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

Different In A Day

Thursday October 13th, 2011 - St. Charles, IL

   Now I’m really convinced the older I get, the less I know. Yesterday, I knocked it out of the park with my show on stage while the Milwaukee Brewers lost their game. Today, the roles were completely reversed. My show was far from satisfactory, but the Brewers won.

   I’m not going to waste any more energy on the baseball end unless they go to the World Series. I’m sick of having my stomach in knots as I watch or listen to the game that I have nothing whatsoever to do with other than being born in the same city where this particular team plays half their games. I would like it if they won, but if they don’t I’ll still survive.

   Yes, it would be a rare and exciting treat to have them win the World Series, but all the emotional abuse it takes to watch the ups and downs of the games just isn’t what I want to be focusing on right now. Get it over with already. I can’t stand having to wait any more.

   Tomorrow I’ll be doing two shows at Zanies at Pheasant Run in St. Charles, IL and they don’t have any TV screens in the club so I won’t be distracted. I need to focus on comedy anyway. I’ve been adding all kinds of new material and I want to keep it up all weekend.

   Tonight’s audience wasn’t even close to being the razor sharp batch of red hot comedy starved out loud laughing friendly people we had last night. That moment in time is gone forever. That was the only time in history that particular group was together in one place at one time, and it will never happen again. As wonderful as it was, it’s now in the past.

   The people tonight weren’t horrible, but they were a tad snug and it wasn’t the fun fest last night was. I had to work unbelievably hard to pry any laughs out of them, and it was even more difficult because I was trying to intersperse lots of new material into the mix.

   Different comedians have different ways of adding new material, but I’d say the safest way to do it is squeeze it in between two proven pieces of polished material and begin to shape it there. If it’s not going well, it’s easy to drop it and move into the next bit that has had previous success. The audience never knows that that’s what’s happening, but it is.

   Some comics like to go up on Saturday night when it’s supposed to be the hottest crowd of the week and open with something new and unproven. I’ve never been one to do it like that, but I’m not saying it’s wrong. I just think it’s extra ballsy and not what I’d like to do.

   That doesn’t mean I don’t do ballsy things on a comedy stage. Quite the contrary. I have been known to push the envelope as far as just about anyone at times, but those times are a lot more calculated now than they used to be. It used to be I’d do whatever hit me at any time, but I realized that doing it on a Saturday cheats a paying audience out of their show.

   An audience pays to see the best performance a comedian can give, or at least that what I believe now. I don’t ever want to cheat an audience out of my best, but I also need to get some new stuff polished, and the only way to do that is hone it on a stage. It’s a paradox.

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