been don’t introduce a new joke at a show. Save it for the open mic. Wait til it’s ready. But this joke was just truth so there was nothing to work out. Big laugh. Nothing to polish. That being said, it can always stand polish. Sausage. Jokes for days.

Another self depreciated joke.

Got the light for 2 min.

Jumped into characters which only now I started doing as part of finishing up especially if it’s a long set for a show. I have a few that I can rely on, a very small few, but they’re all the same tone and heavy on corn and sharp wordplay.

Alex Trebec spitting game at the bar and a mature Pillsbury Doughboy.

Usually the game becomes how many of these can I do before they, the crowd, gets tired. That day they only gave me a pass for two.

I started using a sort of PSA to close out my set now. Not very entertaining if you watch me all the time, but good enough for shows. It’s taken me a while to find something to end on that’s round and solid. The joke itself talks about smoking and hits enough for me to make comment and add the tag that goes inward on myself.

"That joke will always kill, but it will always kill me more."

I get off stage as this sort of preacher who just delivered his sermon which doesn’t bother me at all. My pops, being one, has certainly left an impression on my rhetoric that should be my focus more often simply because it’s what sets me apart.

* http://edition.cnn.com/2014/05/20/showbiz/shield-actor-michael-jace-homicide-charge/