Not long ago, I had a tepid set doing tired old stuff with bad energy.
I was at a club I’ve come to enjoy very much. I sat in the crowd gauging room temperature. I heard what they were laughing at and the things I should talk about just SPRANG INTO my mind.
It was like those times when you’re with a strange woman but you just KNOW where to touch her and how. These things that sprang to my mind weren’t bits I’d EVER done together and the closing bit was BRAND NEW! Exciting!
I wrote the order on my hand and the act of that put this new set into my memory. The flow was plainly there. This was going to be epic.
Then the host put up a BAD ASS COMEDIAN who straight up DESTROYED.
I mean it was like in “Reign of Fire” ‘cause not only did this n-word blaze the stage…he ate the goddamn ashes too.
Every second of that destruction eroded more of my confidence in what was now starting to look like just some random stupid sh!t I wrote on my hand like “open mikers” do.
Normally I would’ve seen DragonComic’s performance as an opportunity to surf a wave and kick some ass myself. But no.
I remember THIS happening in my head:
“Never really did it this stuff together before. I KNOW it will work buuuutt…I should probably open up with my standard opener and close with one of the big songs I do and in the middle do a joke I usually close on cuz—”
You get the picture, WEAK THOUGHTS GALORE.
And suddenly I’m thrust onstage and I do my standard frankly KICK ASS opener… POORLY. It gets half of the response it normally gets. Then I panic and jam some new song down their stupid crowd throat thinking:
“Where did that come from dude? And since when do you EVER panic what’s wrong with you?“
Then something happened. I snapped out of it for a moment and the whole room laughed at a bit of my crowd work. Yeah boy! But when that dried up and it was time to wrap up…
To mine the chick touching metaphor once more, it was like when a woman tells you to slow down or ease up and you do it but you can tell she’s not totally pleased with your adjustment. My super duper “Closer” did next to nothing and I got off to “good try” exit applause.
That’s how the great Ed Greer had a tepid set doing tired old stuff with bad energy.
I’ve since made a decision to go with my instincts EVERY TIME. I will always err on the side of speaking my mind rather than that of telling some insipid “joke”.
That set taught me even my “best jokes” are NOTHING if I don’t believe in them IN THAT MOMENT. They are nothing if they don’t have the power of ME behind them.
So now I’ll say whatever I truly feel and deal with the fallout or the applause breaks. Both will be accepted as a part of me growing. No more comedy crutches. No more being a slave to expectations. I will always “deliver” but to my own specifications not those of ANYONE else.
And I’m also going to start being a lot more honest with myself so I can get the most out of EVERY aspect of my talent. Not only do I not write and create enough, but my present “material” isn’t even a sliver of the total me.
For years I told people stuff like, “My act has black guys singing AC/DC, KlansMen and Kryptonians rapping and shit…you can’t act like you’re not getting to know me as a person through these jokes!!”
But that’s preposterous. I see that now. The fact the I ran across this video during this time of “F**k My Whole Act” reflection is proof positive that God Is A DJ and I needed to hear this “record” right now.
I stumbled upon this video watched it it with vague amusement and then started to F**ING CRY at the end.
I started crying because I’ve built a stupid house of cards and performance tricks and ONLY OCCASIONALLY does the stuff that makes the actual REAL ME such a “funny guy” come to the stage.
I’m not funnier offstage but too often I leave my real voice and real life interests in the dark with the crowd instead of bringing them onstage with me.
I feel like Louie says he felt listening to Carlin talk in the video. I feel that my “act” is “a trap” and I really need to talk more about who I really am onstage.
So yeah that’s the reason for the change some of you will see if you’re a person interested in my standup. That’s the reason for the new light hearted playfulness you’ll see consistently from me. The insistence on trying to find out who the crowd is as I “make with the funny”. Because people really do interest me. And I will show it now with no fear.
Also though, I must apologize for my future self. He seems a bit scattered and if he’s a bit brusque and shocking at times it’s just because he’s giving you his most honest self. Moment by moment.
And that new guy will exist…because of a tepid set doing old stuff with bad energy and a YouTube video of a fat, brilliant, Ginger jerk who openly dislikes his kids, mourning a dead old Irish prick who openly disavowed the existence of God, hated war, and willful ignorance and grew into the most prolific humorist of our time.
You know why these two cats are responsible in large part for the new me? Because they SHOW YOU WHO THEY REALLY ARE and are funnier for it. Just like the new me.
Thanks God. Thanks for the cry, and for inspirational people that show you being your true self is its own reward.