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  1. The Accidental Closer

    Saturday, October 27, 2012

    By Lisa Harmon

    My comedy career is progressing along like a slug across hot tar.

    That may be because I don’t do any of the business comedy stuff, like incessantly pestering bookers.  After an email or two I let it drop.  I feel that anything beyond that is probably considered stalking.

    Despite my distaste for stalking others, I do care about my act and I keep trying to make it better.  I’m thick as sh*t though, so it takes a while.

    Recently in my “career” I have acquired a new title:  accidental closer. This happens when I’m on a show, the actual headliner bails, and then I end up closing the show.

    This is not a good thing.  Being the closer really puts the pressure on.  If you’re the last act, you’ve got to deliver the goods or you look like a real chump.  No one’s coming behind you to fix that mess!

    I don’t mind going last.  I’m always willing to take any spot in a show, open, check spot, whatevs.  The problem is, I showed up at the beginning of the show.  Hours ago.  I’ve been sitting there since before the show got started, and now, nine comedians later,  its close to 11 P.M.  At 11 P.M. somewhere inside me a switch gets flipped.  And the switch says, I WANT GO HOME AND PUT ON MY PJS RIGHT NOW AND I CAN’T SIT IN THIS LOUD-ASS BAR FOR ANOTHER SECOND, NOT FOR LOVE NOR MONEY! 

    But each time, I did sit there, because I was booked, and each time, I died a little on the inside, because deep down I knew, its time to give this shit up and be comfortable at 11 P.M., like a normal old person.

    Despite the unending NOISE somehow  I’m drifting off into sleep and the next thing I hear is:  LISA HARMON!

    I jump up, thinking Oh God, fuck you!  My eyes are bloodshot, my head is swimming, I’m half asleep.  NOW you want  me to tell jokes?  I was fresh at 7 P.M.  Fine at 8 P.M.  Raring to go at 9 P.M.  Still standing at 10 P.M.  11 P.M.?  Sorry I’m closed right now.

    I sleepwalk up to the stage and the damn loud applause is pissing me off.  All night with the clapping and yelling.  I can’t take it.  And I yell at everybody.  It’s worse than if they had woken me up at 8 A.M.  A raging torrent is unleashed.  Anger, frustration, exhaustion, the futility of this set - it all comes out.  I’m really angry at that point.  I rant and weave in some bits to use up time.

    When I get the light I’m so happy to get the hell out of there.  I get offstage and then everyone tells me how hilarious I was.  I can’t believe it.  When I tell my jokes in a normal tone of voice, I don’t get the response I’ve been getting just from yelling at people!  I yell at them for twenty minutes and they love it!  What about my brilliant one-liners?  That’s the funny stuff, for crying out loud!  Yelling and ranting, that’s a pain in the ass!  It takes too much energy to be angry.*  I just want to tell my clever little jokes, like my idol, Rodney Dangerfield, who never had to raise his voice onstage.  Why, why, why, does everything have to work out the exact opposite of the way I want it to?

    If I had known how much people love getting yelled at, I could have had a much more lucrative career as a dominatrix.

    *I think John Cleese may have said this.  And he should know about playing angry.

  2. 1 comments:

    1. lol. i enjoyed that story very much. and please don't decide pajamas at 11pm beats making people laugh. i'd miss your voice out there in the comedy world.

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