So it has been a long road of recovery since the first moments of my time in Des Moines, when my life flashed before my eyes while at the Mecca of awful food, Arby’s. So far four shows are down, with three to go before I retun to NYC. And they have not disappointed.
Wednesday I was starting to get sick, which should not be a surprise since I traveled from NYC to Des Moines via 19 hour Amtrak ride to Chicago, followed by a 6 hour bus ride from Chicago to Des Moines. Escaping that trip without some sort of illness would make me a David Dunn-level character, so it is good to know that I, like most human beings am susceptible to catching things from train cars full of barefoot, obese people trying to avoid TSA.
So my performance Wednesday was probably a B+. The crowd seemed sort of entertained and I sold 1 CD, but I got to experience that awesome feeling every comedian loves – I stood by the door with my CDs and complimentary cards (with all my web info) on a table and the crowd largely rushed out like I was exposing my dick to a 2nd grade classroom. This happens plenty of times and it never stops feeling awkward. People I saw laughing their asses off basically turned into Usain Bolt when the passed the table at the end of the show. Also, early week crowds tend to be free ticket-type crowds so they are just there to distract themselves and if you are not a famous person they have no interest in you, your CDs or your stupid cards.
Thursday was basically the same thing, but for two differences: I sold no CDs on Thursday and a male patron sh*t his pants. I’d like to think this was due to my comedy, but apparently the customer simply drank himself into defecating.
Friday shows were interesting. I sold 3 CDs on the first show, but I felt like the crowd largely hated my guts. It might be my imagination, but the early crowd (730pm) made me feel like I was a jazz trio in the corner providing background for their dinner and drinks. And for the first time during the week I got several people who felt like sharing their opinions during several jokes – right as I was about to deliver the punchline. Also, I finally got an unsolicited “BOO” when I mentioned President Obama in a non-political joke. After the show, an interracial couple (black guy, white woman) bought my CD/DVD and gave me a $20 (I charge $10) and told me to keep the change because they “appreciate what I do.” I could not tell if they were doing that because they loved my comedy, if they feel a connection to me because they hope their kids turn out like me, or if they just felt bad for me for being a lawyer-turned-comedian, knowing that homeless crazy person is the next stop on my downward spiral of life. Whatever the reason, thanks.
The second show Friday was fu*king awesome. Probably one of the best sets I have ever had – it was a young crowd, but more importantly it felt like a real comedy crowd – the type of crowd that loves good comedy. Before the show a guy was telling me he saw Rob Schneider and he sucked so he was looking forward to seeing the show because his experience coming to shows was that the less famous comedians tend to be better than the famous names the club brings in (meaning famous for non-stand up reasons). And after my set, one of the people who bought the CDs said that he had seen Pauly Shore at the club and that he sucked. It was good to see that in stand up comedy, which feels like it is dying the way of print journalism, there are still real comedy fans who are not just star- hungry goobers, but actually appreciate real stand up, even if it is coming from a no-name comedian.
After my set, before the headliner went up, an older woman who was at the show with her family came up to me and said “You are the best comedian I have ever seen at this club. We all absolutely loved it!” So I was feeling great and figured I’d sell well after. I sold 6 CDs after the show and got to meet a lot of good comedy fans, but then something awful happened. There was a woman crying and vomiting all over the bathroom – like Exorcist-style, minus the green coloring. Here is the evidence, in case you are eating lunch or dinner right now:
And who was the person exploding in tears and puke? The woman who told me I was the best comedian she had ever seen at the club. Apparently, the party never ends for people in Des Moines, even 55 year-old women. So I probably will no longer use her comment as a fan testimonial. Probably not very reliable. And no, she did not buy a CD.