This week in comedy I took a road trip to a new town without much of a plan. I found an incredible comedy community and a lot of high quality stage time. I drove down to Atlanta with Pepper, my best friend, to hang out with her while she’s in the country- and to get as much stage time as possible.
Before I drove down I called a couple of comics I knew in the area and poked around online for about 20 minutes and found out that on Wednesday’s Laughing Skull hosts an open mic. I sent them an e-mail and confirmed some stage time. I showed up and hung out at The Vortex (the restaurant attached to the comedy club) which has the greatest menu in the country. The room is amazing and it was absolutely packed. All the comics were shuffled to the green room and that’s where I met Ben Gleib.
We started talking because I was convinced we knew each other. He looked so familiar, and I’m infamous for not knowing important people’s names. Turns out he looks familiar because he’s on t.v. a lot, he’s a regular on the Chelsea Lately Show. He was kind enough to watch my set. Thanks Ben! Because I did well at Laughing Skull, a few of the comics invited me to perform at Relapse the next night. It’s a very fun room and there were quite a few really talented comics. They told me about this secret show happening that Saturday at 1am.
On Friday I went to see Tom Simmons perform at the Funny Farm in Roswell, GA. I didn’t get to do a set that night but I talked to the host and Tom, so on Saturday I did two guest sets at the Funny Farm. Tom introduced me to Dan Mengini, who was working out some new material. He invited to me the Punchline to see Louis Katz perform. Louis Katz killed. I was muttering his punch lines to myself for the rest of the night. Buy his CD, fan him on facebook, see him live, write his name down on those little comment cards at clubs…whatever. He’s good.
After the show everyone went to Café 290. There were a ton of comics there, all different levels, just goofing off and talking about comedy. The whole city felt like one big comedy festival. Café 290 has an amazing bartender, he serenaded at least four people with one of the most creative prop performances I’ve ever seen. At one point Jason Barnes came up to me and told me that I was welcome anytime to do the Punchline’s open mic. He turned around to order a drink, and by the time he turned to me again I had my planner out. He laughed and called me adorable. But he confirmed me for July 6th and I get to bring a friend so we can split gas. Thank you Jason!
After the second show at the Funny Farm I went to see the “secret show” at Relapse at 1am. It was chaos. Relapse had hosted an “Old Hollywood” themed prom for grown-ups (theatre people.) So in addition to comics and comedy fans there were a lot of really dressed up drunk people. I had another opportunity to hang out with the local comics and touring headliners, everyone was very nice and supportive.
The rest of the night felt surreal. Pepper met up with a college friend, who just happened to have access to a 24 hour pool in his apartment complex overlooking downtown Atlanta. Pepper had her bathing suit…because she’s a boy scout (seriously, who carries a bathing suit around?)….so I decided to keep my underwear on. We all stood at the edge of the pool, held hands, counted to three, and jumped in. We told each other dirty stories until we were all giggling hysterically. By the time we started shivering and our teeth started to chatter we had retold most of the best stories from highschool. Later that night Pepper watched my set on a flip cam and I felt relieved when she started laughing. Funny how my best friend’s opinion mattered way more than Ben Glieb’s. Although, for the record, Pepper did manage to avoid seeing me perform live the WHOLE time we were in Atlanta.
Being funny on stage is only the first step (the most important step) to building a career in comedy. But asking questions, asking for help, and asking for stage time are other EQUALLY important aspects. I came to Atlanta with one 5 minute set at Laughing Skull, and left the city having done 4 sets in 3 venue’s, a bunch of great comics who I know I can call if I need some advice, or a couch to crash on the next time I’m in town, and an invitation to return and showcase at one of the greatest clubs in the South East. Show business might be all about who you know, so lesson of the week; GET OVER YOURSELF AND TALK TO PEOPLE!