I really try to use twitter as a means to focus my writing, specifically when it comes to comedy. My usage for twitter is really not just to share my stuff, but to help me narrow down what I'm thinking and feeling about a topic into a single thought. It's a basis to start a "bit," or a collection of jokes. I generally feel like if I can express the humor or how I feel about something in 140 characters, I have a good starting point.
Sometimes, in life, there's just no way to edit it down. I'm not talking about material right now, but more how the last 48 hours have made me feel as a comedian and more importantly as a human being.
I did a couple of spots last night at Malo Cantina in Silverlake, which is a great little room with smart audiences. I had a couple of mediocre sets, but got to work out the kinks in some new stuff. My buddy Tony Vinh just moved to LA a few weeks back, and he came out and we got to hang. We even hit the Hollywood Improv up for their 10pm show to see some friends and see a club that neither of us have been to in years. When I first moved to LA 6 years ago, I was running a show there for a short spell, and after that ended I hadn't really been back regularly. It was cool to go to a show and willingly hang out. Just be there to support friends, and spend some time in the comedy community without a "goal" or "objective" in being there.
Tonight I did one of my regular workout spots at Formosa cafe in West Hollywood. As always, it was a really intimate show and I felt like some newer stuff really went off pretty well.
It's always hard to focus on good comedy on the weeks that I have The Darkest Hour show at Westside. It's the show I produce along with my friends Adam Tod Brown & Jeff May, but the producer hat comes with a lot of stresses as well. Did I get the flyers there in time? Did I send out enough invites? Does anyone give a shit? Will all the comedians show? These are the things that occupy my mind leading up to show time. It's a never ending stressfest, and it can be a constant reminder of how what you've chosen to dedicate your life to matters to so few people.
I was running super late tonight with traffic, which added to my stress. I showed up for our 11:30 show around 11:25, and didn't know what I was walking into. Normally the improv show that goes right before us runs a little late, and the audience is all wound up as it's truly one of the best in the city. If you like improv, go check out Mission Improvable on Saturdays at Westside. It's really great. I was shocked to walk in and see an attentive PACKED house, ready and waiting for The Darkest Hour. I saw familiar faces and new ones, and within minutes we were locked in a ready to go.
Adam hosts the show regularly now, and from the first 2 minutes he stepped on stage there was a magic in the air tonight. Adam had an AMAZING opening set, where he sort of slowly put his arms around the crowd, establishing the concept and opening them up with perfectly crafted jokes. The stress started to dissipate.
Next up was Jeff May. I've know Jeff for about 3 years now, and when I met him he was very new in comedy. Now he's one of my best friends, but objectively, I watched Jeff May drop 8 minutes tonight of sheer brilliance. The stage presence, the writing, the delivery, and most importantly the ownership. Jeff is always good, but tonight watching him felt transcendent. Jeff is not a comic, but a comedian. A guy only a few years in with such a super distinct point of view and style that I found myself watching him with the same excitement that I'd watch a Bill Burr or a Dave Chappelle with. When he came off, I congratulated him on a great set, and told him I was proud of him. On the drive home, I thought "man I hope that didn't come off as condescending," but I'll be honest with you guys: I was inspired by it.
Somehow with each comedian, the show just kept rolling. The energy STAYED the entire night. Eddie Della Siepe went up and destroyed, followed by Harmony McElligott's great set with tremendous writing. Comic after comic was tight, killer, and made the show diverse and full of energy. I found myself sitting in the back of the room watching and laughing like a fan. It was great.
Before I knew it, I was on stage and diving right into the new material that I've been working on, and riding the high of my predecessors, it all landed. It was all in place, my pace was on, and I was just riding the wave at that point. It was the happiest I've been with a set in months, and I take none of the credit. Great room, great crowed, amazing lineup. To give you perspective, generally as the show wraps around 1am, people are struggling to stay awake. We closed the show with Matthew Broussard, who does incredibly intelligent and well written stuff, and the audience was locked in as if we just started the show. He absolutely leveled it, and even gave us a peak at some amazing MondayPunday.com stuff. (Go check it out!) It's a really fun way to feel dumb.
There was an energy in that room tonight, and I drove home feeling humbled, inspired, and so happy. I can't say enough how truly grateful I am that I have any fans at all, or friends that play the part of fans when I have shows, or tweet out nonsense, etc. You guys do such a great job of showing up for me, and I just desperately want to show up for you and give you your time and money's worth.
The last two days have made me excited to do stand-up again in a way that I haven't felt in a few years. I'm excited to feel this way, and I'm excited about what's to come.