Thursday, December 22, 2005

Who Took the Fun Out of Funny?

Blogroll Me!

In my younger days, I used to go to a Toronto comedy club called Yuk Yuk's-- Jim Carrey and Howie Mandel are two main comedians who stepped off the stage at Yuk Yuk's and into the embrace of Hollywood.

Yes, I would go see "household" Canadian comics but I often had more pleasure going to the club on Amateur Night to watch folks stand on stage and try to get the laughs. My friends and I enjoyed sitting very close to the stage so that we could get picked on by the comic and then heckle back if necessary.

It couldn't have been easy for these guys and gals to stand onstage, trying out their best -- and worst -- lines out on an innocent group of folks. You could sit alongside the stage and watch the sweat trickle off their forehead, the flushed looks, the nervous hand gestures. Many times they looked forward to that blinking red light bulb built into the ceiling in a discreet fashion, signaling their 3-5 minute set was up.

But I loved to laugh and I always anticipated that one day I might have the guts and the glory to stand up on stage and try out my collected humor bits that I'd written over time in my journals. I knew it was more difficult than it looked; to be spontaneously funny in a small group is relatively easy. To be able to do that in front of a large group, or to have your comedy routines down pat ain't so easy.

I never did make it (yet!) to Amateur Night, but I see some of my writings, some of my conversations with people as the next best thing. You don't know me all that well, but I've got you in my sights and I'm gonna give you all the humor I've got stored up.

But I must ask: Is that red light bulb blinking for me? Is it time for me to get off the stage already? Why aren't you people laughing? If you are, I ... can't .... hear .... you!!! Am I bombing, or will I be called back for Amateur Night, perhaps for the final set -- the best spot -- of the night?


cruisin-mom said...

Pearl...I saw Robin Williams perform right before he was plucked to be Mork. I saw Seinfeld at a club just before the fame of the t.v. show. I saw Bill Mahr before he had a t.v. show...I think I might be good luck..if you want to do a performance...just make sure I'm there and you're sure to skyrocket to comedic fame.

rabbi neil fleischmann said...

Cruisin Mom - why don't you come see me perform?

Pearl - For some reason this brought to mind an episode of the show What Ever happened To The Class Of 65? Each week they focused on a HS graduate years later. One week was about a guy who always thought and was always told he was funny. But he never tried it as a comedian. Years later he does. And the episode ends with his performance and what comes out of the experience.

Razovsky said...

The other month, Dana and I went to see You Don't Have To Be Jewish, at Massey Hall, featuring Jamie Farr. The funniest thing about it was what a throwback it was to another era. The jokes are, mainly, truly terrible.

Is humour fleeting? I wonder. I'd imagine Laugh-In wouldn't be funny these days.

Anyway, we still had a great time!

"I'm hiiiiiiding... in the front clooooooset..."