Standup… in a “theatre”

     So I'm doing a show at this small venue in San Francisco. It's a special gig because I've been asked to feature with two other performers in a non-comedy show. It's great. I get to include a head shot and a bio I've written for the program. And I get to come in and work up a list of lighting cues, so the stage goes red, for example, when I talk about my sex life. Or I talk about a dream I had and there is a soft window-looking light over my shoulder to suggest the moon… I get to say if I want the curtains drawn or half-drawn, or not drawn at all. I get to pick the music I'll walk in with that's going to get the crowd "in the mood". And I get to pick the music I'll exit with.

     The music that says, "wow, what a show!" or "funny and hip!" For my intro, I choose something from Beck's Midnight Vultures1, and my outro is a classic Pixies song like "Here Comes Your Man". I get to decide if the music starts and then I am introduced and the lights go down, and I walk out and the music stops when I start talking, or if I am introduced and then the lights go down and then the music starts and then I come out and start and then the music stops. I get to decide everything except the one thing I have asked for three weeks in advance. One of the most important components a comedian works with. I don't get to have a microphone.

     I ask the technical director if the mic and the mic stand will be set up later, because maybe she forgot… She looks like she'd hoped I'd forgotten. She's not in charge anyway. Go ask the director/manager/fundraiser/president of the theatre if she remembered your mic and mic stand. Ok. I walk up the stairs and hello… yes, friends are coming. I've already had two weeks of acting class, so I know how these theatre people operate.

     You've gotta grease them up. "This is going to be a great show! No, I understand you can't give any comps. Half price on refreshments? Well, I'll have to try one of those brownies! So, I don't see the mic on stage… Actually, I still would like to use one. Oh. Excuse me? No, it's not a "security blanket".3 It's a prop. I realize it's a small house, but it helps to create the effect of a comedy show. The artifice… well how bad would it sound? I see." We don't speak for a long time. "Ok. I guess you can skip it." The show goes on. No mic. I am a "professional." I do fine. But damn. You don't make it easy. 1 I was only recently informed this album is supposed to be Prince-y. No wonder I like it. 2 I mean butter I guess. 3 Chutzpah!