a priori/a posteriori

Monday, December 17, 2012

On Being a Dick, part 1

I'm really struggling to start this. So let's cut the “writing” part of it.

I did a show this past weekend. It was a “holiday show” in which a lot of different members of the New York alt scene had “cameo” roles. Three comics hosted. Ten comics formed a “choir” for the opening sketch. Two comics did a puppet thing. Then there was a ukelele thing. Then three people did this. Then two did that.
A Night of Many Stars!!

As a Christmas-themed holiday-themed show, the hosts asked me, Lawson Leong, and Jarrid Reed to be the “3 Wise Men” of comedy, since we are three of the most verbose, philosophical comics in the scene.

The comic who asked us to perform was Bill Stiteler, a young comic who was one of the openers of my special, and a comic I love. During the week I asked him a question or two about the performance, and he wrote back and said “It's just 3 minutes! Leave it to you guys to over-think everything!”
How could I not trust this guy?

He said it lovingly (as lovingly as one can type text), and so the three of us kind of laughed it off and said “Yeah, who cares? We'll just fuck around and figure it out.”

Well, the show was Saturday, and as the show was happening, it was becoming increasingly clear that we were the only ones who had not rehearsed our performance multiple times. In fact, we found out after the show that there had been actual rehearsals for the show, but they just hadn't told us about them.

In the moment, I thought maybe they had put together the rehearsal really fast, and they'd just forgotten to tell us about it? Almost like they were hurriedly leaving for the airport, ala Kevin's family in 'Home Alone,' and we'd been the act that was sleeping in the upstairs attic, so they just forgot we were there. But I'm pretty sure they just didn't tell us because they thought it'd be weird to make us sit through a 90-minute rehearsal to do a 3-minute thing.
Moments later, Bill shot forward and shouted "KEVIN!!!"

Midway through the show, I was freaking out a little. Everyone else had prepared. And the show was going great. It's awesome to be invited on a show with a ton of people and moving parts. It's like being in one of those movies that's obviously awful, so the movie poster is just a bunch of different heads of famous people, almost like the poster is saying “This movie has 30 famous people in it, and half the cast from 'Modern Family.'  How could it possibly be shitty!?!”
Do you not hate this actor? You do? How bout this one?  Yes?  How about--okay yes a little, or yes a lot? Okay I have 46 more questions...
It was like that, except if good actors actually did those movies.  And we felt like the three dudes that could ruin it for everyone.

Well, not exactly. I knew we weren't going to ruin the show. We had a small role, so I wasn't worried about that. I was freaking out for a similar but different reason – I didn't want to seem like we didn't respect the show. The three hosts – Bill, Eytan Kurland, and Nick Naney – had poured their heart and soul into the show. There were 30 people involved. They rehearsed with a choir, for god's sake. The idea of seeming like I was too cool to give a shit about it? It was terrifying. No comic ever wants to be that asshole.

So me, Lawson, and Jarrid stepped outside, to try and figure out some semblance of a plan. Which is when I did something hilariously dick-ish.

I started talking about “the meaning of Christmas” with Lawson and Jarrid, because that's what we were supposed to sum up in our three minutes. However, right outside the club, there were two newer comics standing there. They're both good guys, and we've talked a bunch of times. So when the three of us started discussing the “true meaning of Christmas,” those two guys – not knowing we were on the show in about five minutes – naturally presumed it was just a regular conversation, and joined in with us.

But with them there, we couldn't get any of our shit together. After a minute or two of trying to talk to just Lawson and Jarrid - and with the other two not getting the hint - I turned to Lawson and said “we really need to find a place where it's just the three of us.”

The problem was, we were outside, on the side of a street in Queens. There was no place with "just the three of us."  Unless, of course, I shamed those two young comics into awkwardly walking away to anywhere-except-here.  Or as it's also known, the Island of Misfit Open-Mic'ers.

And that's exactly what I did. After they didn't respond to me saying it once, and kept talking (as all young people with hopes and dreams should), I said it louder. I did that dick thing where I said it staring at Lawson, but clearly said it to them. “WE REALLY NEED TO BE JUST THE THREE OF US RIGHT NOW, SO WE CAN FIGURE THIS OUT.”

At which point – after about two seconds of awkward silence and me not looking at them – Lawson politely asked them if we could have a few minutes alone, to work on our set (why that more humane option didn't occur to me, I'm not sure).

I didn't watch them walk away or anything, but I presume it looked something like this

So that was the dick thing I did over the weekend. I'll finish this story, and this point (and tell you how the set went!!) in Part 2. 

 Yeah, that's right. I'm doing multiple-part blogs now. I'M A FUCKING WRITER.

(I've really got to stop cursing so much. Sorry mom)

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