On Wednesday morning Jenny Chalikian and I woke up early to drive down to Atlanta, GA. Her car has AC, good conversation, satellite radio, and someone to split driving duty with. I feel spoiled already. As per usual we didn’t have a plan about where we were sleeping that night, but Jenny had very strong opinions about where we were eating. Jenny introduced me to Farm Burger. Seriously the best burger I’ve ever had. Ever.
We got to the Punchline and stood around looking uncomfortable. Gilbert Lawland recognized me from the Funny Farm when we both did guest sets at Tom Simmons’ show. He turned out to be the host. He showed me the green room and let me know I would be opening the show. When Gilbert was already on stage a guy walked in and asked who was next, I raised my hand like a 5th grader who’s knows the answer.
He said “you have 3 minutes.”
I thought about it for a millisecond and took a risk.
I said, “I’m so sorry to bring this up, but I’m coming from Raleigh, NC, and Jason Barnes told me I could have 5 minutes.”
And then I waited for something bad to happen.
He said “Ok.”
I almost threw up in my mouth.
I went on stage feeling exactly like I do at Goodnights, afraid of going over time, afraid of cussing, afraid of my own shadow. And especially afraid of the mic stand. The evil mic stand. I am always uncomfortable with technology, wires, or things you have to adjust in any way. Walking on stage up to a microphone balanced on a stand that is easily knocked over, that you have to adjust with turny knobs, that frequently gets all tangled up in the stand its attached to, that you run the risk of breaking, or getting twisted up in yourself, or …God knows…in front of a crowd of people waiting for you to talk. Yeah, after two years of doing stand up, I am still uncomfortable with the mic stand.
Last time I was in town I made this confession to Dan Megini, who told me “Kaytlin, the microphone and the stool are sort of the only things we use on stage. You might want to familiarize yourself with the tools of our craft.” Fair point Dan.
I never saw the light, which doesn’t mean I didn’t get the light. I got through what I thought was my 5 minute set, and got off. It didn’t go poorly, but I didn’t kill. Gilbert said “good set” but I still felt awkward about asking for more time, and felt panicked and nauseated over the whole thing. I was concerned I had inadvertently ignored the light and gone over my time.
I found the person who told me I had 3 minutes, and I said kind of desperately, “I didn’t see the light, I’m so sorry if I went over.”
He said “I didn’t light you.”
I later found out from Jenny, that I had in fact done 6 minutes. Panic! Jenny tried to console me by saying “You were on a roll, maybe they didn’t light you because you were getting laughs.” I don’t know. I’m mad that after so many sets I don’t know exactly what 5 minutes feels like.
After the show one of the comics told us about an open mic at the Old Crow Bar. When we showed up there was a healthy, but loud, crowd of comics and unsuspecting bar patrons. I told the MC we were traveling comics and would love some stage time, and he signed us up.
By the time I got on stage the crowd had dwindled down to about 10 people, so I went up with high energy and committed to some new material in a different style. There is no pressure to do well in this context so I really let loose. I felt really good about that set. I had an opportunity to try my long form story again, and it really worked. Jenny went up and tried some new stuff as well. I was glad I got to squeeze a second set in that night. Driving 7 hours one way for 5 minutes on stage is crazy, driving 7 hours for 15 minutes on stage makes way more sense.