A Boozy Floozy


Thursday January 28th, 2010 – St. Charles, IL

I’m working at Zanies in St. Charles, IL this week which is located in the Pheasant Run Resort. The club is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this year and I’ve worked every one of them. How far I’ve come, both personally and as a comedian. It was my training ground.

I still love working there. The manager is Cyndi Nelson, one of the nicest people I have ever met in life, much less the comedy business. She was a waitress and ended up getting the manager’s job when the last one was caught tapping the till, and she’s become one of the best comedy club managers in the country. She lives and breathes everything comedy.

I’ve seen club managers burn out all over the country, and I hope that doesn’t happen to Cyndi. She’s been there for several years and every comic loves working for her. She puts a whole lot of extra effort into her job to make us feel like we’re really in show business.

Most of the old pros really appreciate it and look forward to playing there. I know I do. The physical makeup of the club itself is very good. The stage is roomy and high enough up so everyone in back can see. The sound is crisp and the lighting is good too. It rocks.

The headliners have to do some local suburban radio shows, but that’s ok. Hopefully it helps put butts in seats. A new addition this time through was a pod cast by two guys who call their show “The Greatest Show In The World”, which is an outstanding title, rivaled only by my friend Steve “The Homer” True’s “ The World’s Greatest Sports Talk Show.”

Title is important, but these guys have a really good show too. They’re named “Frankie & The Cheez” and both of them used to be in radio until they got a dose of the old see ya later and never went back. You can hear them at http://www.thegreatestshowintheworld.com.

The shows this week have been well attended so far. Last night there was a late holiday party of Payless Shoes managers from the Chicago area and they were an especially good audience. I tend to go over well to working class audiences, as I don’t talk down to them.

Tonight was even fuller, and 99% of the audience was very good. Unfortunately, it had to be right up front where the 1% sat, and they ruined it for everyone else. Typical. I saw the problem the first ten seconds I was on stage, because it was from a super hot blondie who would NOT shut up. She was distracting by both her looks and drunken babbling.

To make it even worse, she was with some total bag of donuts loser with a shaved head, goatee, chain wallet and attitude to match. Plus, he was a Sox fan and had to let it be said to the point of me having to shut him up to the roaring applause of the rest of the crowd.

This was no easy task, and I had all I could handle to keep the show under control as the evening went on. There was a very full house tonight and it was a fundraiser for some sort of softball league or something, and I could tell they were a bit older than last night and a lot more white collar. I know how to read my audiences after all these years of doing it.

Last night I had a more direct approach to capture them right away, but tonight I needed to be less aggressive up front and gradually ramp it up. Paying attention to these details is what makes a professional entertainer, and it takes years of experience to nail it correctly.

I also knew I had to work ‘big’. The room in Pheasant Run is narrow and long, just like the downtown Zanies in Chicago. This one is about three times as large, so when they are full to the back, the comedian has to be very careful to work to all parts of the audience.

I made sure I did that tonight. I consciously slowed my cadence WAY down, especially in the first few minutes, and used big sweeping animated gestures to punctuate my points. Old school professional wrestlers were great at this, as they had to communicate the story of the match to the people in the cheap seats. It’s a very subtle technique, but effective.

Miss Boozie Boobs started in with her vociferous diarrhea up front, and I could tell I’d be dealing with her the rest of the night. She wanted attention, and I guess her mini skirt and halfway exposed voluptuous knockers weren’t enough. I wanted to dive on her right there, but there were a couple hundred people who wanted to hear jokes. Too bad for me.

She not only would not shut up, she started talking to another woman at the table right behind her. That lady talked back and they started up a conversation right in the middle of  the show. How rude, and I told her that in a way that made the audience laugh but they’d started to get sick of it too, and it was to the point where it could have gotten very ugly.

In the past, I might have really flipped out on her from stage, and I wouldn’t have been wrong in doing it. Cyndi was in the other room because she knows I can handle most any situation on stage and she knows she doesn’t have to baby sit when I’m on. She would’ve had my back no matter what I chose to do, but I made a decision I wasn’t going to snap.

There was a room full of nice people who were enjoying the show and I wanted to give them the very best I could give. I ignored the drunk couple, but DAMN she was sexy. It’s bad enough I have to get heckled by a hottie, but that she was with such an oil can loser is even worse. He gets to have wild sex with her and I get to sit by myself and write about it.

The very worst was that I finally got them relatively quiet enough to launch into my big closer, which is totally a rhythm bit. If I get taken out of my rhythm, it’s shot. It builds up a momentum and the audience gets into it and when it works it’s an ass kicker. When it’s interrupted, it fizzles. Usually, by the time I get to it I’ve got the audience in my grasp.

I almost had them there tonight, but right in the middle of my closer the two love birds got up and left and ruined my flow. They sat right in front and the whole crowd saw them leave. I tried to ignore them but nobody could. Everyone was gawking as they walked out.

This goes with the territory of being a club comic. I did the best I could, and it was still a very good show. I got strong laughs for most of the night, and nobody else in the crowd knows or cares how difficult it was, but I do. I hope those two were too drunk to screw.

Advertisements

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: