A tale of two Garths. Chapter 39. Throwing butter pats at my head.
“Can I still take the final?” I asked my stand up professor over the phone.
“Do you feel prepared? You didn’t get to try out your full set,” he reminded me. I had missed my so-called “dress rehearsal” for the Improv. But what was I going to go? I had already explained to my professor that I was at the hospital that night and I still really wanted to perform. He wasn’t being difficult about me missing my last rehearsal. He was just worried that I was going to stand up on stage in front of all those people unprepared. The Improve is not the place to suck. People go there for comedy. Good comedy. They don’t go there and buy their two-drink minimum to watch Sucky McSuckster up on stage.
“Yea. I feel prepared,” I told him. I lied. I had all my bits and pieces of my act and now all I had left to do was piece it all together and pray that it was only six minutes. I could do it. I could do it? Could it do it? I felt a little sick.
My aunt was kind enough to lend me this tiny guitar she had gotten at a flea market for the song I had made up as the finale in my act. The fact I had no idea how to play guitar make the song even funnier.
Why am I putting myself through this? What if I fail miserably? I though to myself driving back from her house in Brentwood. Stacy, you have a little over 24 hours to try and pull this thing together.
Stacy shut up! You have worked on this thing for 6 weeks. Sure you haven’t put it all together yet but you can do this.
You are going to bomb and people are going to laugh at you.
You shut up!
No you shut up! The internal dialogue I was having with myself was driving me insane.
Oh fuck it. I’m just going to go for it! There I had made a decision. I called all my friends and told them I was going to do it. Final at the Improv. Do or die. I also asked them to please laugh at my jokes. That way if I sucked I wouldn’t feel so bad.
The night of the final I arrived and searched the crowd for the other victims who were about to meet their doom. Once I found my classmates we all took our seats in the main room. It was HUGE. Oooohhhhh I don’t feel so good. I sat there and stared at the stage with the famous brick backdrop as our professor said something about a red light and having only one more minute. I could feel my flight or fight response kick up and mine was currently set on flight. Garth must have picked up on the fact that I was about to make a run for it because he brought me a Corona from the bar just as the lights in the main house went down.
“Stacy!” I heard someone in the audience yell. I turned my head to look behind me and it was my fried Eddie waving at me smiling. Then Sam stood up and waived and one by one I could see my friends who had come out to support me. My aunt also came by and gave me a kiss and told me she was proud of me. My dad wasn’t there but that was because he was resting up and the fact that I didn’t invite him. I was planning on talking about drugs, sex, the apocalypse, and make fun of him a little and I didn’t think he was going to find my jokes all that funny. When he insisted I show him the taping of my performance months later my suspicions were confirmed. He wasn’t laughing.
One by one my classmates were getting called to the stage and one by one they were being critiqued by an audience of strangers.
“Excuse me miss. May I have another Corona please?” I asked the waitress as she walked by. I was hoping to get drunk enough to numb the pain I was sure I was about to feel.
“A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y! The vowels are just so clicky,” one of my classmates said on stage during his act to a round of laughter. He was really funny. He had this bitter Italian thing going for him. Then there was the small brunette woman with the high-pitched voice who was really neurotic. Also very funny. Then some of my other classmates went on stage to much smaller rounds of laughter and applause. And that’s when the ringer took the stage. Terry. Terry had already been in I don’t even know how may sitcoms. He had an edge. He wasn’t like the rest of us. He was already successful. The rest of us were clawing and scratching our way to success. He had already arrived. And every thing in my being wanted to resent him for it but I just couldn’t. Why? Because he was so damn cute! He was really sweet and had rosy cheeks like a cherub. And this wild curly hair. His act was mainly about a taxi driver who picked him up and then proceeds to tell him everything about himself. He did the Middle Eastern accent perfectly. The crowd loved him. And that’s when my name was called. No. No, no, no, no, no! I can’t go up after Terry. The MC must have got the list wrong. I’m supposed to go up after the war vet who thinks the wanted ads are funny. Or the old lady who likes to talk about the dry cleaners. Anyone but Terry. But the spot light was on and the MC was waiting. Oh shit. It’s now or never I guess. I grabbed my little guitar and my cowboy hat and took the stage. I put my props down on the piano that was taking up one half of the stage and faced the crowd; I couldn’t see anything the spot light was so bright. And that was just the way I liked it. I could hear my friends screaming for me. They were literally yelling their heads off. “STACY!!!!! And that’s how I started my act.
“I brought my own fan club in case I bombed.” *Laughter* Was that just laughter?
“So I know what you’re thinking, oh great Barbie’s doing stand up comedy. Well let me just say, I’ve got nothing to do with the looks. That genetics. But I full control of the mouth! Fuck I wish I was Barbie. That bitch has everything!” *Laughter* And that was all it took. They had let the asshole out of the bag and she was running free. I talked about the IRS fucking me. Twice. The rapture and how Jesus would make a much better guest if he didn’t “come like a thief in the night” and actually called first. I talked about smoking pot and how if I were president they would say I never exhaled. I told them I loved waiting tables and that I didn’t want tips, and all I wanted was the customers to stand up and show me their appreciation by throwing butter pats at my head. I was ranting and raving all over the stage and that’s when I saw the little red light. Oh shit! I remember him saying something about one minute. And even though my act went on for longer I made up a segway into my song. Then I made a comment about the size of my paycheck relating to size of my guitar. And that’s when I sang my song strumming horribly with a cowboy hat on.
Noooowwww I don’t need to be good looking I think I’d like to beeee fat.
And I don’t need no big blue eyes honey you can take up back.
And I don’t want no long ole legs and the gross men they attract.
I don’t need to be a beauty queen but I’ll let you buy me a six-pack.
Now I won’t let you call me dear,
But I’ll talk to you if you buy me a beer
I’ll prolly let you hang around for about a minute or two
Now I don’t care if you think this is funny
But if I catch you talking to my breast honey
I’m prolly gonna kick the crap right out of you
Now I don’t mean to ruin your fuuuuun
But if I was looking for dick
I’d buy me a battery operated one
It’s got no luggage, it’ll out Duracell you
Now I’ll thank you one more time for this beer and ask you kindly to move away from here
Cause honey with me you are outta luck
Now I know you think I owe you time
So you like the last line of my little rhyme
Would you give me a break?
It’s happy hour and this beer only costs a buck!
“THANK YOU AND HAVE A BITCHEN SUMMER!” And I threw my hands in the air like a rock star. The crowd was going crazy.
The MC walked back on stage shaking his head.
“Stacy everybody. A crowd favorite,” he said as he smiled at me. Look buddy. You’re just as surprised as I am. I had done it. And I had LOVED it! I didn’t even know I had it in me. Right after I left the stage I made a beeline for the bathroom. All the adrenaline that had taken over my body had seriously affected my bladder and I had to pee something fierce. As I came out of the stall and stood there washing my hands a little old Jewish woman came up to me and told me how much she loved my act and how funny she thought I was. Is she serious?
“Wow. Thank you,” was all I could say to the tiny hunched over woman. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t offended her. It wasn’t like I hadn’t tried. I mean, I made fun of pretty much everything and everyone I could in the six minutes I had.
After returning to my seat the wait staff kept dropping off fresh free Corona’s to me every time I had finished the last one. I had spoken for waitresses everywhere. I would like to have been able to tell you my whole act but that would take up way too much time. But trust me I gave the horrors of waiting tables a good two minutes. I got pats on the back. People telling me I had done a good job. I was happy for the first time in a long time. I was good at something for the first time in a long time. I wasn’t rejected. For the first time in a long time! And it felt good. It felt real good.
To be continued…