Greetings and Salutations My Good Fellow,
I had a landmark performance yesterday at Cafe International: the first bomb of 2014.
But wait, Eric!
I thought bombing was bad…
Wrong again, asshole. (I don’t think you’re an asshole, you’re great.)
First of all, it was a great experience because this was the first time I tried doing a mixed open mic that included musicians and poets. There were a lot of differences between that and regular comedy mics that I was aware of, but hasn’t experienced first hand.
And I’m not trying to make excuses for myself. I sucked because I sucked.
But it was interesting to see the different dynamic. Everything was more low key. The host took minutes in between performers, which I can understand with the music context. Another factor that threw me off was that the order was given at random. That lack of control over where I was also threw me a little.
However, my biggest mistake was leading with a hacky gross dick joke and blasting it out with way too much energy. The atmosphere was so sterile from all the very lovely music performances. I thought if I just came out guns blazing, I could just slap them in the face.
Then I saw most of them were drinking wine.
How often have you seem a bunch of people having sips of coffee shop wine, and being SUPER IN THE MOOD for weird/dirty comedy?
If you answered zero, then you are correct.
To top it all off, I had just started and not finished, probably one of the more intense discussions I have had with my dear friend Hayley, who had to suffer through me eating raw shit on stage.
I won’t get into the specifics of what we talked about
But if I could give you some idea out discussion went like this:
Eric: so is it okay if we hit up that open mic?
Hayley: sure! I have cancer. Good luck making people laugh about life!!
That’s not what happened.
Hayley doesn’t have cancer.
A snippet of the lighter side of our conversation can be found here
But in spite of all of that, and now that I see it all on the page, I’m thinking, “yes that was a lot.” But in spite of all of that, as far as my experience as a stand-up goes, there were a lot of good things.
I had a great discussion about comedy with Zorba Jevon Hughes. He is a comedian who has been at it for over twenty years and has probably seen me bomb more than any comic on the scene. If you ever get a chance to see if, I suggest you do because the man knows how to work a show. We talked for over an hour about the craft and theory of comedy.
Then after my set, I had another talk with a very nice comic named Misha (I didn’t get his last name). He was really supportive and gave me some great advice about what was going on in the room. He helped me learn a lot. Some rooms require different material. I’ve been used to dive bars where raunchy is good, and to get people’s attention, you have to blast them. This place was different and I didn’t recognize that.
Also, when I say bomb, that doesn’t mean that it was just silence the entire time. I did get the a little at the end once I pointed out just how much they all hated me.
I started heckling myself.
They loved it.
Then once we were all on the same page/side of hating my guts, the material actually started to work.
At the end of the day though, the experience left me with this desire to go right back to the mic and try again. I got off stage knowing “these people hated me.” And it made me want more.
A licensed therapist might tell you that this is mentally deficient behavior
But a comic will tell you, “ok, now you’ve got the bug. You’ll be good.”
Some of the first pieces of advice came from comedian Joe DeRosa. He was coming through town with Big Jay Oakerson and I asked him what it took to do what he does, and that’s what he told me.
If you have that drive to get right back up there, even or especially after you bomb, then that means the life style could work for you.
When I first started doing open mics last summer, I would bomb and not go back for two weeks. It would really bother me until I “figured out what went wrong.” I knew I still wanted to go back, but I wasn’t excited about it like I am now.
Finally, the experience as well as the advice from Misha and Zorba helped inspire me with the next step of my writing project. So all in all, a great day.
Eric Wong is a writer and comedian. He will show you, Cafe International. He will show you all.