Friday March 21st, 2014 – Mystery Location in Illinois
As a professional entertainer, eventually a number of unpleasant things have to be done just for the money. We would all like to think we are artists, but the reality is we have to survive just like everyone else. A lot of civilians mistakenly think we live charmed lives free from any problems.
I want to catalog my experience of this evening, if for no other reason than to have it on record for anyone that thinks being an entertainer of any kind is an easy way to avoid hard work. Let the record show that had I been shown this night before I started, I’d have chosen a different career.
Tonight I was hired to perform thirty minutes of standup comedy at a wedding reception. Once in a while somebody has the idea they want a comedian to be part of the mix, and even though it usually ends up a bad experience for everyone involved, when there’s money offered we take it.
I was approached almost a year ago by a very nice lady who said she was getting married in the Chicago area and wanted to hire a comedian for the reception. I told her that standup comedy and weddings rarely go well, only for the fact that there are such a wide variety of ages in one place.
What grandma thinks is funny is not what teenagers laugh at, and there is a similar clash that a DJ encounters. Grandma wants to hear a polka, and the kids want Justin Bieber. At least a DJ can switch back and forth and please some of them at least a little. A comedian isn’t able to do that.
Despite my warnings, the lady decided she wanted to hire me. We negotiated a fair price in my mind, especially since it was close to home. I moved since the date was booked, and where I live now is even closer. On paper, that’s heaven. Thirty minutes of work ten minutes away? Jackpot!
Not so fast with the celebrating. I showed up at my scheduled arrival time, and could tell it was going to be hell before I started. I’ve been around the block, and I knew. The facility itself was as classy as it gets, but it had a super high ceiling that would make the sound bounce around and the people were scattered from wall to wall in a gigantic space. I was screwed well before I started.
There was a DJ playing music, but nobody was dancing. I introduced myself, and found out the guy was Mexican. That’s fine, but language became an issue when he asked me how I wanted to be introduced. I tried to pronounce my name six times, and I could see he wasn’t going to get it.
Right after the father/bride dance, he introduced me before everyone sat down. That wasn’t the time to do it, but he did anyway. He screamed out my name like I was a wrestler, and of course it was pronounced wrong. Not that anyone cares, but it’s humiliating and it started me off in a hole.
I worked to the best of my ability, but that audience wanted nothing to do with me or a comedy show in general. Most of them went back to talking at their tables, and by the end I was up there alone just talking to myself. It wasn’t the place for standup comedy, but I have bills to pay and as brutal as it can be to stand there alone talking to walls that’s what it took to get a check. Between the show last night and this, I’m about ready to pack it in. But it pays my rent one more month.
|No matter how fun it may sound in theory, weddings and standup comedy rarely go together. But bills are due, so we do it anyway.|