I’ll start this off by apologizing to you. My goal for this particular blog was to make sure all my performances – and I mean ALL – were preserved and kept up for anyone, mostly me, that was feeling nostalgic. My goal for whatever this becomes was to be an open book. An expose (I’m not gifted enough to throw that dash over the e on expose) on Robert F. Peterson and his journey in becoming a writer, comic, actor or, again, whatever comes my way. Unfortunately last night, which was probably the biggest step in my progression toward success, my phone shit the bed and therefore nothing recorded. Whether this is a memo to myself or to those who support me or even if someone comes across this post years from now so they could see where I started from, I apologize and hope this serves as some kind of semblance of what my goal was and to show I care about my craft.
Since my own brain just called me a pussy for writing that, here we go…
During my class on Tuesday I spoke with a couple of classmates, that word always makes me feel like I’m in second grade, and the topic of Open Mics were brought up. Open mics, which are the first step toward success in stand up comedy, are a right of passage in the comedy game and something I still haven’t done – unless we consider my failed attempt at a music career that literally died the first time I stepped on stage.
Anyway, we all get to talking and learn that The Village Lantern, a bar in “the village” in NYC, has a pretty good one with a lot of support from those who attend. Since the only exposure to stand up comedy was inside of a makeshift studio in front of 20 people, I figured I should probably go to an open mic that also offered support and consolation in the very likely event that I cry and poop myself on stage. Spoiler alert: only one of those two things happened – don’t get the nachos at The Village Lantern.
During the class, myself and another classmate decided that we would go with each other to the open mic to provide extra support and secretly blog about one another like I’m doing. We end up signing up for the 6pm slot because we are both apparently elderly men who need to be home to watch our stories on the television.
In preparation for this mic I practiced hard, probably the first time I ever really practiced for anything (see: failed attempt at music career). I went through a few potential sets that I wanted to feature and decided to go with a select few jokes/stories that I felt would get some laughs. It’s interesting to go through some jokes and hear in your head when people should laugh, when practicing these jokes sometimes the humor gets taken out for the comic – at least in my experience – because you are trying to nail timing. I will say getting a laugh where you expect it is absolutely amazing, but getting a laugh where you didn’t think you would is even better. I think that is a more of a credit to the performance than the words themselves.
So the big day comes rolling around and I’m nervous. I’m not sure any of these jokes will land or if I will completely embarrass myself on the stage. I’m continuously going through my head what I’m going to perform and trying to psych myself up. My classmate comes down with a nasty cold and tells me he can’t make it.
Now I have to do this all on my own. This is a situation where I have to step up to the plate and make a big decision in my life.
Fuck it, I’m going.
What’s the worst that could happen?
WELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL, you could get up on stage and completely blank, you know like stare out into the crowd with all those eyes on you and choke. You could not get a single laugh and end up like a person who stole a loaf of bread in the 1600’s where you end up in the stocks with everyone staring at you and judging your actions. People will video tape it and post it on YouTube and then your entire career is done before it ever starts. You try to revive it, but everyone in the comedy community knows who you are already and won’t let you perform.
That’s insane, but that’s what my biggest fear was. Which is insane and nothing like what did end up happening.
I get to the club and I’m the first one to check in. This is going good so far, I’ll go up early and watch a few of the comics and then head out.
The night starts and we hear the guidelines and find out they work off a lottery system, where they have a bucket of names and when your name is pulled you go up and perform. Given my success with lottery games I should’ve seen the outcome from a mile away, but I didn’t, and finally my name is called…dead last. First open mic, going dead last. This will test my reserve and resiliency.
Finally I make my way on stage, shake the MCs hand and take off. I set my phone up to record, it craps out as you all know.
This is off to a great start.
I dive right in and hit my first joke and what’s that sound?
Even more laughter.
I think I found a new addiction.
I think my place, as corny as this may be to say, is on the stage.
I think I found my calling.
But I’ll never order the nachos again.