April 11th, 2007

158IgnoreConsensusReality

An accidental comedy victory, and my struggle to be me onstage.

tags:comedy writing, standup comedy, IKEA

An accidental comedy victory, and my struggle to be me onstage.


I'm eating breakfast at IKEA. Full breakfast with coffee $1.85. I have to force myself to eat because my new medicine has killed my appetite for anything other than caffeine and nicotine.

I'm thinking about the open mic last Thursday. We had no crowd, so the host turned the open mic into a writing workshop. That workshop was the first time I've enjoyed comedy in any context since I bombed five months ago at my last professional appearance. I've felt helpless to change, and I needed a victory. Thursday I got one, thanks to lack of public interest. I felt like a kid playing a video game when I contributed to other people's jokes, improvised onstage from other people's ideas, and took other people's ideas for my jokes that will turn my ideas into developable material.

A guy I'd never met before told me I was funny and animated offstage while I was helping other comics, but uninterested and deliberate onstage. Comics, fans, friends and family have told me for years to bring the funny, spontaneous person they know from real life and bring that person onstage. I don't know how. I don't know what I do, feel, believe or think that makes the Basil White onstage less funny.

Driving home from IKEA I can't tell if the white fluff dropping onto the highway is cherry blossom petals or snow. Thurns out it's both. Welcome to April in Our Nation's Capital.

Tell me your ideas on how to bring the offstage me to the stage.


Basil White