Good? Bad? No, Wait…What’s the Last One?
What’s worse than doing nothing but new material to test the waters on it? Going up first and doing it. Bit of a miscommunication between me and Mister last night. He brought me up first and all I had was a list of new stuff that I wanted to give a first kick at to see if it’d fly or not. Initial reports are fair, but writing must be done. Dead silence for a chunk of time. Tried to salvage it with something tried and true near the end, but by that time, the audience (14 comics and 5 civilians or so) were so numb from me bashing them with the only blunt instruments at my disposal were staring at me with a look of disbelief like the performance of “A Streetcar Named Desire” that they sat down for had suddenly been replaced by a Ronco rotisserie infomercial. So I did what any comic worth his salt would do. Left to a round of applause the likes you’d hear when two hippos are trying to have an exquisitely lazy shag. Truthfully I did go up with the expectation of not doing well. It was all new and I was just looking to hear how the new collection of words sounded tripping out of my gob. Time to take it to the back shed and see what can be salvaged. Thank God that John Markey was there to bring the room back about two or three acts after me. He did the right thing…old AND new. I’ll never learn, will I?
This night came on the heals of seeing the Monday night gathering at the Fionn MacCool’s just down from my place on King and got really frustrated and angry really quick. The night had a whack of talent. Truly. There were pros there, guys who had done ‘Just for Laughs’, the whole bit. What was shocking was the crowd response.
There was none.
Three tables inside talking over everyone’s performance amongst the way empty front space of Fionn’s did nothing to help anyone out. I stayed long enough to see Mister choke on the stuff he’d written not 3 hours before hitting the stage and see JP Naphan take the far-from-typical tame road and bow away from the stage amidst the sound of individual private conversation, clanging plates, and laughter that was in no way directed at the stage. Vicious. I left in a foul mood feeling angered at the people more than anything else. Why is it that this city cannot support rooms? Yes, admittedly, the comics have to do their part and generate some laugh out there. But at the very least the responsibility of the crowd is to be there for the comedy. It’s a really simple job. It just struck me that on any other night, at any other club, if that line-up had been at Spirits or a non-baseball-patio-choked-and-genuinely-supported Old York night, the roof would be missing. Sad fact is, no one really cared.
I’m hoping that the great weather is the reason for so many small attendances at the rooms in Toronto lately. Maybe I’m pressuring the tourist element too much. Walking to work today, I was stopped watching a couple with cameras around their neck laughing like they had just got done watching “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” when it first came out. Turns out that they were laughing at the half-cow stuck in the wall above the entrance of “Hey, Lucy”. Maybe I’m being too harsh. Maybe fall will be better. Until then, looks like we’ll be trying to make our fellow comics laugh.