Thursday, June 23, 2016

Throwback Thursday: My First Attempt At Standup Comedy.

"Just ask me and I'll show you the scars" ~ Bob Dylan

This piece was written and posted in July 2010...

So I did a short stand up routine last night at the Dubh Linn, an Irish Pub here in downtown Duluth. It was "open mic" night, which they do every other Monday I guess. I've been scribbling ideas for comedic material the past month since getting bit by the bug. My goal was to assemble a modest routine and take a stab at it in January. But hey, things don't always go as planned. When I walked into the room, the MC asked if I were going to perform. It seemed like I was the only one there who wasn't, so I caved in. That's how peer pressure works.

Sometimes when you have insomnia your mind travels down rather amusing tributaries. One night, while doing a little mental rambling, I began cultivating humorous anecdotes about my various scars. I figured that if I talked about my scars it would be enough material to fill a routine.

My real aim was just to see what it was like standing on the stage with a bright light in your face. It's a little different than your living room. More like an interrogation scene at a 1950's cop station.

I began with that very painful scar which I received on my heart when my father called me stupid in front of the whole neighborhood. Actually, I introduced this story by talking about the Darwin Awards, which are famously given to people who do really dumb things and eliminate themselves from the gene pool. Well, in listening to an audio book about the fourth annual Darwin Awards, the very first story is about a guy who jumped out of a moving car.

Whoa. Now, you probably think that's stupid. He was killed, and it was certainly a dumb thing to do. But when I did it, and I was twelve at the time, jumping out of a convertible on the way home from a Little League game, when I did it, it sure didn't seem that stupid to me at the time. I just thought I would hop right out and trot up onto the yard and say hello to the girl I liked and I would be very cool. To my surprise, I slammed into the asphalt like a wet noodle being whipped against a table. Except there were these large limestone rocks and gravel there, which made the experience a tad less palatable. It was at this point that my father came running across the yard shouting, "You stupid!" Followed by a less shrill, "You could have been killed."

About forty-five years later, I'm ready to acknowledge that sometimes dads are right. Duh.

It took me quite a while to get over that emotional hurt. Needless to say, I don't think Robin was as impressed as I'd hoped she would be.

As for the rest of my scars, or rather, my routine... Well, according to the limited feedback I received I have to shorten my setups. I could also probably use some punch lines. Some funny material would help a little, too.

We'll keep you posted.

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Do you have a funny story you'd like to share? What's the stupidest thing you've ever done that you're willing to talk about? If you're reading this, I'm happy that it didn't kill you.

Meantime... life goes on.

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