(Ed note: This was originally titled “Inside the Head of a Performer,” but Dustin went a little too long about writing the damn thing. He does that. You should hear him leave a voice message. JEEZ! Anyway, that will probably follow this soon enough. In the meantime, enjoy.)
Let me start by saying that I am an extreme amateur and anything you read should be with that caveat. You are not going inside the mind of Steve Martin or Steve Carrel. Or even Steve from Blue’s Clues. I will probably never make it big as a performer of any sort and that’s fine with me. It’s just nice to have a creative outlet that will likely reach more people than this does (Hi Tom. And Cheryl. And Jen when I make you read it).
Last night was another Speakeasy Performance, and this one was coming on the heels of last weekend’s Sucker for Love show. That was an ensemble performance that I was paid for and last night was another open mic. What I mean by “ensemble” insofar as you need to know, it means I was picked to do that show because they like me – whereas almost anyone could sign up for the open mic, as evident by the drunk guy who tried to pretend he was stoned (or vice versa if you like). So I had put all my time and energy into making sure that was as great a show as possible, so after it was over on Sunday, I breathed a sigh of relief on Monday and woke up Tuesday to the tune of “Crap! That other thing is tomorrow!”
Thankfully, I had chosen to do a story which I had told many times before. It’s the Dominos Pizza Story. I know that story like the palm of my hand (hehe). BUT, the part that I know is only about 2 minutes long. The spot was supposed to be 7 minutes. So I wasn’t out of the woods yet. My selection of the story was a little different than usual. Originally, I had convinced Meatwad into doing his story about getting kicked out of the bar, which I thought would have been awesome. But when he punked out, Stephanie (from the Speakeasy) offered me the spot to fill in for the Meatman. Stephanie is what I call my stage coach, because not only does she coach my stories that I’ll be telling on the stage, but she also used to bring people back and forth from Philly to New York in the 1700s in a covered wagon.
The theme was “After Hours: Stories about things that happen at night,” which encompasses everything I’ve ever done. Rather than having a pre-determined story and going to Stephanie with that in mind, I pitched 3 ideas to her of things I’d already written since I knew I’d have little time to focus on this with that Sucker for Love Show in the rear view. They were the Dominoes Pizza Story (which won), the Cicada Party and a Brick Street compilation culminating in Paul getting taken to the police station across the street. Well, she liked the pizza story. Now I just had to figure out how to frame it to have something to do with the night.
I tried at first to make it seem like the night was scary and play up the concept of fear. That watered down the story like a happy hour long island ice tea. Stephanie suggested I try to take more of a customer service angle before she headed out to California for the gold rush. This was a better fit with the Dominos Pizza part, but not the theme. But at this point, I didn’t care. This eventually led to the frame it currently sits in: the difference between Corporate America and the Ma and Pa stores and their relation to my hometown of Bridgeport, PA.
Somewhere along the line, I decided it would be fun to try to play up the angle of my irritation. This involved the inclusion of a couple well placed rants, which would intentionally veer from the topic to other things that angered me to indicate my level of irritation. So what I’ve basically done at this point, is I’ve taken the Dominoes Pizza story – one of the easiest lay-ups already in my comedic story-telling format – and I’ve made it into the most complicated performance I’ve possibly ever given. And on only one day’s preparation. Dustin Fisher, Comedy Masochist.
Still Standing Right Here...
QOTD credits: Derek Hills – ("or vice versa if you like")