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Only Joking

So Wednesday night I did a bit of stand-up comedy at the Improv in Hollywood. I have to say that at a certain point it begins to feel kind of pathetic to still be performing. I would never identify myself as a comedian and I’m almost embarrassed if people ask if I still do it and I have to say, “yeah, once in awhile.” You see, stand-up comedians are a fucked up bunch and I don’t like to group myself in with them although I do continue to tell jokes. And also, let’s be honest, most comics are just not that funny. But even if a comic is funny it’s difficult to find your crowd cause think about it; when you go out to see a random night of stand-up you may be expecting Carrot Top or a midget juggler (always a hit) and end up with Patton Oswalt and think to yourself, “what the hell? This guy ain’t no Top that’s for damn sure.” Let me tell you, a lot of times those are the crowds. Drunk frat guys coming out to the Improv just drooling at the thought of a Dane Cook sighting. Dane Cook? Not that funny.

Years ago I realized I’d never be famous as a comic. And nor did I want to be. It’s a tough life and in my opinion doesn’t lead to anything good. Once I did a gig in Palm Springs where the condo the club owner put us up in was crawling with ants and there was pubic hair in the sheets on the bed. Yeah, Hotel Sofital it wasn’t. It was around that time I decided that maybe there wasn’t a future in this line of work. But what cinched the decision was the last club I worked. I had to drive to San Jose to work a club called The Funny Bone. This was one of those chains that had a decent rep and I felt lucky to get booked there. I drove all the way up state from Los Angeles (approx. 8 hour drive) and settled myself into the condo to watch a Real World marathon before the shows that night. Only about 20 people were seated for the first show but I didn’t worry too much since it was a Tuesday night. But the next day, after going to the local movie theatre to see Barcelona the sequel to Metropolitan. When I got back, there was a Pay or Quit sign on the condo door. The notice went on to say that if the money wasn’t delivered in 24 hours, locks would be placed on the door. I decided then and there I would be asking for cash payment at the end of the week. If the gig lasted that long.

By Thursday the power in the club was shut off and I would’ve gone home at that point but the owner swore it would be back on in time for the weekend shows. Friday night someone in the audience yelled out, “I hope you get cancer.” And that was after one of my funniest jokes. Okay, you get the picture.

On the last night, I was relieved the gig was over, happy that I wasn’t locked out of the condo and eager to go home. I just needed to get paid. I walked into the owner’s office to ask for my pay and was handed a check. I meekly asked if I could get paid in cash and the owner looked at me like I asked him for a kidney. “No, I couldn’t possibly give you cash. We didn’t have a good week.” Of course, right there I should’ve known that he was foreshadowning NO MONEY but I stood my ground. Finally, he agreed to give me half in check and half in cash. He also shorted me fifty dollars which I argued about for all of six minutes before realizing the futility of it.

You probably already guessed the rest. The check bounced and after six months of trying to get my money, I gave up. And pretty much gave up on the road.

I never looked back but sometimes I do want to tell jokes just for the sake of telling jokes. There’s just too much politics that come with it. So for now, I’ll blog where no one can make me bring ten people or give me the light after 10 minutes. And I can say fuck as much as I want to.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on August 20, 2006 3:15 amUncategorized12 comments  

12 Comments

  1. Oblivious Maven said,

    Wow. That’s something I just could never even try. So how’d it go this time?

    | August 20, 2006 @ 4:49 am

  2. surcie said,

    When I saw your photo on your book, I could’ve sworn I’ve seen you do standup on television. Is that possible?

    The whole thing of having to stay in a crappy condo with other people would be the career-ender for me.

    No, Dane Cook isn’t that funny. And apparently not too smart either if he was involved with Jessica Simpson.

    | August 20, 2006 @ 12:01 pm

  3. sunshine scribe said,

    Dane Cook … not funny. Carrot Top … not funny (IMO).

    You … funny.

    Glad you get to share your funny bone with us instead.

    It takes a lot of guts to be a stand up. Cudos to you!

    | August 20, 2006 @ 12:38 pm

  4. Taira said,

    I definitely agree about Dane Cook. He reminds me of a court jester trying too damn hard or maybe not at all.

    Wow, I cant imagine going after my dreams like that. I’m one of those “dream big,do nothing” people. Then when Oscar time comes around I’m a real bitch. It makes perfect sense in my ugly head.

    | August 20, 2006 @ 2:21 pm

  5. Heather said,

    I’d pay to see your show. Come to the Columbus Funny Bone and I’ll bring my office so you’ll at least have 11 drunks in the audience laughing every time you say fuck.

    | August 20, 2006 @ 3:49 pm

  6. mothergoosemouse said,

    That can’t be an easy gig. I admire you for giving it a shot (and still going back on occasion).

    In New York, we used to go to Caroline’s, the Improv, Dangerfields, and the last place we went was on the Upper West Side – forgot the name – and a guy I knew distantly from college was performing there.

    Ditto the others – would love to see you perform.

    | August 21, 2006 @ 4:29 pm

  7. Jenny said,

    Ever perform in Houston? Because I would sooo go to see you.

    Carrot top I would not go to see.

    | August 21, 2006 @ 5:03 pm

  8. gingajoy said,

    hells, i would pay to see you for sure. any woman who can write this blog, that book, and marvel at the inexplicable popularity that is Dane Cook is all right by me.

    | August 21, 2006 @ 7:19 pm

  9. stephanie said,

    I’d so pay to hear you be funny!

    | August 21, 2006 @ 7:44 pm

  10. chris said,

    How can you be bored? Come to NC. We’ll show you bored.

    | August 22, 2006 @ 12:58 am

  11. Mom101 said,

    I fucking hate Dane Cook – his website just crashed my browser.

    | August 25, 2006 @ 8:59 pm

  12. creative-Type Dad (Tony) said,

    Wow! That’s pretty brave. I’d pay to see you perform

    | August 31, 2006 @ 5:43 am

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