Today I got my confidence back. If you’ve been following my blog (like most North Americans), it might seem like I’m not that good at stand up. My first 5 days here I was so worried. “Are my jokes too hacky? Will they work in NY? Do all the other comics hate me?” The last couple days, I’ve learned all the comics don’t hate me, and neither do audiences. Still determining the how hack-tastic my jokes are.
Kara Klink and Nick Turner run a phenomenal show called If You Build It at Karma Lounge — this dark hookah bar in Manhattan somewhere (I know nothing of NY’s geography yet.) It was my first show with real audience (non-comics) in NY, and I was on with Joe Mande, Hari Kondabolu, Eric Andre, James Adomian, Calise Hawkins, John Lynch, and JC Coccoli. Of that group, I’m the only person without multiple tv credits, so I was incredibly nervous. Mostly because I didn’t want the comics to hate me.
A little before the show, Kara came up to me, and asked, “Hey! You’re going to do 8ish minutes, and we’ve got you going first, if that’s alright?” And I thought, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!” But I said, “Oh sure! I’ve opened a lot of shows, so I’m good at opening. Yay! Opening!” So clearly she couldn’t tell I had butterflies. “Oh, and the bullet is tuff on this show,” Kara says, “so don’t worry if it doesn’t go well.” Surprisingly, I still worried.
“…And now all the way from Boston, where he runs a club called Grandma’s Basement, Tom Dunlap!” People cheer! First joke…boom! It’s a hit! They’re laughing! Oh thank God! Second joke…success! Yeah! I’m the best! Big Apple! More like big piece of cake!
5 minutes later…
Oh God! That bit didn’t go tremendously. Hold it together Dunlap! Ahhh…still losing them…losing them…that’s probably too light a laugh to leave on…”Thank you! Enjoy the rest of the show!”
I failed. Right? Then, after they brought up the next comic, Kara came up to me and said, “Hey. Nice job! Most of our bullet spots get no laughs. I’ve even seen professionals break down onstage. You actually opened them up a little.” And fireworks and a band shot off in my brain. I did a good show in NY, and I wasn’t run out of town. A few people even liked me. One women even liked me the best, which I’m not going to disagree with her directly, but Eric Andre ripped the audience apart in ways I’ve never witnessed before. And that was Saturday. I’ll update the rest soon.