There was only one other writer at rehearsal last week, so as we talked to the reporter we got to know each other a little bit.
She asked me if I'd ever done stand-up and I shook my head and told her I was perfectly happy being the funny guy in the office. She said she'd tried it a few times herself, with mixed results, and we agreed the audience is just as crucial as the material.
This was the email I got on Tuesday:
I'm extending an invitation to X----x X---x for the open mic stand up comedy pity fest this evening. 8pm. It will be terrible. Bring a friend/groupie/lover with you. I'll be there.
I tried to get out of it almost immediately.
Driving downtown is a pain in the ass, with all the one-way streets and nowhere to park. It was a bar, not a comedy club, so no cover charge, no two drink minimum.
She mentioned she had a coupon for free chips and salsa and I told her I'd be there.
Were there a dozen comedians? The whole evening was a blur, an unfunny parade of sweaty, angry men trying to explain their jokes to a silent audience. Ouch. A couple dug into their pockets for fresh material. More than one simply stopped mid-joke and said, "forget it."
I may not have laughed at the jokes, but I certainly wasn't laughing at the performers, either. I know how tough it is to get up in front of an audience and wring giggles from strangers.
On the plus side: beers were $3.
There's another open mic tonight.