LITTLE REID, BIG CITY #10
Hey there, “reiders.”
That is now how these actually begin.
I am indeed a little Reid, and this city is indeed big, but who knew such a big thing could fit in such a little thing’s heart? This is a very cute way of saying I’ve been enjoying New York a fuck-ton lately. The method just employed was the ruder adversary to the previous cuteness. But both ring true! New York has been a kind mistress –I navigate her salty streets with familiarity (5 months worth now!), shows have been going well and friendships are springing like soft fleshy flowers (fleshy because people are made of meat). The winter is fairly harsh here, but no more than what I’ve been used to from the Midwest; a good coat and some boots and a floppy-eared hat can go a long way.
My biggest goal with comedy the last few weeks has been what I call “professional apathy.” Though I feel like my material has mostly been going over well at the mics and occasional shows, I’ve still struggled with accepting worse shows. They hurt me, not physically, but mentally, like a bully who bullies through riddles. Professional apathy is my strived-for cure to this: professionalism towards the means, apathy towards the result. I can’t hang some kind of emotional significance on every show, I need to be hardened and accept I will simply suck at plenty, but I need to be professional enough to accept this and still put forward my best effort. Employing this has gone well, and oddly I’ve been having better shows, perhaps because of it. Of course there are exceptions –I ended one show by threatening to punch a woman (a heckler to be fair) “in the fucking face” outside the bar. This made things weird. I am currently debating whether or not this was professional –but I do believe it was fairly apathetic. Huzzah!
Beyond that my biggest efforts have been on ironing out and improving my feature set. I can easily meet the time requirement (20 to 30 minutes) with material I not only think works but also is something I feel represents me in the way I want to be seen. I’ve made a detailed list of the jokes that would fit in the set, and rated each on how much more polished they need to be, how clean they are (not that I want a wholly clean set, but it shouldn’t all be TV unfriendly), and how likely an audience would actually enjoy it. Some jokes are A –just about any audience would be able to laugh at them. Thankfully, few others are C –they need a hell of a lot of trust in order to be enjoyed. A lot are Bs, but I can work with Bs, and probably enjoy them personally a lot more: why should the audience be able to casually enjoy a show? They should be challenged to enjoy what they would more often think of as “odd” or perhaps “stupid.”
Of course, as I make some jokes better, the ones I thought were improved now seem frighteningly lacking, but I’m making good progress. I also tonight just got booked to perform at a local coffee shop/performance venue (The Waltz Astoria –a favorite writing spot of Ted Alexandro :O) to do a 25-minute set at a show in February. That much time is hard to come by for someone at my level in New York, so I’m looking forward to getting to try out my feature set in front of a real crowd at a real show. This paragraph will end the same as a previous one: Huzzah!
Next week: A peek into the methods I use to deal with unemployment: “A lot of people consider toothpaste a conspiracy –cut out unnecessary costs! Q: what’s cheaper than fresh fruits and vegetables? A: not eating any fruits or vegetables.”