As many of you already know, Zach Galifianakis came through to the Punch Line last Sunday. The Place was packed, outside and inside. Thankfully I work at Punch Line so I was able to walk right in and grab a seat at the bar (Membership has it’s privileges). The energy was electric. It felt like a couple years back when rumors of Chappelle being in town would have the place abuzz w/ intense craziness (BTW….Chappelle will be in town at The New Parish tomorrow).
As I looked around, it was 15 min. till 8pm and no sign of Molly (The Booker). I turned and saw Jason Downs by the bar service window, the spot that Molly usually occupies. Downs it turns out, helps run the show when she’s gone. I crossed my fingers in hopes of getting a coveted spot on this special night. The show was getting started with Ray Molina taking the hosting reigns. Ray get’s them going. I sit as I see Edwin Li buzzing about going up. Then I see Brendan Lynch standing by the curtain entrance ready to go on after Ray. Just then I hear a whisper, “Your going third.”
“I’m going third? After who?”
“After Emily Heller.”
It was Kris Tinkle, he was helping out Downs and he just gave me the good word. My heart was racing with anxiety and joy. This was good and bad. I’m going up but, what if I eat it?! Ugh!! I calmed down and went to the restroom and threw water on my face. I picked the wrong day to stop drinking. I grab a cola at the bar and down a glass of water, then I pace back and forth. Emily is on stage. She’s doing well. Awesome! That means I don’t have to dig out of a hole. She ends her set and is met by Ray Molina.
“Thank You, goodnight!”, she says.
“Emily Heller.”, says Ray. “This next comic (Blah, blah, blah)…Big Al Gonzales!”
Normally I am two drinks in and I am loose. But I have chosen not to drink indefinitely. This has caused me to crawl inside my head. I am over thinking the whole set. My opener, my closer, the tags…everything! I cross my arms and hold the mic to mouth, I speak. I stop. I listen. The audience responds…positively…with laughter. I’m going in!
I hit them with the old trusty “Count Chocula” bit. Followed by two new bits about drunkenness. They laugh again! The laughs don’t linger. It’s as if the audience is laughing with hopes that I will be satisfied and leave the stage, so that Zach Galifianakis, who they have been so patiently awaiting for, will come bursting out of the green room, with two ferns in tow. I don’t leave, I continue on and we barter for laughs. I am desperate so I sell my jokes cheap, for a few laughs. Normally I ask for more but, I am not fully confident in my words today so, I take the first offer of “most of the audience laughing”.
I decide to close with “Goals!”. Good choice. They dig it. “Goooooaaaallllssss!, Mijo”! I get the laugh! I’m not ready to end the set. More, I need more. Give them “Mexican’s love pussy”, that will close it. “Don’t be greedy, close on a laugh”. I say that to new comics all the time. And here I am doing exactly that. But it’s going well, not great but, well. Then out of nowhere, I feel it crawling from my throat. “What is this!?”
What the hell did I just say?!
That’s what I thought I said.
I never say snatch! I almost never use it my day to day conversation, let alone in a joke. The crowd moans. OMG! That’s not the response I wanted! I wanted laughter not groans. Get out of your head, a response is better than no response. I’ll take it.
“Thank you, good night!”
I shake Rays hand and scurry to the green room. Molly’s here! Fuck! That means Zach is here. I hope he didn’t here that set. I mean I hope he did and liked it but, I didn’t like my set so, I hope he didn’t hear it.
I didn’t even look to see who said it. I just walk into the green room to grab my coat. I look up and it’s Zach Galifianakis. I’ve met him before so not a big deal but, in the room is also, Chris Hardwick, Steve Agee and Alex Koll.
“What’s up”?, I say. I reach over Galifianakis and grab my coat. I just realize at that moment I have a Red Box DVD in my pocket. “Dinner W/ Schmucks”. Zach is in it. I should have him sign it. Yeah. Sign it and then return it back to Red Box. This way when the next person rents it, they open up the container and see, “Zach Galifianakis” signed on the DVD and ponder, “Is that really his autograph”?
Funny, yes. But I am so in my own head I pass on the opportunity and walk out of the green room. I walk back out to the lobby. I go over my set in my head, thinking what I shoulda, coulda, woulda. Forget it. I did get to go up. And I did well. No! I did good.
I stuck around and watched the rest of the show. Moshe Kasher, Stave Agee, Ngaio, Chris Hardwick, Doug Benson and of course, Zach Galifianakis. What a line up! And I was on it! That’s cool. I am a comic. Just another day on the job.
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