In CK in the UK, Louis talks about his worst set in years.
So far I have done one show, last night. And I pretty much ate it. I mean I fucking really bombed horrrrribly. I mean it was the worst set I've had in years. Years and years again. I mean holy nigger tits did they hate me. I did half an hour. Fifteen minutes in people were just chatting like I wasn't there. I opened weak and closed weaker and in between I sweated about four me's onto the floor. I can't believe I'm still alive. Toward the end, a very vicious man, yelled out simply "You're a loser!" and I said back to him, "Yes, sir. I am." and then more silence. I took a breath and continued. Rare, rare moments of deep, hot, sweaty, shave a few days off the end of your life failure.
How do I feel about it? Last night I felt awful. That's part of bombing. I walked away with my head spinning. "This is a nightmare. They're going to hate me in London too. I'm over here for a fucking month!"
But today I'm okay with it. I'm owning it. So much that I'm unneccicarily spreading the word through my own website about how bad it went. How stupid is that?
I have to say that, for bombing, I bombed well. For the first ten minutes or so, I lost my composure, I gave them my timing and had salt in my eyes and throat. But then I slowly pulled back on the stick and righted things. I got back into the pocket, to where I know what I'm doing and I know I'm doing it well. I got my timing back to where I wanted it. I felt lucid and honest, which is how I need to feel on stage. But the show didn't get better. It was a very strange sensation that I have NEVER experienced. Usually, bombing is sort of chicken and egg. It's a spiral. They don't like you, so you lose confidence so you start sputtering and doing badly so they don't like you so you lose confidence and down and down and down.
But this was different. Because I recovered, I pulled out of the spiral, which is something that I can do just from sheer experience. I've been there a million times. But every time I"ve pulled out of the spiral, I've been able to take the audience with me. In this case, I came out of it, felt great, and yet they still hated me. It was strange. I did the rest of the show that way and then said goodnight. I think someone clapped at the end. He might have been beaten to death...
It's always your fault. you can NEVER blame the crowd.
I don't want any pity when I bomb. To me, bombing is a pure positive. Because it's a rare experience and it's a great education. Every great show, when you kill, is pretty much like any other great show. But every time you bomb, it is completely unique. I've never bombed the same way twice. And they stay with you, the bad sets, like Lyme disease or herpes.
In Dublin, Day two, he recovers.
I did my second show here in Dublin and it was unbelievably great.
I was really worried, I gotta tell you. It's amazing how, even with 23 years experience, a single show can make me question EVERYTHING. I ran five miles today. That's how seriously I took the whole thing...
I did about 40 minutes of all new material and it was everythign I hoped this would be, in that I had a great great experience, but entirely different from what I'm used to. The audience was generous, patient and thoughtful in a distinctly Irish way, Just as the audience the night before was impatient, mean and distracted in a distinctly Irish way.
I'm glad for both sets. Actually, I learned something the first crowd. They were no geniuses, but the experience still made me look at the material I've been doing on stage and it forced me to ask myself what of any of it is bullshit. Am I doing anything that I don't really believe in, just to get laughs?
It made me really think about my set tonight. I didn't do anything particularly different. But I ran my five miles, I paced a small patch of grass while I waited for my turn on stage and I brought my very best and truest to the set. And it paid off. Maybe I've been getting lazy. Crowds that I've been playing to on tour for the last couple of years have been great. Maybe they've been carrying me a bit. I can't let that happen.
I really liked this part: "The experience still made me look at the material I've been doing on stage and it forced me to ask myself what of any of it is bullshit." It's one thing to bomb with material that you really care about or really represents you. But if you fail doing stuff you don't really care about, that's the worst. Because then the audience is kinda right for not liking it/you. If you're not into it, why should they be?
Labels: about standup
Permalink | 7/28/2008