As most folks probably know, I retired from actively performing stand-up comedy in 2005 to focus on stand-up comedy education for comedians.
But I got the opportunity to perform again after a 7 year absence from the stage – and I nailed it! Here’s what happened…
I got an email from Gid Pool (one of my students) letting me know that he was headlining a gig at the Olde Stone country club right here in Bowling Green, KY (where I live) on Nov 2, 2012. He contacted me the week before to ask if I would do 10 minutes to open the show for him and I agreed, knowing full well that:
- I hadn’t performed as a comedian for 7 years, so I would need to put in some serious effort beforehand if I expected to kill on stage – especially with only about 10 days in advance to prepare.
- Opening spots tend to be the most difficult because the audience is not yet warmed up.
- The gig was being held in a country club ballroom and would likely not be set-up in the most optimal fashion for maximum stand-up comedy impact.
- The crowd would be somewhat small. Sure enough, there was only about 60 people at the show.
Note: There was a stage and the mic was great. The seating was more spread out than I would prefer and the stage lighting was extremely poor (basically, I was performing in the dark).
Still, I was able to do very well at the gig because I literally spent hours preparing for the gig using the exact same techniques I describe in detail in my course.
Because most of the stand-up comedy material that I had developed during my comedy career was clean and timeless, I didn’t have to spend much time selecting or adjusting material for the gig.
Probably the most exciting part of the gig for me was that I was also able to deliver some brand new, never performed material to the stage that killed.
Again, I can only attribute that to my system for developing and delivering stand-up comedy material.
I should have the video of my performance in the next week or so. And while I may not have quite hit the headliner level mark of averaging 18+ seconds of laughter per minute, I already know from experience that I was fairly close to that performance benchmark.
I will be evaluating my performance using Comedy Evaluator Pro as soon as I get the video and will update this article with the results.
Update: Well,I managed to average 14 seconds of laughter per minute (PAR Score 23) during this stand-up set after a 7 year absence. I’m pretty darn happy with that considering the extreme darkness of the stage, less than optimal seating arrangement and the fact that I was the opening act. 🙂
I also have enough experience to know that had the seating been closer and the stage lighting better, I would have generated much more laughter during this set.
Let me leave you with this:
I walk the talk when it comes to my system. And if a guy like me who hasn’t been on stage for a very long time can come back and kill an audience after a 7 year absence from the stage — in the opening spot no less — without anxiety, hesitation or reservation…
Well, I think that says something. And getting paid $10 per performing minute wasn’t too shabby either. 🙂
If you have watched the stand-up comedy documentary “I Am Comic”, then you got to see first hand how comedian Ritch Shynder didn’t quite have the same experience that I did after his long absence from the stand-up comedy stage.
But don’t take my word for it…
Contact Gid Pool and ask him how I did (he didn’t know how long it had been since I was on stage before I did the gig and was shocked when I told him after the show).
All I know is that there are few experiences that rival the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment that comes with being able to kill an audience on demand. 🙂