Stephen Starts a Diary: May 11th

5/11 Friday

Some lives are better than others.  That’s just a matter of fact in this world of punchlines and acts.  The show we performed at today in Ikebukuro may have been the worst I can remember.

It’s not like we bombed or anything (we didn’t) but the overall atmosphere of the night when combined with the zombie-like audience and harried MC made what should have been a relatively relaxed night to try out new material into a night ripped straight out of a horror story.

I should backtrack and explain a bit.  As far as a young Yoshimoto comedian is concerned, there are two kinds of lives:  jimusho official lives and those that are not.  Today’s live, despite the incredibly demanding people who put it on, was one of the later.  

The theater where we performed, located a few minutes from Ikebukuro Station in north central Tokyo, isn’t exactly brand new and, it being cramped and dark, with room for maybe 40 people at the most, no one can really blame the over 60 people who came for not exactly being in a laughing mood.  That said, the last time I performed in front of an audience as listless and unresponsive as the one we encountered tonight was probably back in comedy school when the instructor told everyone not to laugh before class even began. 

It was bad.  As the closing act for the first half of the show, we had a lot of time to gage the audience and to just watch things proceed and, as each act failed to garner any laughs one after the other, a slight panic start to set in among the remaining performers.  What was wrong?  Did the audience just forget to show up for the start?  Was everyone just not funny?

Soon enough, our turn on stage came and went.  While things preceeded without incident, our main attack points fell flatter than they did the one other time we had performed our skit live.  Panic set in.  A thick lather of sweat soaked through the pits of my shirt.  By the time the MC gathered us back on stage for the talk segment of the live, I was ready to go home.  Judging from how 75% of the frontrow was playing on their phones the entire time, so was the audience.

Why someone would lay down their own money to go to a show just to play on a phone, I’ll never know.  All I do know is that tonight was hell and I am damn sure glad that it’s over.

Sometimes you just have to blame the audience.

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All screaming inside

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