Saturday, March 13, 2010
Tommy T's Open Mic Finals - Round 2, Group 1 is history!
The Tommy T's Open Mic Finals continue---d!
I'm a little behind on my blogging, but yes, last Monday, the 8th, was the big night for me in the semifinals of the competition. I'd drawn group #1 for the two-evening event, which meant I'd be hitting the stage with an amazing bunch of local comics - Kristen Frisk, Boogee, Joey Gonzalez and Delfino Reyna (misspelled in the photo above). It also meant that, assuming I advanced to the next round, I'd get a full three weeks to work on my stuff for the FINAL final. This pleased me.
After spending a very long weekend getting my first-ever 20-minute set put together, I arrived Monday night nice and early to Tommy T's. I didn't want to feel rushed, and unlike the previous week, I wanted some extra time to hang out and talk to people of mine that were showing up to see me. Some of those folks from Round 1 I didn't even get to say hello to with all the craziness going on. So I got there to find Boogee already in the house and coming up with some last-minute additions to his stuff, and Joey dropped in a few minutes later. Then my people started to trickle in, so I took a spot at the bar where I could see folks coming through the door and said my heys to them before one of the helpful Tommy T's folks guided them to my reserved section. Once again, I was really pleased to see some long-time friends and supportive family members show up to see me perform. Some had seen me on stage previously, but others never had, so I definitely wanted to give them a good show. And with that lineup of comics, I knew that even if I choked, there'd be four other people up there guaranteed to show them a good time.
Kristen got there as well, and the place started filling up. Delfino, however, was nowhere in sight. Delifino is from out of town, so that wasn't totally unexpected with the distance he had to come. So we went ahead and did the drawing for stage order. When I say "we", I mean that I sent my representative (Fist Officer Vladimir) upstairs with the rest once again to do my drawing for me. I don't expect we'll see an elevator backstage at Tommy T's anytime soon, so Vladimir's my proxy). After a few minutes, he came back down to fill me in, and to let me know that I'd drawn the third spot. Score!! Right in the middle. Just what I was hoping for.
Soon enough our host Raj Dutta (remember him from Round 1?) got things started. Kristen, for the second round in a row, had drawn first place, so she got us started, and got the room totally lit up for her 20 minutes. Next in the draw was Joey, who was not only a perfect, crowd-pleasing lead-in for me, but provided me, unintentionally, with a nice add-on to one of my opening jokes (the previous comic callback! Extra level of difficulty!).
And then came I. Like I said, this was my first time doing a 20-minute set. Know what the hardest part of doing a 20-minute set is? Remembering your 20-minute set! I have this thing where I refuse to use notes on stage, but for the first time, I did have a cheat sheet in my coat pocket just in case. I had 10 minutes of material never tested on a crowd before, which had me a bit nervous, but the bigger nerves were from all the mixing around and changing up I did on my existing stuff. Would I remember it all, and in the right order? Well, there were a couple of moments where I had about a half-second of panic on that subject, but it all came together. I was really pleased to find the new stuff playing well (whew!), and I liked how it mixed with the old. The set felt really good, and I was happy to find that I didn't feel clock fatigue (how much time left?!!) at all, but instead very much enjoyed the extra time to work with. Had a ball.
Boogee drew the next spot, and I was totally happy when he came out throwing wheelchair jokes! He started with a "Man, how am I supposed to follow a guy in a wheelchair?" bit that let into a couple of awesome chair jokes in my direction, and the crowd loved it. I keep encouraging other comics to use me for that! Boogee, a good comedy buddy of mine, definitely did so, and it was awesome. As he worked through his set in his typically brilliant Boogee style, Delfino finally made it there (woo hoo!). Luckily, he (by proxy) had drawn 5th place. So he rounded out the evening with tales of outdated cell phones, laying down the Los Banos comedy style. And I was happy to see that we all avoided disqualification - I forgot to mention that while these were technically 20-minute sets, you had to reach a minimum of 15 minutes (which the flashing light at the back of the room signaled when you had) or you were automatically out! No one came up short. Whew!
Next stage was the voting, always the bittersweet part. The great part is when you're all on stage together before any winners are decided. The suck part is that only three of the five can move on. So after a good amount of re-voting, as things were way too close (when it got down to the final two people going for the three-spot, management had to make the call because the vote-by-applause was just going to continue being a tie) , those going on to the finals ended up being me, Kristen and Joey. It was a great night of comedy, man. I was glad to be a part of it.
So that's it for group #1. This leaves group #2 this coming Monday night (3/15), a group made up of the hi-larious cadre of Willie Mac, Jennifer Rutherford, Sam Key, Jake Ward and Ty Anderson. I, for one, will be there to watch it all go down! So if you're itching for some comedy on a Monday night and feel like joining me, that'll be at 7:30 PM at Tommy T's in Rancho Cordova. Once that night is done, we'll know who the group is for the final round. Will keep you updated, as ever!