I went up to Ferndale, Michigan the last two Mondays for the "Ca$h For Comedy" contest at the New Way Bar. Michael Soave and Digg Johnson, two very cool local comics, put this thing on, and it was great to get to meet them, and do a show in a more rough-and-tumble environment than an all ages room or a comedy club. Bars can be brutal places to do standup in, but it's always a learning experience in stage presence, crowd control, and rolling with the unexpected.
Last week's show couldn't have been more different from tonight. Very few paying customers, a faulty PA system, and a general air of desperation (or maybe that was just me after I ordered the gravy-slathered "country fries") led to kind of an odd show. I put on a set I would have ranked in my bottom 10 so far, and I got voted on to this week's show.
Tonight, I rolled in with less-than-zero expectations, and I got a big and enthusiastic crowd, and a crackling energy that made the whole show great. Everyone did a really good job. I know that my set was one of my best, and I felt great about it - I did a whole slew of new material I'd written specifically for Detroit shows, and it killed.
The selection of the winners was done by audience approval last week - we all stood in a line and they cheered for each of us, then the judges picked the five with the most applause. An imperfect science for sure, but contests are what they are, so you go with it. Tonight's method was a little different - we paired off in groups of two and the crowd voted one in, one out. If you got paired with a local fave who brought some friends out, you were toast. I got paired with a local fave.
I got sent packing, but not without many kind words from the people in attendance and the other comics. Even the guy who beat me came up to say some nice things, which was cool. I felt great about my set, to the point where the contest part didn't matter that much to me (though some money would have been nice). I made great contacts, met some awesome people (Stu McCallister, from Grand Rapids, is well worth your time to seek out - great material) and had a lot of fun.
As I sit here tonight, I have plans to be on stage Tuesday, twice Wednesday, Friday, Sunday, and the following Thursday. I have leads on guest sets and out-of-town open mikes that will hopefully lead to some paid gigs. I'm really happy with a good bit of my material, and the last couple times I've walked on to the stage, I've felt like I owned it. This good mood may only last until the next time I eat shit in front of a crowd, but for now I'm gonna go with it.
Where I write about the stuff I do when I'm out doing the stuff I do.