Monday, October 3, 2011

Stand and Deliver

Tuesday, September 17th, 2011; a date that will forever go down in history as the the first night I ever performed a set at a comedy club. The day leading up to that set was largely unfruitful. I woke up with productive intentions. I was going to run some errands, do some shopping, and then devote the remainder of my time towards practising my set. When 6 pm rolled around, naturally, the only thing I had done all day was eat, mill around the house, and watch Lord of the Rings, which is the type of behaviour one should expect of me whenever I'm given free time. Eventually, the time to leave for the club came around and, despite my lack of preparation, I was calmer than a tranquilized cucumber. I figured the small amount of preparation I had was sufficient, and that in the event of any unforeseen circumstances, I could just rely on my impeccable improvisation skills just like I did through-out high school. As the minutes passed, however, I found myself growing more and more anxious. This was the only thing in my life I really wanted to do and I was about to wing it for no reason other than sheer laziness. Then the negativity started. “You're not worth the opportunities you've been given, you lazy ass”, I thought to myself.
I arrived at the club and took my seat. The show started and we were blazing through the acts at a frightening rate. With every passing comic, I could feel my heart rate gradually getting faster. Then it was the last comic before me presenting and I knew it was fight or flight at this point. (For the record, my heart rate is actually going up as I recollect on this moment and try to illustrate it with words) In the 11th hour, though, the most peculiar idea dawned upon me and suddenly I was calm. I figured, it's my first time doing stand up and I'm about to waste it by trying to be funny. There it was, my always reliable, divine last minute epiphany, as though god himself channelled me so that he could see a good show.
My name was called and I went up on stage, and, right off the bat, I was presented with a problem. I was up too early and the girl before me hadn't finished setting up the mic stand. After what felt like the most awkward eternity ever, she set up the stage, shook my hand, and left the stage in a frantic rush leaving me to deal with the silence. I took a deep breathe, smiled, and calmly said, “Well that was awkward...I came too early” It was smooth sailing from that point on. I sat on the stool and told the crowd I just wanted to take in the moment that was my first set, so I just sat and looked out at them. It wasn't much of a set, but they ate it up nonetheless. After a quick joke, the red light turned on and, just like that, the sweetest two minutes I ever experienced were over. I was hooked. I was ready for another round in the arena. Drop whatever beasts you want in with me, I was ready to die for this.
After our sets were done, I rounded up some of the crowd and we all went out for celebratory drinks. I intended on trying a seasonal harvest beer by Sam Adams they had, but settled for a different craft beer called Barking Squirrel. I was very satisfied with this product. I made friends with the bar tenders and got to taste the new beer anyways. It turned out to be a pretty good night...until we decided to go to McDonalds...
I got a bunch of people craving McDonalds, something I've gotten exceedingly good at over the years, and, after paying our bills, we started to head over. I ended up having to wait for my company who had to use the bathroom just as we were leaving. Eventually we got over to the McDonalds just as everyone else was leaving, but I still wanted my burger. Me and my two friends, Jay and Mike, ordered our food in the crowded restaurant which, oddly enough, was still bustling at 1am. The crowd in the store consisted of some students with open books in front of them sitting at one of the tables; three British soccer fans wearing matching jerseys who remind me of the soccer heads from eurotrip; and a drunk, loud, gay black guy wearing a trilby. Me and my “col lieges” made small talk with the Brit's and found they were visiting from Whales. It was going rather smoothly until the drunk guy started throwing his garbage at Mikes face. As politely as possible, Mike ignored him and continued the conversation. The drunk also continued. Then, after he ran out of garbage, he decided the most productive thing for him to do at that point in his life was to spit his partially masticated big mac on Mikes face...
Needles to say, temperatures were flared at this point and the yelling began. Tensions grew and although nobody exchanged any punches, I had lost my appetite in all the commotion. I ate one of my burgers, but where there was usually pleasure laced with the guilt of eating fast food, there was only guilt. While walking to the subway, I was about to eat my second burger when I saw a homeless woman mumbling to herself and decided it could go to better use. I handed her the burger. She took it and continued mumbling. I would be lying if I said I wasnt expecting a “thank you”, but im also not offended I didnt get one. She had more important things on her mind.
As I neared the subway stop I looked around at some construction workers paving the road, now that it was quiet, and reflected on the nights happenings. I felt it was one of the more eventful nights I had had in a long time and just as I was about to cross the street and go down in to the subway, my heel sunk in to some fresh asphalt. Normally I would be concerned for the well being of my shoes, but I found myself smiling instead. See, my shoe was nothing a little soap and water couldnt fix and I had just immortalized this most memorable night of my life by leaving a heel print on the very street it took place on. 

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