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

Three Shots To The Head

Friday August 20th, 2010 - Somewhere Near Miami, FL

   My turn to do three shows tonight. Each cruise requires us to do a total of five shows in two nights. We have one all ages show each night, and then we each split three shows for two nights. One night we do two adult shows and the other just one. Tonight was my two.

   I can’t think of two harder shows I’ve had on the same night in recent memory. The first show was worse than that, and I’m feeling like jumping ship right now. This is absolutely not what I signed up for, and if I could have found a canoe to paddle home I would have.

   I’m embarrassed, and it doesn’t seem like I’m in my element. Last night went extremely well, and both Mutzie and I had solid shows. He did his three, and I did my two. Even the all ages show went well, and I had them from the start. I thought I’d finally figured it out.

   WRONG. Tonight’s early show was not even half full. There were a lot of other things going on and this is the last night of the cruise. People are tired, broke and want to return home. Still, I don’t think that’s an excuse for me not connecting with those who did show up. I’ve been a comic long enough to change gears, but tonight all of it fell on deaf ears.

   The circumstances were as difficult as it gets. There were a group of kids sitting right in the very front row, and then there were empty rows, and adults sat in the very back of the room. That alone made it a no win situation. Then, there was some kind of karaoke show going on in the bar next door, and the bleed over could be heard by everyone in the room.

   I did what I could, and it didn’t come close to thrilling anyone. Most of these people did not get anything I threw at them, even though I tried my best to adjust on the fly and plug in to their wavelength. Normally I can find at least something to build on, but not tonight.

  That was the longest thirty minutes in recent memory, until the next show. That was also sparsely populated for whatever reason. There was evidently a huge bingo game going on in the main auditorium, followed by a huge show. That drew people away from comedy.

   The third show was a total nightmare. I was supposed to do a completely different show than the first two, because that’s what the club manager promised to the audience. He’s in charge, but doesn’t have any prior standup comedy background. Too bad for me. He’s the person I answer to, and rather than get in trouble with the booker I followed instructions.

   I ate it with a bib from the time I walked on until the time I got off. I got maybe three or four mediocre chuckles, but that’s it. Usually I can ad lib something and get some energy going, but not tonight. They hated everything I did, and I wasn’t too fond of them either.

   The trouble is, Mutzie got a standing ovation in his late show with an ancient bit called ‘Arms Expert’. That’s where a woman stands behind a comic and slips her arms through and becomes his. It’s as old as the hills and considered the ultimate hack bit. I like Mutzie a lot and he delivered it well, but it made me want to slither into a hole and die. I still do.

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