Stood up and talked poop

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Apr 142011
 
Authors: Kate Bennis and Nic Turiciano

There are few instances when grabbing a microphone and talking about feces is rewarded.

It’s this fact that lured me to stand up comedy. I like to talk about poop.
It’s a trait that I inherited from my roommate, and while the residents of our house think it’s the best topic ever, many people don’t.

Unless, of course, you are a stand up comic. As Dickey Bill Wagner, one of Fort Collins’ comedy scene regulars, told me, no real comic is complete without at least one poop joke and one penis joke.

I arrived at the Alley Cat’s Wednesday comedy night armed with both … kind of.
Before I really get into it, let me say that I did not plan or rehearse a routine. I thought it would be “cool” or more “genuine,” but it ended up being a bad idea.

I was excited for this. As much as I hate to admit it, I like attention, and it seemed like a good idea to go along with this week’s entertainment theme of comedy. My co-columnist, Kate Bennis, didn’t feel the same way. She refused to participate in this week’s adventure.

I understand why, though. She’s not funny. At all. Kate Bennis is not funny.
At least she was there to support me when I showed up at 7 p.m. ready and willing to put my name on the list of that night’s comedians.

I must have looked like the fresh-meat that I am when I wandered into the Alley Cat’s lower level. In the room was a microphone, a set of speakers and a mostly-hardened group of comics. At first they ignored me.

So I stood there tapping my heels until I finally worked up the confidence to announce my presence by coughing. Erik Lindstrom, who’s been running comedy night at the Alley Cat for the last 6 weeks, spun around and asked, “You here for comedy night?”

It was at that moment that I locked myself in. I was committed. I had to perform.

Let’s revisit: I didn’t plan a routine. The implications of my lazy strategy began to sink in fast.

I sat down and realized that I had nothing to say. The stress kicked in. Sweat started to gather on the back of my neck. I imagined myself a skewered pig roasting over an open flame.

My roommate reminded me that I’d have a couple people to watch and learn from. I could even steal from them if I wanted to because that’s what comics do.
Theft is part of the art.

I began to relax. My nonchalant attitude returned. No worries. I had this.
And then Lindstrom walked over and told me I’d be first up.

He grabbed the mic, announced the event, told a couple jokes of his own and then announced my performance.

I walked to the microphone unsure of myself. I could feel my cheeks blushing, and when I pressed the microphone to my lips all I could hear was the sound of my mouth breathing.

And then something glorious happened. I opened my mouth and words came out.
They weren’t forced or stuttered but natural and confident.

I stuck to what I’m comfortable talking about: poop, penises and sex. They are the three funniest things in my life and it showed.

I won’t go into the details of my set. Those who know me know that I like to talk about gross and utterly depraved stuff, but the strangers in the audience didn’t. Honestly, I surprised myself with what I was willing to say.

At first the set was funny, or at least the audience thought so. People were laughing at my crudest jokes, and I was having fun telling them.

About halfway through I began to run out of gas. The lack of preparation was starting to catch up to me. I could feel the crowd running from me, wanting to hide and not be sought by my boring ramble.

I realized that I wasn’t just cracking jokes. I was actually asking people how much they liked my personality. At first I was a hit, and then I tired on my new friends. I went from being the happiest man on earth to the loneliest.

So I gave up the mic and sat back down. I expected to be a huge failure, so it was comforting to know that yeah, I am actually a little bit funny. Next time –– I think there might be a next time –– they’ll like me for the whole 10 minutes.

Columnists Kate Bennis and Nic Turiciano can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

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