Leaving U.K. with inspiration from other comics at Bill Murray theatre!

Scott and I have both been sick in the hotel for a few days and just got out today to meet with the founders of The Bill Murray theatre- Barry, Sarah and James. The pub theatre they organized was crowd-funded and has a lovely, community arts oriented vibe, a home for comedians. They have promised to Sherpa Scott and me through the process if we decide to start a place in altadena (our new hood in la) and that feels hopeful as a regular performance space for me as well as a wonderful place for other comics to perform and meet. Just at the gathering information point right now but it feels exciting to think about.

London!

We missed our flight yesterday due to duncery and had to re-book for today, but I will make all of the shows. Worried that I won’t have time to make changes to help translate jokes properly, but I guess that could be the fun part – long, sincere explanations of every unknown reference. Oh boy.

I’ll commit to the blogsquare that I’ll verbally rehearse my set on the flight and let you know how that goes. I listened to the set from Salt Lake City and I’m not sure if it’s an accurate representation of how strong the material is – I feel like I get a lot of slack and laughs which may or may not be earned. And, of course, who cares.

IM HERE!!

next day: struggling with depression from jet lag. Everything seems pretty dark. Did podcast last night and though everyone was kind, I felt off. Talked with pal Jackie about pre-show irritability (fear, I think). It’s like everything pinches and it’s embarrassing that I’m not more relaxed, cool-casual.

I asked my pal Ivans to listen to me rehearse on the phone and feel hopeful that that will help. She’s an actor and coach and is ultra-positive.

Ok! 1st show down. Felicity Ward so funny and fast and thoughtful. Felt scared to follow, but I did it and did new beat the Christians material and so, a success on some level.

I hope to bookend here listening to the set tomorrow in order to have a better idea about what happened. I wish I didn’t feel so jumbled on stage and had smoother transitions. And I need to rewrite some bits – the beat the Christians- to have a more nuances version of my mother and to attempt an explanation of why I want to feel like I need to do a better job of being “good”.

OK! I jus listened to the set from last night and it went much more smoothly than I felt. My hands were really shaky and I’ve had that foggy, awful jet lag feeling and so- nice to feel like it went ok. And after listening to “beat a Christian”, I feel excited about it again.

I’m doing more of my old hour here. I wish I had all new material. In UK and OZ, comics do a whole new hour of material every year, tour the country with it and then start all over again the next year. I’m sure they are the stronger writers and performers for it, but I’m not sure if it would be possible for me even if I wanted to do that (which I don’t which makes it totally impossible). The two comics I’ve seen- felicity ward and another guy briefly before me on a show at the bill Murray theatre- were so fast and punchy and erudite and it might be the accent, but I don’t think so.

Goals for tonight’s two sets: do all of my new stuff up front and close with new song, enunciate and pace it up. And before all of that, breathe and enjoy. I may never be here again and so, blow it out!

I’ll check in later and let you know how it went. Feel free to post your own “bookends” in the comments! I’d love to hear what everyone else taking small steps towards. I think-in this one hour, I have a solid 25 minutes- hard to say.

One show down and I think it went well! It’s recorded and so that’s great. I’m getting nervous for 2nd show- a familiar dread. I’d love to transform that dread to a more grey area of resignation or actively trying to do the worst job I possibly can. I haven’t seemed to “look forward” to long sets out of fear of letting people down. I know that sounds dumb being that comedy is ridiculous and without real importance, bu my brain has seems to always go back to panic.

2nd show crowd was delightful and I am pumped to listen to set to see if anything got better. The best part is hung out with U.K. lady comics at Chinese restaurant and so good end to 2 shows. With taping, I have 43 minutes of new material (with a quite possibly ridiculous amount of laughs) and felt like jokes got better because of audience response, act-outs more energized.

Got 4 reviews on first show which is very English! They were fairly glowing, but did notice that I had old material from last special. The comics in U.K. and Australia develop a new hour every year to be performed at the Edinburgh Fringe and then tour 40-200 dates with that material and start all over again the next year. It is astounding. Now, feeling pretty depressed. Oof. I think it’s the jet lag and discombobulating sense of no schedule or shows to do, but maybe it will dissipate in a few days.

London (England)

We don’t leave til Sunday, but I’ve started to get a little anxsh for the shows. I’ll try to get some guest sets once I get there – to try out stuff and get comfortable. I know they review shows there and so feel a little scared of that, but criticism – so far- has only been helpful in life. And if it’s not- like I got a 1 pint out of 5 pints review at the Edinburgh festival one year and guy said he thought the show was “boring”. That didn’t give me a ton to work with unless I was going to add horses and explosives. but other crit has been more interesting like “not political enough” and then that’s something I can genuinely ask myself “do I want to be more straightforward in my political beliefs, make a clearer stance, call people (and myself) to real action?”

