I turned 40 last week and I'm not happy about it. I graduated from High School in 1986, I was 17. That was 22 years ago. I feel like that was just the other day. I guess my issue is that old people are 40, not me. That's someone's dad's age, not mine. However, I am 40 and my life is better today than it's ever been in the previous 39 years. So I'll deal with it, but don't make fun of me. I'm particularly sensitive.
While I type, Abacab by Genesis came on the radio. What a great song. I'm trying to think is there a band that fell further than Genesis musically. How can the exact same guys that did 'Man On The Corner', 'Turn It On Again', 'Misunderstanding' and 'No Reply At All' also be responsible for 'I Can't Dance', 'Invisible Touch' and 'Illegal Alien'? I understand that every once in a while a great band can throw in a clunker (see AC/DC's 'Big Balls', The Cure's 'It's Friday I'm in Love', Squeeze's 'Cool for Cats'), but in the case of Genesis, it's a complete collapse. I guess the closest comparison is Lionel Ritchie's music with the Commodore's versus what he did by himself, but that is a solo career versus what he did with a band. If you have a better example let me know.
Last month I saw AC/DC in concert. Wow, these guys were awesome. It's the best concert I've ever seen. I've be to a zillion concerts from every genre. I've seen Buffett, GnR, The Who, The Dead, Prince, Kiss, Run DMC, David Allen Coe, Paul Simon, The Eagles, Tony Bennett, etc., etc. I'll use Buffett as a perfect example of an overhyped concert. People, every song is a ballad. You're drunk. You'd be having a good time in a fabric store. I love James Taylor, but that is living room music. It's music to eat brie to. I saw Sting in concert...Yawn. I swear the energy created by AC/DC spilled out into the street after the concert. People were still screaming. I thought this mob was going to take over the city. A month later, I' m still thinking about it. I've seen some great guitar players live (i.e. Slash, Joe Walsh, Mickey Cucchiella), but Angus Young is the best I've ever seen. He's so amazing. I read the reviews to make sure everyone saw what I saw. They did. If you didn't get a chance to see them make sure you do. They're in Cleveland on January 5th and Pittsburgh on January 7th.
I performed at the Baltimore Comedy Factory two weekends back. The audience for the late shows (Friday 11:30, Saturday 11:00) have been pretty sparse. So the club has been inviting the audience from the prior show to stay for the late show. Well this is a problem for me considering I have 35 - 40 minutes of ''performable'' material and I need to do a 25 minute feature set. This means I either need to do 10 - 15 minutes of the same material, shorten my set, do unreliable material or increase my crowdwork. Honestly, this annoyed me at first. As a feature I am not required to have 50 minutes of material. Even if I did, I cannot just throw jokes out as if reading a grocery list. I make a conscientious effort to segue between jokes. If I am unable to do so, it makes my set seem less conversational. I don't want the audience to think they're hearing jokes. Moreso I want them to feel like it's a funny conversation in which they are not speaking.
However, I really enjoyed myself. I had a really good late show on Friday and an average at best set late Saturday, but I learned. I've been working hard on developing new material. I think I have 10 minutes of new ''usable'' material. The problem is that some of this new material makes it necessary to eliminate or amend older material. I'll be at the Factory again next weekend. My goal is to do two completely unique sets during the last two shows Friday and Saturday.
I often get asked, ''How much time to you have?'' I really don't know the answer. I guess if I told all my jokes back-to-back I probably have over an hour. However, many of those jokes aren't reliable enough to tell consistently. Many of the premises are so similar that they cannot be told in the same set. Some of the jokes have stopped working and need to be retooled. I don't know that I have ever heard a comedian say they had less than 25 minutes. I guess if I took every joke I ever wrote I'd have 5 hours, but a joke that I told once and no one laughed doesn't count. A joke about something I read in the paper that day doesn't count. Jokes that I told in 1989 about farting and Gilligan's Island don't count. I'll be at RiRa's tonight trying to add another 5. Come see the magic.