Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Diary posting: I did Good Tonight: Open Mike 1979

The first time I was on stage was in 1979. I was 15 years and 8 months old. I know this because I have my diary. I have my diary because I kept every piece of writing like some day, somehow someone would find these words worthy. I still hope to find the thirty or forty manila sheets, folded, and stapled, crayoned and then made into "books" that were put together by the author before she was a computer geek. That habit started in kindergarten, thanks to a swingline given to me by an uncle. Piercing was a big habit, too, waaaay before the goth kids made it theirs. And, I had safety pins in my pierced ears long before Johnny Rotten, only because I was trying to keep the ear holes opened, while they were healing. Okay, that's enough of that reminiscing and tangent leaping. The following comes from that diary entry. Keep in mind, no one knew who Denis Leary was, and this is Boston, before anyone had a clue what comedy clubs were about to do to America.

I have almost no homework tonight, but I can't do any because I want to float for another two hours, then sleep. I'll read some shakespeare, for Bari Hari's class, and write a poem. Wow that's hard. Seven to twenty lines? I can do that WHILE I sleep. Maybe I'll try that, and get another A? I guess it's meter but it's no matter to me, yuk yuk.

But I'm really funny and I know I am now. That Dennis O'Leary guy from the Comedy Connection finally said I could go up on the stage on the new comedians night. They let people perform auditions for a few minutes, then they flash a light at them when they should stop, and then if the audience laughs at them, they ask them to come back and do it again. If they don't laugh, they can come back during the "Open Calls" and try again.

Larry keeps telling me, "Not now, because you're too young to come in the bar, but if you wait at least until you're 17, then I'll let you try." Mark keeps saying, "She's jailbait, but she's allright" so Mark acts like he's my big brother tonight and pretends that I'm with him. Larry wasn't even there. Dennis said, he bet Mark that I could make more people laugh than Mark could. Mark said no way. Then Dennis said, "I'll bet you, she'll make them laugh." Mark kept saying, "I'll have them laughing, every minute I'm on stage."

I felt like a pig on auction. Dennis is always laughing at stuff I'm saying. He says I'm a natural smart ass. I just imitate Dad sometimes. Mark is making everyone laugh all the time, though. He works the bar, and can make a guy dying laugh about the blood pouring out of his head. Dennis has all these people always laughing, though, and nobody is funnier than Dennis. I think he had someone laugh so hard one night, they had an ambulance come in and give them oxygen. The guy was really big and just couldn't catch his breath, was really red, and just huge, and I wanted to see it, but I heard about it from Mark and Larry and everyone.

But I don't even know what to talk about, so I ask Charles, what the hell do I talk about? And Charles said to talk about the Red Sox. I always make him laugh when I talk about sports because I mess it all up. I know the stuff, but I still mess it up. Everyone only has three or five minutes or something so I figure, no big deal I can talk about the Red Sox. But Dennis goes and says, "Hey kid, I'll give you a buck for every minute you get people laughing up there." And I think he did that to piss off Mark because no one gets paid on Open Call except for Dennis and the bar staff. So Mark says, "Yeah, and I'll pay you $100 if you leave the stage in tears!" but Dennis tells him to screw himself. And he says, "Don't go over ten minutes because I hate greedy SOB's, got it?" and I say yah. But then he makes like he was going to make me go up, and he has Mark go up next. And he calls him up, and he says, "Mark, if you cry, then I'll pay you $100!" so he tries to get people to heckle Mark.

Nobody wanted to do it, so he was just heckling him alone. About ten people there were just people who were there to see new guys who never were on a platform except to ride the T. Mark was there for about 4 minutes and just gave up, but I was laughing. I like Mark, and I think he's great! Dennis didn't give him air for breathing. I thought he was going to kill me. He just looked at him and said "thanks shithead" and got back behind the bar. Dennis was going to get me in so much trouble and I'd never be let back in there again, now. But now, he called one more guy up, so the room got back to normal. The guy was from Vermont and pretty funny, and got invited to another week, David something. I only remember because he just LOOKED like a David.

So Dennis called me up and said, "We have to get her on stage before her bed time" then he mangled my name, "Bud-row" but it's okay because everyone does it. I had fun because I was in a room that was my home. Everything there was so familiar. I talked to my pal Mark, and the goofy guy Dennis, and Charles was there. I just talked about the day at Fenway Paaaaaahhk, and riding the T to Kenmooowah. Drinking my first beeeeyyyaah, and scarfing and rowlfing my first fenwaaaay fraank. That was the great American past time. Next thing I know, Dennis is giving me a round of applause and started handing me a ten dollar bill, and said, "Folks, that was her first time, her first time, and 3o men were there! And it was on stage. And I tipped her. So we all win."

I'm going to remember this for the rest of my life. I may never do comedy again, but I know I'll have the best memory of the one night I tried it. It's so wicked to be up there, though, so I hope I get the chance.

And that's the end of the entry. Two weeks later I went up again, and it wasn't as good. I didn't make that many people laugh, and I had a little ego thing. So I had humility lesson. BUT, I started to write, and learn. I began doing more open mikes, and I began writing more and more, and watching more comedy every week. In fact, I watched every night for nearly three years, and when I wasn't watching, I was on stage performing. I worked with other people who wrote. I played in clubs at colleges, and in coffee shops, and I studied other comics and learned about "getting a voice". I became known for being very physical and talking about sports, current events, and the entertainment industry. Later I was known for talking about Cancer, and Ehlers-Danlos, and doing more bizarre character work. ALWAYS writing, and always learning, I still write and I still enjoy watching others to see how well and how wonderful others observe.


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