Well, today I had an audition for Last Comic Standing. I did two minutes in front of three big time pros: Andy Kindler (very respected comedian), Natasha Leggero (who sort of reminded me of the lead singer of The Bangles – niiiiice) and one of my two favorite comedians, Greg Giraldo (Chris Rock the other).
From the title you can tell that I did not advance and sadly I completely agreed with the judges. However, there is something profoundly crippling when one of your idols in your business tells you, as nicely as possible, that it wasn’t good enough. Sort of like how Michael Jordan ruined Kwame Brown’s career by continually berating him and calling him a “faggot” in practice when he was an 18 year old rookie with the Wizards. Kwame was never a good player after that, though he did his best to dispel the epithet by fathering a starting five and two subs with numerous women (at last check). None of the judges were mean at all – they were quite nice and refreshingly constructive, but I hope that was not because I am almost the size of Kwame Brown and they are not Michael Jordan’s size. I must admit though, that when Giraldo went to speak and I could see from his expression that it was going to be a very lukewarm appraisal it was one of the most painful moments of my career.
I guess I came prepared with a sort of a generic set that may have worked with producers in the past, but with real, genuine comedians of a high order judging, that was a big mistake. It seems whenever I audition for something I play it safe, probably because auditions terrify me.
What is so bitter to take is that this season could be great and come with an extra stamp of legitimacy because of who is judging and selecting. Of course there are funny people who will not make it, but if Greg Giraldo says you are a good comedian, it carries with it some real street cred that Bobby Baccala from The Sopranos (previous celebrity judge) just does not have.
On a plus, they thought my Obama impression was really good. But Giraldo thought the premise surrounding the impression was too convoluted (which as soon as he said it I thought – “of course it is – FU-K!”). As I left Gotham Comedy Club – my brain began to re-work jokes, but not to make a show, but because their advice, even on the two minutes of material, could actually make me a better comedian. I guess if their feedback can help me make my material better then there is a silver lining. It might have been helpful if one of them told me to give up also. Time will tell on that one.
Good luck to Nick Cobb, David Cope, Luke Cunningham, Myq Kaplan and any other friends who have moved on.