Wow. I’m gonna* try to keep this one real quick, but I’m still reeling a bit from today’s VRE show. So I sort of figured today would be a light turnout. Saturday was 32 people and Sunday was 9, so I assumed that the latter would be typical of weekdays. But today was 100% packed, and we had someone sit in the stairwell, which brought us to 37. And the intensity, for me at least, was unparalleled in my admittedly limited experience of doing this piece (or doing any sort of performance outside of stand-up, and that form can never match this one for intensity since laughter serves fundamentally to release tension – that release is the visceral payoff that draws comedy audiences). One woman was actually weeping silently, which in an odd way gave me a huge jolt of energy. And at the end someone asked if they could hug me, and what struck me wasn’t the request but how totally natural it seemed.
Also, today clocked in at exactly one hour. I made a different cut than yesterday and it seemed to work better; at least it felt better to me.
As for the New York All-Star Comedy Hour, it’s really starting to endear itself to me. I hosted today, as I did the first show, and just had a great time. Which isn’t to say I got a great reaction – that was highly variable. For whatever reason, my material just isn’t working that well here, so I once again racked up around a half-hour of crowd work, most of which revolved around the premise that I resented the fact I had to do crowd work**. A sort of shared connection between me and the audience over our ostensible mutual antipathy as it were.
* ok I could write a post on this particular colloquial contraction. But the short take is that I use it because language to me is above all auditory (which is why I can only write stand up by talking out loud, hence my notoriety for pretending to be on my cell phone outside clubs when I’m trying to do some last-minute polishing of material). And “going to” is just so far from the actual sounds that issue from my mouth when I say that phrase – it’s always disyllabic and there’s never that interstitial “g” sound. Whereas I still avoid “wanna” because the way I say it actually has a hint of the “t”.
** the operative word being “work”. At least for me, crowd work requires more actual energy/attentional resources than material, which it now occurs to me is one reason I like it – it forces me to be fully present, which is a massive challenge for me when I’m telling jokes that I don’t really care about in any sense beyond their sheer utility for evoking laughter, which describes almost all my jokes.