About the Genius

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Seattle, WA, United States
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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Free Wine (for me) Comedy Night

I was asked to "headline" a winery's corporate dinner this last Sunday. I use the bunny ears here because I only did around 30 minutes. That's not a headlining set. Doesn't really matter; I don't think I'm ready to headline officially, yet. You need more than just 45 minutes (which I think I might have, if I stretch), you really need an act. It needs an opening, middle, and end, just like a good story. I don't think I'm a good story, at least not a full length one. At this point, I think I'm a good short story; a short film you'd like, but aren't sure if it has the staying power to be feature length. I'm not trying to be hard on myself, just realistic. I want to be a strong feature, twice over, before attempting headlining. That is why this year's goal was two 30 minute sets. I don't know where I am with this year's resolution, as I've been busy and lazy and haven't taken the time to actually count up all my "good" jokes. Just writing as much as I can (which isn't much lately since I really like sleeping more these days).

So ya, back to the show. We'll fast forward to my set, but before we go there, I should say that I spent the first hour of the show waiting in the winery showroom. I looked at all the bottles, gifts, food, and behind every door labeled "Wine Club Members Only". This was all part of my master plan which was if my material didn't go well, I could just switch into improving about the winery. You can probably guess what comes up next, my material didn't work. I think the audience was a little fed up with hearing about single comics complaining about being single. So onto the improv.

I've been practicing corporate comedy at these non-profit comedy shows at the Comedy Underground the last couple of weeks. I've pushed myself to do as much material I could about the non-profit. Material that was funny but still in good taste. Exercising this comedy muscle paid off I think. I did about 15 minutes of straight (slightly prewritten) improv with the winery employees. It was great. All of the pent up things I always wanted to say to a winery owner finally had a chance to come out, and they loved it. I especially liked equating their wine club to an adult website. Got the light and thought "oh crap, how am I going to wrap this up?". Ended up doing a small joke from my act and then thanked them before leaving the stage (which was a dance floor set up at ground level).

After the show I drank a couple glasses of cab sav, received a bottle of wine for my trouble (I think I get paid for reals on Thursday), and drove (safely) home. Now if only my written material was that funny. We'll see, I'm going to try one of the "improved" jokes tonight at the open mic. Let's see if we can't add it to one of the 30s.

2 comments:

  1. Great story, Brian! The wine club = adult website idea sounds inspired.

    I keep having a problem, in my writing, that it looks like you might be encountering, too: that the present and past participles of "to improv" are technically written as "improving" and "improved" -- which on the page (or screen) looks like forms of "improve," and sets off all my grammar nerd klaxons whenever I write it out. I like your idea of using bunny ear quotes, but let's talk about this further the next time we see each other. Something Must Be Done.

    Cheers,
    CJ

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