Creating a Comic

Bombing, killing, and other occupational hazards of stand-up comedy


I'm your host, CJ Alexander.
This is my blog about breaking into stand-up comedy.

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Mindy Kaling, best known for playing Kelly on (and writing for) The Office, recently published a funny quasi-memoir called Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)  I thought it was interesting, funny and enjoyably easy to read.

But Mindy’s book also had the misfortune, publicity-wise, of being published out shortly after the release of Tina Fey’s equally absorbing Bossypants. And sadly for the somewhat-less-famous Mindy, The New York Times Bestsellers list seems to have a Highlander rule for books by any writer/actor/comedian who also happens to be in possession of a vagina.

On the topic of comedians and their sometime ladyparts, Mindy includes this gem during a made-up Q&A at the end of the book:

Q: “Why didn’t you talk about whether women are funny or not?”

A: I just felt that by commenting on that in any real way, it would be tacit approval of it as a legitimate debate, which it isn’t. It would be the same as addressing the issue of ‘Should dogs and cats be able to care for our children? They’re in the house anyway.’ I try not to make a habit to seriously discuss nonsensical hot-button issues.

I’d love if that could be the final word on this made-up mouthbreather non-issue, at least around these (terrifyingly manly man-) parts.

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    The only downside to performing a feature set, in comparison to host or emcee work, is the video review session.

    Since the set itself is 2-3 times longer, watching my performance afterward is that much more excruciating. And in reality, the whole ordeal takes far longer; given a 25 minute set, the review often takes several hours — especially after accounting for all the times I hit pause and flee from the room while screaming “I CAN’T WATCH THIS SHIT ANYMORE!!!”

    For the record, I’m not complaining. :) I’m just saying… and maybe I’m also stalling a bit before going back to the video.

    On the bright side, most other forms of torture don’t come with a pause button.

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      I couldn’t agree more:

      It’s funny that 30 Rock is up against that other show — you know the one. The one with much better ratings; the one about nerds. Answer me this, though: did that show feature an Ewok, lyrics to the Mos Eisley cantina song, a Dungeons & Dragons room, and a completely obscure reference to Xaro Xhoan Daxos from Game of Thrones? Who’s the nerd now Big Bang Theory, huh?!? The fact is, I’m actually a fan of Big Bang Theory, but I love the subtle nerdiness of Liz Lemon. Who doesn’t love a girl who’s crazy about Star Wars.

      30 Rock is really killing it lately — and I say this as someone who denies the show ever went through much of a lull. Sure, not every single joke will land, but I’m in awe of how many jokes they cram into every single script.

      Plus, there this Jenna speech:

      “Right now there are models waking up from their coke binges, multi-ethnic bartenders with daddy issues, former ballerinas who had to quit because their boobs got too big. They’re going to hear about the horny billionaire, and Thad is going to forget all about his little crush. They’re coming Liz. Click click! That’s their stilettos! Click click!”

      And Liz’s response: “Damn hot bitches!”

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        [NOTE: In Part 1, I suggested bringing a cheap digital camera to your shows, a recommendation that gave me an excuse to make fun of some Evergreen State hippies. This is Part 2, which shares several photos from the night and skips any attempt to be practical or helpful.]

        I should mention first that there’s nothing on Earth that I want more than to be like my role model, Seattle comedian and GapKids© clothing model Andrew Rivers. He has a reputation as quite the ladies man in certain circles, legendarily engaging in all sorts of post-show pan-sexual orgies.

        When I asked “>Andrew how I could be a pick-up artist like him, he said to just choose a girl and put the moves on her. So I gave it a try:

        Putting the moves on
        Just like on the Discovery Channel

        Soon enough I was indeed picking her up:

        For future note: the ball of wool on my hat — which is NOT attached
        to my skull — is a less than viable handhold

        Despite what you might assume from my shockingly gay clothing choices, I did enjoy having an attractive comedy fan’s legs wrapped around my body.

        As in all relationships, though, we had some communication problems:

        Pointing: perhaps the least effective way of communicating
        with someone from above & behind their head

        Meanwhile, one of the other comedians doing a set was my friend Monica Nevi, whose joke-writing is far too clever for someone who (1) is also a college athlete and (2) has been doing stand-up for only six months. People this ridiculously talented are highly annoying to me, so I’ve been compensating by accusing her of being an android.

        When Monica stepped outside after the show, she was suddenly confronted with our bizarre spectacle:

        This is 2min after Monica’s initial perplexed “What the FUCK?!”
        Face nearly made me fall over laughing

        There are many, many more photos from our evening at The Royal Lounge; check them out in the Creating a Comic photo album on Facebook.

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          My friends often roll their eyes when I recommend against driving in my current hometown of Edmonds, if at all possible, between 2 and 4am. The local police force is too well-funded, too hyper-vigilant, and too willing to pull anybody over on the slightest pretext — like if you’re suspected of Driving While Under 50. It’s usually not worth the hassle.

          Sometimes, they believe me; usually, they mock me. But total lifetime vindication is mine after the other night, when I was pulled over at 3am… while riding my bicycle.

          “You don’t really get ‘pulled over’ on a bicycle,” notes Kyle Kinane. “You just stop pedaling.” Thankfully I didn’t get an expensive ticket like Kyle, who re-enacts his police encounter in this great routine:

          I should note that the cop who stopped me was pretty cool about it, letting me go after a routine five minute ID/warrant check. Also routine, but so funny I almost lost it: the arrival of a backup squad car.

          Barely-suppressed mockery isn’t a crime, thank goodness. Not yet anyway.

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