And so, quite predictably, I spent the next week or two panicking. I didn’t do a thing to prepare, and I was sure that I would be unprepared and “fail” the recording, like an exam I didn’t study for.
After a week or two of full-blow denial, I started to feel a little better. I calmed down a little, and I started to think about all the premises and material I’d come up with since I moved here.
I think it was about a month after I announced - so with one month left before the recording - that I started putting a little work in. I went through my notebooks and listened to old recordings, and wrote down every joke and premise I’d worked on. I categorized them by how ready they were (or I at least made a half-assed attempt to). And I tried to start writing out all of the jokes that I planned on using (again, this has been more of a half-assed attempt).
I was trying to do some one-hour run-throughs. But those are tough to do, without an audience. The first one I did, I think I started yawning a ton at about the 38-minute mark. I was ready for a nap. So it’s probably a good idea that I keep building up my stamina to perform.
That’s the thing: Most people who do this have something that comics call “road gigs.” Or something that everyone calls “experience having done hour-long shows before.”
When Louis does his hour specials, he’s had a chance to run through it, and perform it for people, as many times as he wants. I don’t have that luxury. I’m not a headlining comic. And I don’t have a ton of sway here in New York. So the only way I can run through an hour is by doing it myself, or in front of a couple friends. (Admittedly, I could have set up one-man shows in places like DC or Philly or whatever...and believe me, I flirted with the idea. But the logistics and timeline were just a little bit too intimidating. So maybe I’ll do that before next year’s special)
That’s part of the reason I wanted to do this. I love the model that Louis C.K. has set up for his fellow comics: an hour a year. That’s very reasonable. But in this phase of my career - when I’m doing 2-minute sets every night, with no road work - it’s probably a little bit more of a challenge. I’ve done a good job of being willing to bomb for the past year, in the name of finding more and more material. But still...the conditions haven’t exactly been ideal.
Then again - they’re never ideal. At some point, you just gotta shut up and produce something. So that’s what I’m doing. I’ll make this special, and I’ll learn from it. No matter what happens, I’ll be a much better comic for having done this.
With two weeks left now, that’s at least helping me sleep a little at night. ...a little. It’s not going to be perfect. But that’s okay. These things are never perfect.