An acquaintance was recently drilling me on whether I knew a headhunter who specialized in Html coding. Not only was I not listening, but I wasn't even looking at him. I was more, how shall I say, staring past him pretending he didn't exist. Why? Oh, that. Well, that was because my name was being called on stage at that precise moment and I was preoccupied with performing stand-up comedy for 20 minutes in front of 200 people who had, up until this point in the night, made it clear that they were very underwhelmed.
I am a strong believer of clamping down, zoning in and being silent right before I go up stage and perform stand-up comedy. It doesn't matter if I am at an open mic, a big theater show, a drug clinic or anywhere in between. And my standing meditation doesn't have to be for a full hour, depending on the show and the stakes. But I do need some time. I don't respond to texts from friends asking me what time I go on (my biggest pet peeve by the way) and I don't like to talk too much to fellow comedians or passersby. It may look unfriendly, but it's not. I have a job to do and there are a LOT of people waiting for me to deliver (like 11-12 people, on a good night). The show is not what I say in the cramped hallway of the bar as I wait my turn. The show is ON THE STAGE. Do I really need to spell it out? The stage the stage the stage! The stage is where I do my comedy, which I have been trying to craft for over six years and present to you, the audience, so that you can have a good time. At the show. The real show. Where you sit in the seats. And I stand on the stage.
Well, I guess not everyone agrees with me.
Here are the top 10 things I've had said to me five minutes before I was to go up on stage. Were they intended to pivot me on my heels and sabotage my precocious "career?"
You be the judge.
10. "Do you have the energy that this crowd requires?" - The guy that asked me this was the host of the show who was popping a valium as he was asking me this question. Seriously.
9. "Oh, you're hosting? I thought you'd been doing this longer." - A disappointed newbie who saw her future collapse in front of her through my failure to launch into the feature or headliner spot of the show we were doing in the grocery store.
8. "You can handle following a magician, right?" - A booker who hated me.
7. "They've decided to have the feature open, and you middle, since they're concerned the crowd will be weird about having a woman just thrown at them cold turkey. The pay is going to be the same." - The same booker from #8. (No, I never learn).
6. "Last time we had two women on the show, they bombed and we kicked them off stage. Be. Funny. Or we will never book a woman again." - The President of a Happiness Organization in a rural town in the mountains. I'm serious.
5. "Hey, if you go out with me you'll get an extra three minutes on this show. I can arrange it, no problem." - Some dude who had nothing to do with the comedy show or venue. He actually yelled this through his car window while he was stuck in traffic.
4. "I'm new. Can I follow you around? Have you been on TV?" - The same person from #9, but a day earlier.
3. "Hey, slight change of plans. You're going to follow my grandfather who's dying wish it is to do comedy." - My high school nemesis. (NEWMAN!!!)
2. "Oh, wait. Vicky, hi. You're in Springfield, MA. And I've got YOU booked in Springfield, NJ. Sorry about that. Damn auto-correct." - A text message from the same booker that hates me. (Like I said...)
1. "Do you want to go before or after the chicken race?" - The absolute best part of this story: It happened in New York City four weeks ago.
Come to a show and whisper something ridiculous into my ear! I'll look through you, I promise.