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Readers Blog: Dobie Maxwell's 'Dented Can' Diary

First Week Finished

Monday October 18th, 2010 - Somewhere Else At Sea

   I was scheduled for and successfully performed three shows tonight, and if I were asked to impartially evaluate all of them I’d say they were ‘good enough‘. After that, people can have whatever opinion they want. Some probably liked it more than others, but that’s just how it is with any product. As long as the seller doesn’t falsely advertise, it‘s game on.

   If a restaurant serves a particular dish, there are no guarantees it will be anything but the particular version of that dish they see fit to serve. Their version of meatloaf may have all kinds of different ingredients than the one I picture when I order it, but if I decide to order it it’s at my own risk. I can ask what’s in it, or I can roll the dice and see what they bring.

   Comedy shows are like that in many ways, especially on the ships. People get what they get, and that’s it. Sometimes they like it, sometimes they don’t. Very few actually take the time to fill out a written complaint, but it does happen. I have no idea what my ratings are with the passengers so far, but I’m still working so I must have done something correctly.

   The bottom line is, at the end of all the shows I stood on stage for as long as I was hired to, and at least some of the people enjoyed it enough to laugh out loud. I didn’t embarrass myself, even though in my mind I would have liked to have had a much louder response.

   That’s ok. It’s good to want to do well. I’ve always wanted people to walk out from my show with sore cheeks from laughing so hard. Many times I’ve achieved exactly that, but not so much on the ships just yet. This continues to be a puzzle I’ll have to work on, and I intend to keep doing that until I give what I think are killer shows. My standards are high.

   This is an entirely different vibe than the one I had with the “Schlitz Happened!” shows the last couple of weeks. That one I felt completely in control, as I knew the people I was trying to entertain. They’re Milwaukeeans and I’m one of them. These people aren’t from there, and probably never tasted a bratwurst in their lives. These are mostly Louisianans.

   New Orleans and Louisiana have a unique culture much like Milwaukee and Wisconsin do. I see a lot of people on this ship wearing LSU and Saints hats and T-shirts just like I’d see people at home wearing Badger and Packer stuff. They’re loyal to their local culture.

  There’s nothing wrong with that, but if I’m not in that inner circle it can be tough to get through and really earn their trust to make them laugh. I feel the exact opposite when I’m in Wisconsin, as I can do those shows in my sleep. That culture is ingrained inside of me. I have a lot more weapons I can pull out up there. Here, I have to rely on my experience.

   This was my first time on this ship and I get to come right back and do it all over again next week. Tomorrow I fly back from Nassau, Bahamas but next week the route changes and I fly back from Belize. I’ll get another chance to see if I can make Louisianans laugh.

  The most important thing is that I become known as a laid back guy who’s easy to work with. That’s the best way to get asked back. Funny has never been the top requirement.  

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