||SHECKYmagazine.com HOME||BACK to the Columnist INDEX||JULY/AUGUST 2002 ISSUE||
Everyone, and I mean everyone, in LA stops
what they are doing when the Lakers have a playoff game.
The transvestite hookers vacate their Santa Monica Boulevard
haunts to witness Kobiís magic. The police take
a break from thrashing innocent civilians so they can
pick up some pointers by watching Shaq rough up
overmatched mortals. Even Audrey and Judy Landers stop
panhandling for a few hours so they can see what
real celebrities such as Jack Nicholson do in
their spare time. (Do you think the Landers gals resent
Mary Kate and Ashley? The two Olsen girls are worth
a billion, yes billion with a B, dollars.
The Landers twins' only source of income is an occasional
$3 residual check when their episodes of
"The Love Boat" air on Nick at Night.)
But the worst consequence of the Lakersí popularity
is that no one goes to comedy shows, including
my audition to be a regular at the Improv. Yes,
that statement may make me sound egocentric,
but this is LA, where being self-absorbed is no more
a negative trait than being a pot-head in Boulder, Colorado.
Now that the Lakers won, people have started attending
comedy clubs once again. I canít tell you how happy
I am that the city is rather apathetic when it comes
to the Dodgers, Angels, Clippers and Kings. Too bad
they love those fuckiní Lakers though. I could have
used some more people at my audition.
Iíve done some big sets in my time. Auditions
here and there, even a couple of TV spots. But
the fact remains, I got very worked up preparing for
my "New Faces" showcase scheduled for June 5.
This is The Improv, where bumping into agents,
producers, and casting directors occurs on a daily basis.
Iíd say that on any given Thursday there are more movers
and shakers at The Hollywood Improv than there are boils
on a truck driverís ass. So as the date approached,
I started to put pressure on myself. Like all comics,
I aspired to be "passed" so I can showcase
in front of industry and advance my career, but I think
I was stressed more so because I wanted to stop paying
tourist prices for drinks. Networking at the front bar
can be pricey at $8 a round and I hear the regulars
get quite a price break.
A week before my "New Faces" set, I started
going through my comedy notebooks. What material would I do?
Should I do my favorite stuff or is that too political?
Should I do the stuff that gets the best reaction on the road,
or is that not smart enough? I beat myself up over this
for several days. My good friend Peter Grumbine was on
the same showcase and all week he and I discussed our material
over and over. I was really glad to have someone else
to discuss the set with, but in the end, I over analyzed
way too much. I should have had more confidence in my
abilities and not agonized over my set list. Iím funny.
I know Iím funny, but self-doubt can be a bitch if you
let her in your head.
Wednesday, June 5 rolled around pretty quickly.
I had an acting class that afternoon and then went to
Baja Fresh with Grumbine so we could trade ideas once more.
What a paranoid wuss I was. At 7 PM I freaked out.
My wife was late from work. Here I am stressed out
as if this showcase could make or break my career,
which in retrospect it couldnít, and my wife is still
in Westwood twenty minutes away. I call her on her cell
and tell her to meet me at the club.
I arrived at 7:30 PM as required. Guess what? I am
the only person there, well, besides Eddie the bartender,
who is starting to recognize me, by the way. I looked up
to the TV and immediately realized why the club is desolate.
No, there wasnít another car chase on Fox News. The God Damn
Lakers were playing the Nets in the NBA Finals. No wonder
there was no traffic on Melrose. No wonder there was
nobody in the club.
I stressed out over my set for a week and there were
all of seven people in the showroom. Seven people!
And yes, that figure includes my wife and Grumbineís girlfriend.
Peterís and my acting coach came the show, but he was
45 minutes late. I have no idea how anyone could be late
to anything when the Lakerís are on? You certainly canít use
traffic as an excuse. He walked in as I was finishing up,
but at least he made the effort.
It turns out I did pretty well. After all that worrying,
I should have just trusted my abilities. When I called to
follow up, I learned that I "passed" and could
start calling in for spots, but then was told, "Remember
we have over 100 comics calling each week so there are
no guarantees." I told him I understood, thanked him
for the opportunity and then hung up. "Oh shit,"
I thought to myself, "I forgot to ask if this means
I can start drinking at comicís prices."
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