The Bag Means Your Mind

A delightful mix of insightful comments and ignorant assumptions about screenwriting... and such.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Five Minutes

Yes. I’m still alive after my stand-up comedy ordeal and I have a video to prove it. Getting up there and doing my five minutes (five and a half actually) seems like a death sentence, but it actually wasn’t bad. I told myself I’d post the video no matter how good or bad I did, so true to my private word here it is.

Did you watch it? I hope you did because if not you will be totally lost when I start talking about soiled trousers, Amish prostitutes, and park benches later on. For a first time, I think I acquitted myself quite well. Looking at the video makes me cringe to an extent because my nervousness was so apparent, and I rushed through the large majority of the material (it probably should have been closer to seven or eight minutes).

Throughout that day, I was confident and even serene at moments. And about an hour before I left for the venue, the confidence and sereneness paid their respects and said adieu. I wasn’t a nervous wreck, but I wasn’t the cock of the walk either.

And then my moment came and my name was called and the audience greeted me with applause. And I was nervous. I stepped up to the microphone, arranged my notecard and adjusted the microphone. Silent seconds ticking away. My mojo was rushing down my left leg*. I started to speak, and my opening quip (I won’t embarrass it by calling it a joke) fails mainly due to my rushed speech.

And then I start on my first joke. When I hit the first good punch line which involved an Amish hooker and a spent cocker spaniel (I know those of you who didn’t bother to watch the video are now intrigued. I will wait for you to watch it… OK good.) the audience erupted in laughter (I know you know, but I enjoy both saying and typing it so bear with me).

Anyway, they laughed enough that I actually had to stop my routine for a few seconds. Good feelings surged within me. I gave my follow-up line and people laughed again. My confidence soared. And I gave the next and final line of the segment and people laughed even more. A guy could get used to this.

As you know I was still nervous and rushed through a lot of the material, but from that point on I was golden, and even when I slipped up and momentarily lost my mental place I was able to remember where I was and soldier on. The people continued to laugh and when I finished my set I felt my pride fill the room as the applause rained down.

Before watching the video I thought the night went better than I expected and exactly how I had imagined it. In spite of my nervousness, I did a job I personally can be proud of, and I look back on it now and wonder just how much more people might have laughed had I really done it the way I know I could have.

People ask me if I will do it again. Ryan, my official ass-kicker says I will certainly do it again. I do want to, but I think I will sit the sidelines for awhile and try to get a grip on this screenwriting thing. Nothing saying I can’t develop my stand-up ability at the same time though. Right?

* Yeah. It was my mojo regardless of what those people in the front row say.


  • At 4:42 PM, Blogger Patrick J. Rodio said…

    Dude, not sure what I was expecting (ok, I was expecting awkwardness), but I thought you did great. Really great. Sure, you were nervous as balls, and yeah, it showed, but it took balls for you to do it.

    And your stuff was really funny (muscle coordination of a park bench - great line). You seemed to hit all your punch lines, and had a decent delivery, and best of all, you picked it right up after you blanked out for a sec, and because of that you were able to finish strong and your audience likely forgot your blank-out.

    Nice job. Makes me want to go try it. Like I said before I've got a routine of sorts down, probably about 5 mins of material (that I could stretch into 10) that I'd love to try someday.

    Again, GREAT job!

  • At 11:01 AM, Blogger L.R. Williams said…

    I could tell you were nervous, but you were pretty good. Pat is right on about having set of onions to get on stage & do stand-up for five minutes. "Having the muscle coordination of a park bench..." - brilliant line!! You may have blanked out for a moment, but that's an afterthought. I would consider giving it another go around. That's how good you were! Congrats!!

  • At 2:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


  • At 5:07 PM, Blogger Patrick J. Rodio said…

    Next stop - Leno! Ok, maybe Kimmell. Again, nice work.

    Lew - Where the hell is your blog?

  • At 8:46 AM, Blogger Ryan Rasmussen said…

    You have done well, my minion. My further plans for you shall be revealed in the fullness of time.

    His Highness the All-knowing A-K (or AK-AK* for short)

    *Not to be confused with AT-AT. His Highness is NOT a quadrupedal tank.

  • At 12:00 PM, Blogger Tim said…

    Didn't you tell me before that Amish prostitutes are just part of your daily routine?

  • At 4:24 PM, Blogger Patrick J. Rodio said…

    The Amish whores are the best. Good quality there. They come from good stock, plus they can go out and milk a cow after your hour is up.

  • At 6:20 AM, Anonymous Wagz said…

    Great job Tom. The nervousness works with the 'soiling' jokes. I think your audience leaves wondering how true they were. I am!

  • At 9:44 AM, Blogger Julie O. said…


    Seriously. You didn't seem as nervous as I know you were and your stuff is really funny.

    Since I'm taking improv classes, I've had my share of "Cindy Brady on the gameshow" moments, but you kept it going at a good pace.

    Nicely done!

  • At 6:12 PM, Anonymous Jodi said…

    Woohoooo!!!! That was amazing... I laughed so hard, I pooped in my pants. love it. love it. love it.


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