Monday, March 20, 2006

So many sour people

The comedy business always amazes me by how sour so many people working in it can be. This is why I don't work as much as I'd like.

Today's the day I force myself to make the phone calls to clubs and bookers in hopes of being able to send in a tape to be considered for work at new clubs. When I make these calls I'm not yet asking for work, I'm not trying to borrow money, I'm not calling to collect unpaid parking tickets, I don't even ask for anything other than "is so-and-so available," and people act like they just caught me in a compromising position with their teenage daughter. While they reach for their shotgun I'm on the other end of the phone stammering, "I was hoping to maybe talk to..."

It's what I hate doing the most. Getting up in front of a room of hundreds of rowdy drunks for some reason doesn't phase me as much as trying to make one stinkin' phone call to a club booker.

Sometimes people are mean when you're not even asking for anything. Recently when I was working a club on the road the emcee took me to a local comedy show and introduced me to the host. I wasn't looking for a spot, I was just there to socialize, but he still struck an arrogant tone and asked in an ironically hipster way, "and where would I know you from?"

Before I could say, "you wouldn't know me, I'm just stopping by," the emcee said, "he's been on Premium Blend," to which he responded, "and that's some sort of program?" Right, you're a comedian and you haven't heard of the show that most comedians get their first t.v. spots on. You're very subtle.

And it wasn't just me taking it the wrong way, the emcee apologized profusely the rest of the week for the guy's behavior, which was kind but unnecessary, but at least I knew it wasn't all in my head.

The best was when I visited San Francisco a few years back to hang out with a comedian I knew from Chicago. He moved to San Fran shortly after I moved to New York so half the time he would introduce me as his friend from Chicago, the other half as a comedian visiting from New York.

When the San Francisco comics heard I was from Chicago they were very sweet and engaging, asking how long I was in town and if I was performing while there. If I was introduced as being from New York they would look askance and, as if we were playing poker, say, "New York, huh?"

I know, I should just get over it, or at least work to improve in this area. But I'd rather do anything than this. I'll schedule dentist appointments, work on my taxes, talk to Jehova's Witnesses, write blog posts...


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