I make movies,photography,comedy and music happen
The first time I did stand up was in 2006, if I remember correctly…There wasn’t a stand up scene in Bellingham, so I checked out an open mic. or two in Seattle before I went up for the first time.
I had been blogging for a year or two before that…some of the blogs were humor. I took one of those blogs and turned it into a five minute set…a five minute set that I promptly forgot once I got on stage.
I’d practiced for a month or so, before I went up I got laughs at the beginning of my set, ‘cause I was just bullshitting around. It was all downhill after that. Nothing but crickets and nervous laughter, here and there. I cut my losses and left the stage before I finished. The material that I was reading directly off of my notes by this point, was going nowhere. Oh…and I also screamed directly into the microphone at one spot in my reading. Pissing off the producer/sound guy and deafening/confusing everyone else in the room. I said “Fuck this. I am NEVER doing this again.” I came home and continued writing stand up.
2013 rolled around and I started taking pictures of the local Bellingham comics to fatten my portfolio. I made friends with a few of them. One guy, in particular, kept needling me to go on stage. Like, just fucking pushing me…and I really didn’t want to. At all. I finally did… partially just to shut him up.
The second first time I went up was terrible. Not as terrible as that first first time in Seattle, but, still pretty bad. I could see that there were parts of the bit that were salvageable. My second and third times on stage, were non memorable.
The fourth time I went on stage was the worst. I had such horrible stage fright. I went up and said “I can’t do this. I fucking HATE this” and left the stage. I didn’t do it again for a month or two. Honestly, I had planned on giving up on it for good. But, then I tried something different and found my voice. My “voice”, apparently, is something that no one else is doing here. And I’ll be honest. Not everyone gets the shit that I do. It’s usually either songs or performance artsy stuff. I get the range of “That was fucking amazing” to “What in the blue fuck did I just watch?”
A month or two into comedy, I was asked to host a show at Glow and people came. The place was packed. The bartender gave me a hug afterwards and told me that they’d never had so many people attend comedy there before. Attendance records for comedy that I hosted were broken at a few other local bars, too. People have just always been super cool about supporting the shows that I put on.
Fast forward to a twice monthly show at a local bar. It went really well for a while…it was better attended than the comedy shows before it. Then, as things do around here, the crowds dropped off and then it was just comics watching other comics. I closed the show down.
After that, I had one other big show at another local bar in town. I had a band and 3 out of town comics. Not well attended. I stopped producing shows for a couple of months after that.
I’ve always paid my featured acts. I think artists deserve to get paid. It’s a job, like anything else. With the first regular show, I took my $30 that the bar gave me and gave it to my Feature. I also put out a tip jar, which people were usually cool about throwing a few bucks into.
My current show, Traveling Comedy Shit Show was born out of a desire to provide a different kind of stand up show.
I really love the format for this show. The gist is this…Touring Comics, Local Openers, filmed in someone’s living room. I stick little filmed chunks of whatever I think is funny in between and put in on Youtube. Also, the show itself tours. This year’s plan is to take it down the west coast hitting Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and ending in L.A.
The idea for The Traveling Comedy Shit Show came from wanting more freedom… Freedom from worrying about whether the bar was making enough money off of drinks, for one. A lot of comics are alcoholics, some of them are in recovery. I didn’t want to have to worry about that bullshit.
I also wanted to have shows when I wanted to have them, or when it worked best for the Headliner. I was tired of having to try and make a crowd happen on the bar’s Slow Day.
The first two Shit Shows were packed. People invited their friends to this weird show that was happening in their home. I provided the booze and snacks. I want people to have a good time…for free.
How do I do this? Advertising. Sponsors pay for ad time in the finished film. I also give them a shout out at the live show. Right now, I’m trying to get the show into Bumbershoot. The sponsors will be mentioned there, too, should we get in. Keep your fingers crossed for us!
Here’s the Bumbershoot Promo:
I’m so thankful that I have people that believe in this show and what I’m trying to do. So with that, I’d like to thank:
Robert M Lopez Photography
Custer Concrete and Construction
Bellingham Professional Office Cleaning
And my company, Mad Sun
Thanks so much, you guys! I hope to see you at a show, sometime!:)