My dad’s a used car salesman. Have I ever mentioned that? Most likely not, but I definitely don’t re-read my posts, so forgive me if I have. When I was a kid, no matter how long the journey, a trip to California, or a trip to Grandma’s house, my dad would always manage to sneak by a fellow competitor’s car lot. Just to see what kind of product they’re selling, and for how much. Yes, they may be your competitor, but they may also be your Ali. Somehow, I have inherited this behaviour as a Stand Up Comic.
I’m on vacation in Maui, with my family-or as I like to call it, “Almost Paradise.” Since my parents want to spend every waking moment of the trip with me, I’ve found a new love for early morning runs on the beach(Exercise-one of the few activities my parents won’t join me on. Later in the week, I will take up Yoga.) Somewhere on my morning runs, I stop for some delicious Hawaiian coffee and browse through local papers. That’s where I spot it. Wailea(that’s the part of the island I’m on) has a comedy night. It’s at the exact bar I spend Happy Hour at every day, another daily refuge away from my parents. So I make a point to remember that Tuesday, I will escape the ‘rents, and check out local stand up comedy, kind of like Baby carrying the watermelon in Dirty Dancing.
The escape is tricky. As much as my parents are proud of me being a stand up comic, I do not encourage them coming to my show. It’s not like I’m a dirty comic- I mean I can be a dirty comic, but I can also do a completely clean set. It just depends what I’m hired to do. Either way, I’m a very honest comic. Clean or dirty, I’m an open book(obviously being dirty is more fun- I think crowds like the naughty material more, no matter how stuck up they pretend to be.) That said, I gross out at the idea of my parents watching me. I always have. They’ve never seen me perform in a club before. In that way, I’m like a teenager who hides her cigarettes, only her parents know she smokes, they just never get to see her do it, but they’re very proud… okay, maybe that’s a bad analogy…
My sister and brother in-law are in on the mission. They want to go too. The problem with doing anything at 9pm in Maui is that you’ve been drinking all day, and for a Toronto girl, it’s 2:00am, so you’re ready for bed. I could be lazy and just forget the idea. I’m tired. But luckily, my dad is glued to his 3rd episode of “Becker” for the day, so I find the motivation to go.
It’s 8:55pm. The show’s at 9. I give sis and bro the “let’s get out of here” eyes.
“We’re going to the store to pick up milk and butter,” says my sister. A good excuse, because five days into the trip and my parents are(no joke) already out of butter.
We cruise down the Wailea Blvd, past all the shwanky hotels that would be cool to stay at, but not with your parents. We pull up to the bar. The parking lot is next to empty.
“Are you sure the show is here?” My sister questions.
“Three cars… Yep. This is a comedy show,” I confirm.
We go inside and as expected, there are few people in the “crowd.” I suspect many of them are comics waiting to go on.
“I hope you’re not going to ask to go on. This is tragic,” my sister says. “Tragic…” My new favourite adjective, which I will now use, but I’ll let you know, I got it from her. (But I’m pretty sure she got it from her gay friends in Vancouver.)
“No, do it!” Says my bro-in-law. Like I give a shit. I’ve done a shit load of bad open mics, I just don’t usually bring witnesses. I walk over to the dude by the sound booth.
“Hey, I don’t know how it works here, but I’m a Stand Up Comic from Toronto and-”
“You’re on next.”
Wow. Clearily I’m in a small pond. I go back to the bar and spread the “good” news. The bartender looks up, my bro-in-law is excited, and my sister looks worried. The bartender adds,
“You’re a comedian? From Canada? Cool… It’s usually just the same three guys every week. We don’t get a lot of new flavour on the island. ” That’s me. New “flavour” or “flavor” for the Americans. Now, my New Year’s Resolution was to dress nicer on stage. It’s mid-January. Resolutions are still relevant. I’m in a white tank top and a Maui skort(I sound like I’m from the 80’s, don’t I…) I would never dare do stand up in this outfit at home, even in the summer, but I’m also not going to bundle up in a Paula Poundstone jacket and pretend it’s not hot here. I call this, my “as is” outfit.” Cuz after all, I didn’t set out to do comedy tonight… I just came to investigate…
I forgot to mention, when I met the booker, I asked him his name. I thought he said “Shady.” So when I said, “Thanks, Shady!” He said, “It’s Shaggy.” Right. “Shaggy.” My advice to young comics, don’t mess up the booker’s name. Cut to, me on stage-
“Keep it going for Shady!” From off stage, I hear, “It’s Shaggy.” Oops. He hates me. I’m pretty sure. Luckily I don’t play here a lot, but to be fair, how many people know somebody named “Shaggy?” Other than Scooby-Doo’s buddy? I at least know a guy in Toronto named Shady(don’t ask.) This is why comics should use their real name. I would never accidentally call a Ray, Sam or Mike “Shady.” But “Shaggy?” I know that’s not your real name, and maybe that’s why, subconsciously, I can’t get it right. Plus you’re bald. Why “Shaggy?”
I do my set. I’m not going to lie and tell you it was good. There were maybe 8 people in the crowd, all seated as far away from the stage as possible. It’s always shows like this that have no red light. When I feel as though I’ve got a solid two laughs, I head back to the bar. My sister and bro-in-law are supportive, or maybe just the best liars ever. The bartender tells me that the old men doing shots of Jager at the bar were “howling” at me. I’m not sure what he means. A sketch group takes the stage(yes, Maui has sketch too.) When it comes time to get our bill, it’s drastically cheap. Can’t tell if I got paid in beers, or those were sympathy drinks. Either way, bless you, Mulligans. Plus I made one new Facebook friend.
When we get home, my parents were sleeping. But in the morning, my mom wakes me up.
“Hey, where’s the butter?”
ps. I originally wrote this blog in my new Justin Bieber notebook my friend Jaime got me for Christmas. I totally spilled beer on his bangs. Don’t judge me.