In an attempt to get my year started right, I tried to book more stand-up shows to get some momentum going. My good friend Ryan Sickler was kind enough to throw me on his line-up, at Flappers in Burbank, where he was headlining. Four shows over 2 nights was a good way to pile up some numbers for my resolution attempt, and it was in town.
The Crabfeast is a super funny podcast, hosted by Sickler and Jay Larson, and the line-up was billed as comics who have appeared on the show. Their following is loyal and it’s a real fun thing to be associated with.
The first night of the show was preceded by precipitation, heavy rain is a cause for alarm in Los Angeles and it was not the best omen for a show. I white knuckled my steering wheel, and showed up at the club in pretty good shape. There was an audience and they were warm and responsive.
In the lobby, which doubles as a green room, a fellow comic and friend, Patrick Keane (pictured, left), was hanging out to support; and Sickler, graciously, threw him some stage time. I hadn’t seen Keane in a while, but we picked up where we left off and it was a great way to loosen up before the show. Another comic on the bill, Mick Betancourt, arrived and we wondered how we didn’t know each other yet, and within ten minutes we were chopping it up like we had 10 years under our belt. Matt Fulchiron had car pooled with Mick, and Matt and I go way back, it was a mini-reunion and it was bound to be a good show. It was.
More importantly, the camaraderie of the green room/lobby was a comfort and a pleasure. In my days as an actor, it was a rare dressing room that had this kind of feeling. Comics are a notoriously catty group, but in some cases, with some crews, and on some nights, we get along like a championship team, about to crack champagne. It says a lot about the guy who brought us together, but I’m not sure how much I can continue to flatter him, without sounding odd.
During one of the better jags of the night, we quoted a favorite comic’s jokes and all recalled different lines, cracking ourselves up over the absent friend’s brilliant material. “I forgot about that one”, “I never heard that one.” “Is that new?” It is high praise and true talent that can entertain in absentia. It is what we all aspire to.
The second show was about to start and we all had to reset our pre-show ritual, which for me involves pacing, shadow boxing, and high anxiety, which is partly affected and better than it used to be. Matt Fulchiron was on-deck. He put his beer down, cut short a topic, and had the line of the night, as the host told him he was next, “This is the part of the job I hate.” We all laughed and knew what he was talking about. Of course it’s funny because it’s true, partly; we all love the stage, particularly when it goes well, but when it goes badly, we all spiral into doubt and fall back to position one, wondering how it went south. What he meant, I think, is hanging with a crew who knows you’re funny, and know what you go through to get through, is a great place to be and hard place to leave, even as a paying audience awaits.
I may be reading too much into the night, but I was feeling reflective, and on my way to feeling grateful for this life I’ve carved out. I want to thank all you guys for reminding me.