Wednesday is the hump day when you work the standard corporate week. You made it up the Monday/Tuesday hill and now, from the Wednesday peak, can coast down the Thursday/Friday slope. Yesterday was my hump day fort he month. Half the shows are over and done with and after the somewhat difficult adjustment of being out and in the same place every night, I can coast through the rest of the month and into the new year. If it were only that easy.
My hump day landed on the eve of a show that I have been looking forward to all month, the Myq Kaplan and Micah Sherman CD recording show. Although I don’t seek out musical comedy acts, I actually don’t seek out many comedy acts, I have been looking forward to seeing this duo. Micah has an undeniable energy and charisma on stage which seems to be a rare commodity in the comedy scene. In an acting class I once took, we did exercises on “being big” and “being small”, reasonably easy tricks to learn for those of us who do not by nature have a sizable presence. These tricky however are easily forgotten when faced with our natural selves. Micah has a natural presence and it is enormous on stage. Enormous. Myq however is smaller in stature and presence but his wit and mastery of language are always at center stage. That’s what I was there to see (actually hear). I’m always amazed with his craftsmanship. He massages and manipulates words like no one else. It’s inspiring but even more than that I like to see Myq because if it were not for him, I would not be doing stand up today. I would not be the comic in residence this month and I would certainly not be writing this blog.
I have never been a fan of comedy, I didn’t grow up watching comedy and I still don’t watch much of it out today. I am not a comedy nerd. I had an idea of what stand up was and in my mind it was Andrew Dice Clay and Rodney Dangerfield and the class clowns and wholeheartedly unappealing, but for some reason doing stand up comedy was on my bucket list. I just wanted to do it once so I took a class. That’s how I learn to do things. Bob Gatreau was the instructor and it was a fun time. I learned the basic and got a few laughs from my four classmates. Bob mentioned an open mic at Sally O’Brien’s which seemed like a fine enough venue. Myq was running the show there at the time and I emailed him for a spot. I just wanted to be able to scratch this off the list. After a few back and forths I had a date. I had no idea how thing worked and looking back, I would have ignored me if I was Myq, but he didn’t. I showed up, scared to death and sick to my stomach with nerves. I was horrible but Myq was kind and supportive. If he had been anything else, I would have walked away and if it had been anyone else, I would have walked away. I know me and stand up didn’t mean anything to me before that night. If the experience had been anything but positive I would have been satisfied with that one effort. Beyond his kindness and gentile nature, I saw his act and it certainly wasn’t what I though stand up was. He wasn’t crude or insulting or loud. He was crafty and smart and funny. Funny. I had no idea what comedy was before that night but knew I wanted to see more of it, his kind of funny. Smart funny.
That night, that first experience that Myq played such a large and undoubtedly unknown role in, was instrumental in shaping that last four years of my life. I stared down the comedy path and have so far gotten here. Here is a good place. Like all comics, I learn every day and try to move forward. My act changes not only in material but attitude. I have a long way to go and frankly believe there is no end to this journey. Comedy is an endless search, futile no, endless yes. I was lucky to start this journey from a good place. I was met with kindness and support and knowing that comedy can be smart, witty and wise. Although I’ve met many along that way that have been encouraging and whose comedy I admire, l will always be grateful to Myq for showing me the right path on which to start.
So even though last night’s show was the middle of my month, a time where I should be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, I know that there is still a hill, actually a mountain of mammoth proportion, in front of me. So tonight, I won’t be starting down that hill to the end, I’ll be merely taking another small step, hopefully a step forward.