Tapping. Tapping. My feet keep tapping and I’m nervous. Nervous tapping. Repetitive. Watching the stage and the mic. Waiting. Tapping. Nervous.
“Alright ladies and gentlemen, let’s give it up for your next comedian. He’s performed all around the city. The young and talented, Cecil Austur.”
Get up there, breath, and show em what you got.
Wave. Applause die down.
“What’s going on everybody? How is everyone doing?”
Shouts and whistles. This might be a good crowd.
“My name is Cecil Austur and if you were wondering, no, even though we have the same name and that we have the same facial hair, no, I am not related to Colin Farrell.”
Ice breaker joke. Makes no sense. Gets a few giggles from the darkness of the crowd.
“No. That one doesn’t work. Alright, thanks guys.”
Sarcasm gets a better reaction. Give it a sec. You get five minutes. Keep them attracted.
“I’m not even Irish. How do I even think that works?”
A better reaction from mocking myself. Keep it up.
“I’m actually from Iceland. I was born and raised in the states but my origins are Icelandic. My parents spoke with a small accent and my grandparents *wooph* forget about it.”
Exaggerated New York accent gets a nice laugh.
“You like how I can bring the New York out whenever right. Like a cowboy. *gun pulling motion* Fastest accent in the West.”
Not too much of a response. Ignore it. Keep going.
“So I’m Icelandic and that’s where my name Austur comes from. It’s Icelandic meaning is east.”
“Like the direction.”
A few giggles from the crowd.
“There’s nothing really special about being named after a direction. Like some people have great sounding names. Names with tough or even spiritual meanings. And I get a direction.”
A louder batch of laughter. Keep it going.
“I remember when I was in high school, I had a bunch of friends all with unique and cool last names. One day, we were all sitting around and talking about how cool we were for having names that stood out so much. How often do you see the name Austur? Really though?”
The crowd is still with me.
“So, we’re all sitting around. A buddy of mine Nick Calvary says his last name means Hill of Skulls in Italian. Most of our reactions are like ‘Holy shit, that’s amazing’ then a Japanese buddy of mine this kid Raymond said his last name, Muto, is Japanese for warrior. ‘Damn dude that’s awesome’ we all sit and praise people for their cool names…then it gets to me.”
Their laughter is building with my setup. Close the deal.
“‘So Cecil, what does your name mean?’ My name. That way.”
As soon as I point, I hear a good loud laugh grow in the crowd. It doesn’t last long. Keep it going.
“My name isn’t that cool I guess.”
The laugh dies down and I need to keep them engaged.
“I’m also single. Ladies, control yourselves.”
“And I get why. Sometimes, it’s just really hard to connect with a woman. I was on a date a few weeks ago and we saw this other couple walking opposite of us down the street and she noticed the woman was slightly heavier in the mid region. So, she looked at me and said ‘Oh, she’s pregnant! That’s so beautiful.’ And I turned and looked again.”
“No, I think she’s just fat.”
This gets a great reaction.
“Well, she doesn’t like that. ‘Why would you say such a thing?’ Well why would you assume that she’s pregnant?”
Another really good reaction.
“I think it’s worse to assume a woman is pregnant without asking. ‘Well, it’s horrible to say someone is fat.’ Well, it’s worse to assume that what you think is really the beginning of life turns out to just be fat. Being pregnant makes you get bigger, but if you’re not pregnant and someone assumes you are, they are clearly calling out you being fat and assuming it’s the latter. Are any of you woman ok with this?”
Good laughter throughout my explanation. I look up and see the light. I have one joke left. I freeze. Do I give it one more or end on a good note.
What do I do? What do I do? What do I do?
The laughter has died down. Say something.
“Can you tell why I’m single?”
Another quick laugh and I decide to bail.
“Alright guys I’m done for now. Thank you very much.”
Applause for my exit. I feel good. I need to get over that fear of the light. But it was good. Better than most nights.
“How’d I do?” I ask the booker.
“You did good but you gotta work on timing a bit more and don’t worry about getting the light. I’ve seen you freeze up before and you stall too much. Either end on a high note or end sooner than you’re supposed to. You kept with it tonight though. Good job.”
This feedback will help me. I hold my chin high knowing that I was able to make the crowd laugh tonight. I don’t always hit but most comedians never do. I’ll be back here again. And I’ll keep doing it for the laughs.