Anyhobnobs, I’ll be checking in to prepare. Did a short set (5 min) last night just telling story of reality show experience on Worst Cooks of America and have recording from Salt Lake City first show to listen to- bummer that I forgot to hit record on second show that went better performance-wise.

Salt Lake City

Hoping that second show will be tighter. I got a little rambly and lost confidence in the very long joke about Competing religiously with my mother. I have it recorded and I hope that will help me edit it. Will check in after second show -the goal being- do all of the new material, but maybe in a different order so that it doesn’t poop out at the end.

Second show did go better!

I rewrote the set list to put the weaker stuff in the beginning so I could feel more confident as the set progressed. And as I do here, I bookended it with my buddy Alex- just to not feel so alone in the process. It is so uncomfortable (for me) – though OF COURSE it’s the reality that I’m just ok at my job most nights. Unlike the hyperbolic descriptions of artistry happening in reviews or horrible slurs posted on YouTube, I’m just in the middle and sometimes ok, sometimes not that great at my job. In my mind- it can seem more admirable to be either the best or the worst rather than just amongst.

Headed to Grand Rapids

I was able to listen and transcribe material into my notebook for an hour with help from my pal, Alex, as a bookending support. I told him I’d just do 20 minutes and then, was able to do 2 more twenties and feel really excited about the material I wrote out and whispered to myself on the LAX to DTW Delta flight row 20 middle seat. So, victory!

Now, the fun part! Researching notes I’ve had about jokes- googling and learning about references I’m wondering about: open book accounting, gentrification, human trafficking – to name a few topics.

I’ll write more tomorrow once in the GR!

Did an hour of rehearsing with Jackie Kashian and opener Hayden Krystal (very funny comic currently in Detroit). That was helpful.

My thoughts at a little speedy as a result of going down on a medication in order to stop gaining weight and that may end up not working. I love words but when they start tangling up into ever-changing “better” versions of the same sentence, I think it may be time to stop writing and just make a face.

Well, two shows were a good but second show was a little scattered and I felt embarrassed. I got a little distracted and my mind went blank at one point. I had to ask the audience where I was in a bit. Agh. There had been a drunk lady yelling out a little bit, but I felt like I could have handled it better. I just used an old heckling line that I’ve used for years, but I did add a new tag. Jackie and Hayden did great. Oh well. Now, sleep and two more shows in Salt Lake City. I was talking to a friend in text about how it’s just hard for my ego that I’m not the worst and I’m not the best (if anyone is) and it’s ok to be just ok at a job- that I just be a part of the world and don’t have to be a genius or superhuman to participate. Participating- at any level of skill- is a victory.

Free days

Shows in Vancouver went ok. Felt jumbled again with new “Beat the Christians” premise and feel like I lost the crowd completely for 10 minutes, but I tried.

Had a lovely talk in the hotel lobby of Vancouver with another comic who happens to be a lady about stage fright getting worse with age. That I now put more pressure on myself because I have some people who have said they liked my stuff and I want to please those same people again. And there is no guarantee that will happen. I can love someone’s paintings of dogs and then, I stop being interested in their new robot series. Anyhoo, it was really nice to hear a younger, hipper comedian than myself talk about the same concerns. I’m sorry about this occasional font bolding- I keep hitting the wrong buttons on my phone. Or, I am experimenting with emphasis.

Today, I made the mistake of running a joke by comic I didn’t know well (the massive, unwieldy “Beat the Christians” chunk. Ugh. They asked me what I did to run new material and I said, “well, I just do it for people. Do you want to hear something I’m working on?” And unfortunately, it did not go over as I’d hoped. The witness seemed completely confused and bored by it and then, had comments. Whoops. It was good to get it out and rehearse it, but if it the rehearsal just brings shame- maybe better to keep to myself. If I may quote my mother quoting the Bible (it’s not all murderous misogyny?), “Listen, kiddo, don’t throw pearls before swine.” That’s a little harsh, but I have to remember some people aren’t prepared for my gorgeous baubles that I’m throwing in their face and it might be best to showcase the oyster rocks in a well-lighted place where they might be better appreciated.

Vancouver

It’s been a few days since my last show on Saturday (8 am cruise shows were very successful- for me anyways- as a way to get myself to rehearse and edit material. I’m not sure how small morning crowd felt, but I was very grateful).

Jackie Kashian and I headed to Vancouver tonight via WestJet and I’m feeling nervous about tomorrow’s set. I’ll have time on the plane and will write more then.