Let's start off with a few jokes.
I thought I'd touch base with the regular readers of Purgatory and let you know what kind of deviltry I've been up to.
Something seems wrong here. You like me too much and that is disturbing to me.
I do open mics occasionally. In the past, I'd do stand up at 11:30 at night at a bar, and after being up since 5:30 AM I was not my normal funny self. That doesn't mean I consistently did poorly (I did quite well on several occasions). It meant that there was simply not enough bang for my buck when I had to be up early to take care of my kids in the morning. That being said, I have been doing the occasional public reading. I've done two recently that have gone particularly well. One was at the Boston Book Festival and the other at the Thomas Crane library in Quincy, MA. One of the benefits of doing events like these is that real people attend them. (Typical comedy open mics are filled with other comedians in the audience and they may not be a good sample of what the general population thinks funny.)
Last Monday the Wife had the children, and I went over to the Thomas Crane Library to read a user friendly version of NFL Challenge Rules To Apply In Future Presidential Debates. It is one of my posts designed to reach a broad audience. I did well. The crowd laughed. I metaphorically killed. And this was a good thing.
However, doing well creates problems that may not be evident at first.
When standing in front of people it's difficult for me to tell how well I do. I'm still relatively new to being onstage (being light sensitive doesn't help either). It was kinda like a young boxer in a match and not understanding how well he is doing. He knocks out the other guy and the one thing in his mind is, "Really? Something doesn't seems right here."
After finishing my first reading that evening I sat back down. I looked at the clock, and figured out that I'd probably get another chance to read. That was fine because I brought with me a piece about Captain America getting deported for being an unregistered illegal (Cap's parents were Canadian and never filled out proper documentation when he was a baby). I took a look over it.
Well, I thought to myself, this is some dark shit I have written down here -- dark but funny. As anyone in the funny business can tell you, certain audiences find certain things funny. Posts that I write here on Purgatory are for people with a certain dark (disturbed?) sense of humor. They are not meat for the general population, and I know it.
Hurriedly, I asked a friend for a pen, and I did some quick editing.
My name was called, and I did my comedic little jog up front (really, I have a comedic little jog). People clapped. People clap whenever anyone's name is called. It's a very polite group.
But they kept clapping. It was as if they really liked me.
At the time I found this particularly confusing. Chock it up to my limited experience being onstage and, of course, my personal battle with several narcissistic injuries I've suffered.
Instead of going into my bit I smiled and let them clap. My discomfort oozed out of me, I'm sure. I then went into the business at hand, and while they laughed at the right times, the crowd was deathly silent as I read Captain America's not-funny last letter to the American people.
America is my country. I have lived a vast majority of my life here and shed my blood for her. What makes this country great are not the politicians or bureaucrats. It is not the citizens who take their freedoms for granted. What makes America great is the idea that anyone can be an American as long as they believe that we all deserve life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
That was the closest I've ever gotten to experiencing real magic. Better than sex? Oh, it was better than mediocre sex, that's for sure. (And speaking as a guy, mediocre sex is still pretty good.)