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  1. Adderall Audition

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

    by Rhonda Hansome

    In a previous century or what some in a fit of nostalgia might refer to as “back in the day”, I was a regular at what now in retrospect is an obscene number of comedy clubs.  I want to say well respected comedy clubs but, by and large comedy clubs “don’t get no respect”, to quote the late, great Rodney Dangerfield.  Why do we call the dead late?  Seems to me they were precisely on time for that last appointment.  What if Rodney in life was chronically late?  Would he then be referred to as the late great- never to be late again?  Did I digress?  

    Being a regular at the Improv (NY and LA), Catch A Rising Star, Dangerfield’s, Ice House, Laugh Factory, Caroline’s, New York Comedy Club and Stand-up NY meant I had gone through each individual club’s audition process.  That process might have involved standing on line for hours to get a number that might be pulled that night from a dandruff encrusted hat or cigarette butt infested fish bowl.  If fortunate enough to have my number pulled I’d get the opportunity to perform  five minutes of material at 2:AM, for a humor impaired audience of drunks, non-English speaking  tourist, and a half dozen folks in need to publicly practice their uncanny ability to remain totally expressionless.  A fool-proof, highly scientific procedure!  After passing at a club I was then allowed to give my availability to perform.  And I was thankful for every spot, every night as many times a night as possible.  I had home clubs where like in Cheers, everyone knew my name, my act and when I performed, I got drinks, food and wait for it…paid!  Check out this vintage clip:

    No matter how many years you watch Twilight Zone marathons there’s always one you’ve never seen, like my starring episode, “After a Rip Van Winklesque hiatus, popular 20th century comic Rhonda Hansome has a rude awakening returning to the world of stand-up comedy in the 21st century”,  a simple yet terrifying plot.  Reader, all 3 of you, I can’t describe the chilling, creepy science fiction “what the fuck is going?” on feeling of auditioning in this century.   Most club owners and managers I gave availability to are gone.  Those who remain from the last century don’t return my calls - thank you Al Martin for being the exception!   IF my call is returned, I’m told there’s a freeze on spots, call back every 3 months for several years, or come back after I write an award winning (TV or web) series in which I star and direct.

    Humbled but determined I decided to try to get back on at a club which shall remain nameless*, where in the 1900’s I’d headlined in regular rotation.  NOTHING had changed an iota in the decade plus years I’d been away.  I walked in and every dusty red drape, red velvet rope and red jacket wearing waiter was in place, but now all that familiarity suddenly felt like an ice water douche.   Standing on the stage where I’d watched Red Foxx work his bluest best, the stage where I had opened for Jackie Mason, the stage where for years I’d entertained prom crowds and New Year’s Eve revelers, I did my time.  If that has the ring of punishment, it is what it is.  Three days later when I called the booker to give availability I was told to call back in 6 months to audition again.  Audition again!!??   I dutifully did so and had a great set.  Days later when I called to give availability I was told I’d had a really good set and the owner thought I wasn’t right for the club. 

    Yes, it’s a different century my dear three readers.   My ego has permanently relocated to the heel of my shoe.  At least I didn’t have to pay to perform my only spot this week, ten minutes at Sloan Kettering Hospital, entertaining cancer patients and their weary family members; buy the way – I killed!  I’m great for fashion shows, corporate events, supermarket openings.  You name it – I’ll bring the laughs!**

    Email me if you know any spots for which I don’t have to pay or buy drinks to perform.  I’m really looking for a spot that PAY$ ME and I’m talking more than a drink on the house. That’s right I was offered a spot an hour and a half drive away for a drink on the house!  I am NOT that thirsty…   I’m looking for a spot I don’t have to (shudder at the thought) audition for.  In this comic’s opinion an audition is very much a hyper-subjective non-standardized test.   Believe me if I ever get another audition, being tested for the funny, before I hit the stage I WILL be hitting the Adderall.  

    *What is the problem with you three readers?  I told you that club would remain nameless.  Hell, in a couple of years I might have a chance to audition again!  You got any Adderall?   I don’t care about the side effects of dry mouth, migraines, high blood pressure, mood swings or vomiting, sudden dizziness or spike in heart rate, unexplained fevers, heartburn, chest pains or death by suicide!  I need that laser like Adderall high that magically enables students to ace standardized test without any study.  Hey I don’t need Advanced Placement English but I do need to make a buck.

    ** See vintage clip

  2. 6 comments:

    1. I enjoyed the clip of you on the Arsenio Hall show. I can't believe your auditions weren't pass-worthy. I want to be wrong about this, but it seems women beyond their 20s get a very raw deal in this biz. To me, that is ridiculous. People have more substantial stuff to talk about as they live longer. I don't enjoy too much of the pop culture humor or hearing about poops, so I prefer the performers who have some life under their belt.

      Your hair in that clip reminded me of Patti LaBelle.

    2. RHC said...

      Mindy you are so right. As we manage to live longer our stuff does become more substantial. I enjoy writing & performing so much more now with the rich resource of my life experience. I don't want to yell sexism or racism, at least not in a crowded movie theater. But just because a reply is knee jerk does not necessarily deny it's validity. Thanks for the response.

    3. She So Funny said...

      Well-done, Rhonda! You're such an authentic and real performer on stage and in writing. --- Samantha

    4. Unknown said...

      Hey, according to what I pay on a 2 drink minimum, that tiny glass of rum and coke you would get "on the house" is worth about $17 bucks.

    5. RHC said...

      Ok, ok I'll travel an hour & a half for the drink! Thanks for the comments - all 3 of you!

    6. Amy said...

      I love your amazing 80s hairstyle!

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