Well it had to happen at some point. I'm surprised it hadn't happened yet. When I tell you I got booed tonight...I got booed. It wasn't a "Now that wasn't very nice" kind of boo. It was a "We don't know you, and we don't like you" kind of boo. It was the kind of boo that might have made me quit comedy had it happened when I first started. The kind of boo that would render a ghost speechless. It took 8 1/2 years of doing stand-up, but it finally happened: I got booed offstage...twice...in the same show.I have always prided myself in attempting comedy in any situation. Outdoors, bars, mixed audiences, you name it, I've done it. One time I tried to do a set in front of hungover Applebee's Employees at 8am on a Saturday morning as part of their "WOW" program. They made several trips to the breakfast bar setup for them, which was conveniently 3 steps behind where I was trying to "entertain". One guy actually asked, "Where are the clean plates?" at a volume louder than which I was speaking.
What's the point? Tonight was healthy. I suggest you try it. The feeling of having people hate you for no reason is something every human being should experience. It's humbling. It's a reality check. It's motivation. I won't say it was racism, but it was definatley prejudiced. When I was introduced tonight, I could immediately tell that outside the first few rows, no one was listening. I was in the setup of my first joke when then first boo broke out. Then the entire back of the room seemed to form a chorus on the spot. "Can't I get a joke out before you decide you don't like me?" I asked. "No mother f___! Booooooo!" I heard something yelled about "that gel in your hair". Something very original I'm sure. Knowing that this was a no win situation, I placed the mic back in the micstand, and motioned for the emcee to come back to the stage. He told the audience he was going to bring me back up there and to show me some respect because he's seen me before, and "he's funny."
I went back up there and decided to give them a second chance as well. I started a new bit and right before I got to the punchline "BOOOO!" It was obvious that I wasn't going to get a fair shot. I shouted back "If you think it's so easy, come on up here and let's hear your best joke. We'll go one on one and see who the professional is." The crowd erupted with applause and cheers "Good for you white boy." I waited a good 30 seconds and thought for sure someone would be making their way toward the stage. I had done it, I had stood my ground, the tide had turned. No one came to the stage, they knew I was serious. I started a joke for the 3rd time and guess what happened this time......"BOOOOOOOOO!!!!"
Once again, I left the stage, defeated. But it wasn't a "I had my turn and failed defeat." It was of the sucker punch varitey. I hadn't even been able to get one bit out. People in the first three rows saying "Stay up there, tell your jokes." People in the last 8 rows doing their best Casper impression. How do I know that people are full of crap? Because I can't count how many people said, "I liked you, don't let them get you down" as they passed by me after the show. How can you have liked me? As much as I didn't have a chance to bomb, I didn't have a chance for you to decide I was funny.
No props for being from Cincinnati, no respect for the accomplishments I've made and what I've tried to do for the local comedy scene. It was just a bunch of thugs with free tickets to a club who show why they don't have jobs that would let them be able to pay to get in. Chad Johnson, Cincinnati Bengal and my favorite player was the host of the event, and I was able to get him to sign a painting that my good buddy Darin Overholser did of him for my personal collection. So that kept the night from being a total loss.In closing, let me say that this isn't a journal entry to fish for compliments and reaffirmations that I'm doing some things people enjoy. IN NO WAY did tonight deter me from my goals or my drive to be a better comic. I just wanted to share the story with anyone who cared to read it, and remind everyone that being a comic is hard and as Mitch Hedberg described it, "a very noble occupation." It's ok to not like someone's comedy, but don't trash whatever it is they're trying to do, just because it's not your cup of malt liquour.
I've seen my name show up in more than one blog from people who don't care for my humor. I've seen genuinely funny and nice guys like Larry The Cable Guy and Bill Engvall get trashed for basically being successful. Who gives a rat's ass if you don't like what they do? Their success shows that plenty of other people do. Laugh when you want to laugh, it's that simple. Give respect to those who are out there trying to follow a dream. We all have our offnights, Lord knows I had my worst one tonight. But if you don't think it's funny, then don't laugh. Win people over by letting them appreciate your sense of humor, not by getting them to agree with you on who's not funny. I know plenty of people who think I'm not funny, I've met audiences full. They fed me "hmrph's" and even sometimes complete silence, but hey, at least they didn't "boo".
Hope to see you out there,