Thursday, April 06, 2006

Make Your Cuts

Hi ho!

Someone told me I had a blog here, so I thought I'd stop by and see what's what.

I haven't done a show in a week. Partially a product of schedule, partially ennui.

I've got to get some writing done (stand-up and other), and I've got to get up and do some shows. I might see if I can get a set on Saturday. Otherwise, next week.

Two places where I have been able to get up pretty regularly haven't given me spots the last few weeks, so that partially accounts for the lower level of activity. I'm a little paranoid that I did something to bug them, like say, not be funny enough.

I'm not too worried about it, though. I have gone through these kinds of fits and starts before, where I don't write and don't perform and then bang bang bang, I write a bunch, and I get shows all over the place. It'll come back.

***

The writing. I need to write new stuff, and I need to tighten up some of the current stuff. For new stuff, I have ideas in my notebook that are just sitting there, like dirty laundry. (To extend the analogy then, writing is like dropping off my clothes for the ole' wash-n-fold, and performing a new bit is like picking up my clothes. Or maybe it's more like putting on clean socks. I think that analogy is like... some other, somewhat similar thing. Ah, screw it.) I have a few promising new bits which I just haven't quite got down yet. The premises are good, but the setups and the punches are still sloppy. They need to be trimmed and refined. Anything that doesn't help me get to the funny needs to go.

As the comedy teacher Stephen Rosenfield likes to say, "make your cuts."

***

The performing. If I have a self-diagnosed performance issue right now, it's pacing. Sometimes nervous comedians, especially novices, tend to "shotgun" their sets. They don't give the audience any time to think and react-- just when they might have laughed at a joke, the comedian is already off to the next one. Sometimes this results in a beginning comedian taking the set that was perfectly timed out at 7 minutes at home, and doing it in 5, 5/12 minutes.

My problem is the opposite now. I am TOO comfortable with long pauses. The longer the pause, the better the punch line has to be to justify it. If it isn't big enough, the audience loses energy. A couple weeks ago I did a show where I made a conscious effort to keep my pace a little quicker, and it definitely seemed to help. Another reason for the long pauses sometimes is laziness, pure and simple. I might put together a few fragments of a set, but unless it's pretty important (which could mean an audition, a contest, or getting paid), I don't really time it out. I just know that I may need more material, or I may need to cut some stuff. As a result, sometimes, I take a healthy-sized pause between jokes. That's because I am trying to figure out what to do next.

***

Went to LA last weekend, which was cool. I saw two of my oldest, best friends. It was great to see people who know me from way back. It helps me tap into parts of me that I have forgotten about. I am back in touch with my inner 12 year old.

3 Comments:

At 9:55 PM, Anonymous Kirin said...

finally a post!

 
At 2:59 PM, Blogger Ish said...

thanks for noticing

turn off the lights on your way out

 
At 5:30 PM, Anonymous kirin said...

yeah, it's lonely being a fan of yours ;) (kidding...)

 

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