Recently I had the good fortune to go to the legendary comedy club Charlie Goodnight's in Raleigh, NC for a showcase in front of the head of casting at Mtv, and I'd like to walk you through some of this eye opening experience. It all started off innocently enough when I got a call from the person asked to organize a stand-up show for the Mtv'ers to watch.
Now, I know you're not supposed to get too excited about theses things, but the guy tells me that he's got something that I'd be "prefect for! It's for Mtv and they want young and sarcastic..."
Again, I know you're not supposed to get excited about these things, but for god's sake, I have the look of a 16 year old, the attention span of a 4 year old and the viciousness of an 80-year-old amputee. I AM perfect for Mtv.
So, the day of the big audition comes and I get to town about 9 hours before I need to because I am an overzealous fuck. I decide to go for a walk around town to kill some of the 500 plus minutes between me and the stage.
As I'm walking along, listening to my iPod, I come upon a TV news crew setting up a camera. I try not to get in the way of their shot, but as I try to stay out of the camera's way, the newsman asks if he can talk to me for a minute!
I'm sure whatever they want I wont be right for it, but I agree to talk to him anyway.
He points at my headphones and asks if that's an iPod that I'm listening to, and proudly I show him that it is.
Now, if you don't know - I L O V E
my iPod. So, when this guy asked to talk about my iPod, I was in heaven.
I start off by telling him that if I had to chose between my iPod and an iron lung, I'd keep the iPod. I go on to say that I love the iPod more than I love about half of the members of my family... and I'm killing! The news guy and the camera guy are laughing up a storm.
As we were wrapping up, the cameraman asked if I would hold up the iPod so they could get a shot of it. I hold it up near my face like a spokes-model and then to top of my hilarious performance, I lean in and give it a little kiss.
Nearly wiping tears from their eyes, the guys thank me and I continue on my way...
Now, I know you're not supposed to get excited about theses things, but I am feeling pretty good about myself.
All I could think was that I was a natural! I was funny! And, I came out here for a TV audition!
I know this is just a little news thing, this trip already got me on tv!
The sun is shining... I’ve got a little bounce in my step... And for once, I'm just a little bit ahead in the game. I'm feeling good, so I decide to stop and get a drink.
I look at all the shakes and sodas but decide on some bottled water.
I figure that maybe today is the day I really start to get my shit together. I'm gonna ease back on the garbage and start drinking more water... maybe I'll even start to exercise a little bit.
Today should be the start of a new
Time passes like a montage from a Sam Raimi film, and finally the Mtv people get to the club. I end-up helping them get lights and set them up in a special room where they will actually audition the comics they like once their set is over.
I offer to stand in front of the camera as they adjust the lights, and as I stand there I continue to be my normal, entertaining self. I'm just shooting the shit while they’re making their adjustments and I've got both the head of casting and her assistant laughing.
I had on a dark jacket that was screwing them up, so they ask me to take it off... which I do with a funny little strip tease that culminates with me tossing the clothing at the camera, which the assistant is really laughing at.
The casting person wants to know what she missed, so I do it again and she's eating it up. She even mentions how well I take direction, and even though I know you’re not supposed to get excited about theses things, I'm thinking that I have at least made a good impression on them.
Now, if this was a movie, there would be a subtle shift to some ominous music as she notices that my t-shirt reads "Great Blacks in Wax Museum" with a rather quizzical look on her face.
I mention that I'm a big fan of wax museums, (which I am,) but I don’t feel like they're on board with me. So, in an attempt to lighten the mood, I say that I thought the shirt was appropriate because they were burying Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's widow today... A line that was about as well received as an offer to baby-sit from Tommy Lee.
After a nanosecond of awkwardness, the lights are all set-up and food for her and her assistant is ordered. The casting person asks what else there is to do here in Raleigh and I say, "oh, I’m not really sure - I’m not from around here."
To which she replies "oh... you're one of the comedians?"
In the movie, this is where the outright scary music would kick-in.
The casting person IMEDIATELY starts the backtracking by saying that just because she likes someone as a person, that doesn’t mean that they're gonna be right for the part, ya know.
Now, I know that you're not supposed to get excited about these things, so I'm okay.
Time passes and the show gets under way.
The crowd is really dead. They are not an easy laugh, but the Mtv people aren’t here to judge laughs, they just want to see the look and attitude of the performer.
When the comics finish their act and get off stage it's my friend's wife's job to act as the liaison for Mtv. If Mtv liked you and wants to see more, she says that they want you to go upstairs and talk to them on tape. If they don't need to see more of you then she just thanks you for coming to the show.
The first guy on stage is in his late 30's and the casting call was for someone in their mid 20's. They are looking to cast for a show that is all attitude and commentary, of which he does none of in his act. Before the show I was talking to him and he mentioned that he drove more than 12 hours just to prove to himself he didn’t have a chance in the world to get this... and I'll be damned if my friends wife doesn’t say, "hey - they'd like to talk to you upstairs."
I couldn't believe it! I have to say I was a little surprised, and I know that you're not supposed to get excited about theses things - but this is encouraging.
A few more comics go, and even though the laughs are limited, it seems like everyone is going upstairs!
Now, I have the good fortune of following a guy that was young, had tons of energy, a real confident air about him, and also happened to be the only person all night that the crowd really loved. As people are still slapping their knees and catching their breaths, I take the stage.
Now, I don’t want to say that I had a bad set, but I will say that the highlight came about halfway though my time. After getting very limited laughter from the once-again decidedly stiff crowd, I blurted out that the last time I saw something this tight it was between an 11 year-old girl's legs.
As you can probably tell, the word 'highlight' was used there with a generous amount of sarcasm. Even if it wasn’t, as I pointed out, the little burst of life came in the middle of my set. That's the place that every comedian and comedy fan knows is the last place on earth
you want to peak. Peaking in the middle not only shows you don’t know that the most important thing is to finish big, but it also let’s everyone know that you don’t know the other most important thing is to open strong.
Now, if the lack of success with the audience wasn't enough of a referendum, I was obligated to walk over to my friend’s wife... A women who's put me up in her house... A women I've shared meals with... A women who has been endlessly kind to me... and put her in a position where she has to look me in the eye and say, "hey - thanks for coming."
Without any thought to what I was saying (or doing,) reflexively I say "nothin', huh?" And end-up putting this poor soul in the position of elaborating on her previous statement!
"No, they are not interested."
I don’t know if it was the racially insensitive t-shirt, I don't know if it was because during my act I was talking faster than a guy who just got caught cheating, I'm not sure if it was my reference to a child's vagina or if it was just because I have the complexion of Edgar Winter… but whatever the reason, Mtv couldn’t get away from me fast enough.
I decided to mope around the club for a little while longer and watch some comics that were good, some that were not, some that were good looking, and some that looked like shit. As I watched every other comic go upstairs, (with the exception of the one comic that I invited to the show,) I learned exactly WHY you aren't supposed to get too excited about this stuff. * * * * *
Bottle of water out the fuckin' window, I also learned that like any other fat-girl does when they're upset, in the middle of the night I decided it was a good time to stop and stuffed my fat, depressed face with all the greasiest garbage that city could pull out of a deep fryer.
A great P.S. to this story would be to find out that the iPod piece didn't feature me or that no one taped it... once I get confirmation of whatever the last insult is to be added to my injury, I'll post it here.
An even better P.S. would be that I had a heart attack and died driving home in the middle of the night, clutching my bacon cheese-burger or orange-sherbet-and-pure-lard milkshake, but apparently, much like Mtv, God also wants nothing to do with me.