I have a confession to make. I can't remember for the life of me what this blog is for.
Originally, I mean. When I first sat down at my computer, dreamed up a name, and put fingertips to keyboard, I have no earthly idea what I was trying to accomplish. I've had goals for the site since then, sure -- good ones, bad ones, unrealized and embarrassing ones -- but on day one, what I had in mind is mostly lost to the ether.
(I say mostly because the very first post, from way back in June 2003, does provide a bit of introduction and rationale for the effort. But mostly, it explains why the first two names I thought of for the blog couldn't be used. And pokes fun of John Lithgow. And vegans. And iMacs. Also, the phrase 'a wet moose dipped in expired duck sauce' appears within.
"It's comforting to know that I've at least been consistent at showing my ass from the very beginning."
It's comforting to know that I've at least been consistent at showing my ass from the very beginning. A little depressing, perhaps, that I've been waving it in the internet's face for four and a half years now, like some kind of Guinness Record Book marathon mooning attempt. But comforting, in its own way.
Still, that leaves little to remind me why I felt compelled to set up shop in the first place, other than to entertain. Hopefully, a bit of that has happened along the way somewhere.
And hopefully, the thought of me waving my ass for four and a half years back there didn't just make you hork up any entertainment you might have previously enjoyed. Or your lunch. It's probably best to stop by on an empty stomach, and with no other recently consumed entertainment in your system. Just to be safe.
At any rate, I've used the site for several humor-related (or attempted humor-related, which carries a slightly shorter sentence, if caught) purposes over the years, but my usual answer for what the site is actually for has been:
'That's where I write stuff, and then see if I can work it into my standup routine somehow.'
The thing is, it's really not especially true.
For one thing, I started the site in June of '03, and didn't actually go onstage until months later. The vast majority of what I wrote in the interval wasn't meant for standup use, and frankly, there's little way I could have used most of it from its printed form. For one thing, I'd have to talk someone into giving me seventy-three minutes of stage time, because these bastard posts are long. I might as well just take a laptop out to Boston Common and start reading; peoples' looks wouldn't be any stranger, and at least I'd save on an hour's rent on a comedy room.
Also, it's probably worth pointing out that I haven't performed onstage since late 2005. I'm still comfortable calling myself an 'aspiring standup comedian' because A) I never really got all that far in 'the business' in the two years and ninety or so shows I did, and 2) I think I might like to go back onstage someday. Just not today. And probably not tomorrow. I'll get back to you next week, and see how I feel about it. Maybe next month.
Meanwhile, I write, but it's now obviously a separate exercise than the in-club, live-action, mostly-open-mic sort of thing I tried in the past. So separate, in fact, that I'll occasionally be talking to someone, or get a comment from a reader, who says:
'Hey, you should really try doing standup.'
Note that these are not people who actually saw me do standup, or apparently know that I performed in the past. These are people who, in a relative vacuum, are led to believe that me doing standup sounds like a really generally okay idea, in the grand scheme of things.
Also note that these people are not my wife or friends or family members who actually did see me do standup. Those people are largely mum on the subject. Except for the occasional nervous cough or involuntary gag when I bring it up. Nice.
So consider this post both a tidbit of information that you might not have had -- i.e., that I used to perform, mostly amateurly and seven minutes at a time, before tiny audiences throughout the Boston area -- and an opportunity, should you find your interest piqued, to join that group of folks who now roll their eyes and choke on their tongues when they reminisce about watching my live shows.
Because I have videos.
Actually, I've had the videos for years, and a link over on the sidebar to the 'Standup Stories' page recounting my experiences. But most of the video links on the individual show pages haven't worked for a while, since I ran over my space quote on the host server. A while back, I took a few select clips, uploaded them to YouTube, and linked them back in to the proper places.
Then I got bored. So I never went back and removed the other links, or uploaded more videos, or gave it much thought for a few months. But now, just in case anyone out there might be starting to form an inkling of the thought, 'Hey, maybe you should do standup', I can pretty well nip that in the bud with these links to the shows with working YouTube clips:
(All of the following shows were performed at The Comedy Studio in Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA. It's my favorite room for standup in Boston, and a real treat to play or watch there when the room is packed and the crowd is having a blast. Good hosts and a few scorpion bowls don't hurt, either.)
If you were to watch all of those clips... well, that'd be a little over an hour of your life that you'd never have back. But you'd also see examples of most of the types of shows I experienced as a comedian onstage -- some great crowds, some small crowds, new material not working, old and tested material not working, some big laughs, some crickets, and usually, a hell of a lot of fun.
You'd also see a lot of the same material in a half dozen of the clips, and you'd get a really disturbing glimpse into the really, really striped rugby-heavy wardrobe I sport. I'm wearing the exact same shirt in five of those clips.
(Yes, I still own it. And yes, I wore it last week. The fashion hound is not me.)
Anyway, at least now if I ever talk about getting back onstage again, you'll have something to cough and sputter about. So we'll be even on that front. Peachy.