Saturday, March 05, 2005

Countdown to Zero Hour, or is it D-Day?
I Forget.

I've been getting myself into the comedy zone since yesterday, trying every trick in the book to get ready for tomorrow night's show.
I am not at the nervous stage yet, I am too dazed to be nervous.
Why, oh why, didn't I think to say I'd make a comedic speech rather than do standup?
That way, I could have just read the whole damn thing instead of trying to salvage what meager memory cells I have left and force myself to memorize a half hour or more of running shtick.
Between my incessant pot smoking in the 70's and my recent bout with this dastardly, memory sucking menopause, I have about the same memory capacity now as my first computer: 512K.

To illustrate what that means, I just left my desk to turn on the stereo in the other room, forgot to turn it on and brought back some fresh 3x5 cards to my desk instead.
I forget why I brought them, since I already had a fresh stack on my desk.
I made coffee this morning and forgot about it until 40 minutes ago. Then I put it in the microwave to warm it up and forgot that, too.
Now that I have a cup of coffee on my desk, it's gone cold because I keep forgetting to drink it.

Being compulsive, I broke up the act into an intro, then decided on logical segues from one topic to the next, then added the big finish. I wrote it all down in a black and white speckled composition book.
Then I wrote everything on numbered, color coded 3x5 cards, thinking I could slide them in my coat pocket to use as crib sheets.
Trouble is, the stack was roughly two inches thick, which would make an unsightly pocket bulge on stage, and be too unwieldy to sift through unobtrusively.
So, I pared the stack down by abbreviating and writing smaller, ending up with just 10 cards.
Trouble is, now the writing is too small to read and the stack is still too big to hide in my pocket.
By then, I started finding all over the house random cocktail napkins, envelopes, grocery receipts, matchbooks and gum wrappers with gags written on them. Every room in the house had at least a few little cryptic slips of paper with something scribbled on them.
Then I started to panic because some of them were not funny in the least.
I started obsessing.
I said to myself, "Shit, if I thought that was funny then, how do I know the stuff I think is funny now is actually funny?"
After that, I cleared my mind with some basic meditation techniques, which worked so well I started thinking of new stuff that I had to write down immediately, lest I exceed my 512K cache.
That leads to having to find places to wedge in the new material, which leads to having to rewrite the ten 3x5 cards in even smaller lettering to accommodate the new stuff.
But since the writing is already too small to read on what will be a darkish stage, there's no point in redoing the cards to accommodate even more stuff.

So, here's what I decided:
I'm going to wing it. No notes. No reminders.
I may just go completely off the script and start jabbering about whatever pops into my head.
If it flops miserably, I'll just say it was a performance art piece that dealt with the existential futility of trying to be funny for the sake of self aggrandizement and material greed.

That way, I can pretend to be a deep intellectual who's too worldly to be easily understood by a room full of drunk people.
The snobby audience members in turn will try to save face and pretend they got the esoteric joke and praise me for being so hilarious and avant garde.
But some will be pissed that they wasted $10 on some hoity toity, showoff inna-leck-chual who wasn't even a damn bit funny.
That in turn will spark lively debates between the martini drinking pseudo intellectuals and the longneck swilling shitkicker chicks with the mullet haircuts.
Meanwhile, I'll be driving home with pockets filled with cash.

Hell, it's better than standing there and saying, "Sorry, y'all, I forgot what I was gonna say."

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