These Kids Today

Friday June 25th, 2010 – Round Lake Beach, IL

Some things are best left unsaid. I sure wish I could have grasped that concept years ago as I’ve screwed myself more than once with something I blurted out, just because it’s how I really felt. That may be true, but it’s not always a good idea to actually speak it out loud.

From some of my earliest memories, I can recall letting my thoughts come flying out of my mouth unvarnished, and seeing people’s facial expressions change drastically. I don’t mean any harm by it and never did. In fact, I always thought it was a form of respect to be able to tell someone something with no B.S. attached. I guess I was wrong. I’m learning.

Tonight was an example of a situation that came up where I kept my mouth shut, and it was a conscious choice on my part. I could have said something, but I chose not to. That’s something I’m getting better at, even though I still think what I think. I kept it to myself.

There was a comedy show at the Round Lake Beach Community Center in Round Lake Beach, IL of all places. Funny they should name it that considering that’s the name of the town. The show was put on by Dan Morris, a young comic who lives in the area and who I was able to take with me to open the shows in Champaign and Freeport, IL last week.

I like Dan. He’s serious about comedy and wants to get better. He’s looking for comedy venues to book in Lake County, and I think it’s great. He found the Community Center on the internet and approached them about doing shows. This is his second attempt and there were maybe 35 people, 40 tops. It wasn’t a huge crowd, but they all came out to have fun.

Dan asked if I wouldn’t mind closing the show, and of course I didn’t. I was off the it’s literally a five minute drive from where I live. He booked some of the younger generation of comics to do it, and although I like the people he booked, a few of them were throwing around a little attitude backstage. I know comedy is difficult, but it’s hard for everyone.

A couple of the comics were moaning a little about the lack of audience, and they were a little cocky for my tastes. It reminded me of a time when I was about that age and I had a similar outburst. I whined about a small audience one night and a veteran comic named T.P. Mulrooney got in my face in front of everyone and told me to shut up and pay dues.

He snapped at me pretty good, and at first I didn’t know how to take it. Then, I knew he was completely right and I apologized to both him and the other comedians in the room at the time, most of whom had been around a lot longer than I had then. T.P. told how being a real comedian does involve doing shows for small audiences and learning to enjoy it.

I wasn’t angry at any of these kids tonight, but I thought about pulling a T.P. and going off on the ones who were bitching in front of the others so everyone could see it and have the benefit of learning a lesson. Comedy IS a struggle, and one has to earn the right to get in front of a sizeable audience. It’s not a birth right. They were indeed lucky to be in such a plush venue as it was. Do your best show for who’s there. But I didn’t. I shut my mouth.

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