Friday March 1st, 2013 – Chicago, IL
Tonight was one of those special nights that remind me why I still do standup comedy. I was at Zanies in Chicago for two shows this evening, and the early show was one of the best I’ve had in a long LONG time. I’ve been having extra solid shows of late, but this one took it to a new level.
This was one of those rare matches of performer and audience that was picture perfect on every level. I knew almost before I said my first word this would be my crowd, and I don’t know how I knew that but I did. I guess it was instinct garnered from all my years, but my ticket was punched for this one. This particular group was with me from buzzer to bell and we all enjoyed the ride.
I wish I could bottle the feeling of sheer exhilaration that happens on nights like this. It’s better than any feeling I’ve ever felt, and I can’t imagine any sensation on this planet topping it. People often say something is ‘better than sex’, but this feeling truly is. How many people have sex with 100 or more at once, and make it last for almost a solid hour? I’m telling you, it’s an intoxicant.
I heard an interview with Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers not long ago, and he spoke of what a rush it was to be on stage playing music. He said it’s the only time in his life he ever feels truly free, and I’m right there with him. When I’m on stage on a night like this, I feel like Superman.
It’s like being out with a woman I am totally attracted to, and knowing the deal with be closed at the end of the evening. It makes the whole experience that much better from the actual dinner itself to the movie or show to the car ride home. It doesn’t always work that smoothly, but when it does it’s pure heaven. It’s also what keeps one coming back when things don’t fall into place.
I’ve done literally thousands of standup comedy shows in my life, and most of them on average have gone pretty well. At the end of the evening, if the entire audience was quizzed as to whether or not they thought I was a professional, I’d bet I’d get an overwhelming amount of yes answers.
There have been some horrific experiences, but that goes with the territory for anyone who has performed live in any genre of entertainment. Sometimes it’s just not there, even for the big ones but it’s very rare. Most professionals are able to pull off a show to the satisfaction of the crowd.
I’m about as picky as anyone I’ve ever met when it comes to my standards. I’m often bummed out by a performance the audience considered exceptional. They line up to tell me how they were entertained and I thank them sincerely – and mean it – but I know in my heart I could do it better.
Tonight was not that kind of night. I don’t think I could have done anything a whole lot better, and it was satisfying to be able to shake people’s hands afterward and hear how much they were enjoying it too. I really wish I would have recorded this one, but I know how special it truly was.
Then there was the late show. It was fine, but nowhere near the mutual orgasm of the first one. I was still on a high from the early show though, and it didn’t bother me in the least. No matter if I ever get famous or not, I’ve reached a skill level few ever do. It’s taken years, but it’s worth it.