It’s funny, but I had a sudden and fleeting feeling the other day that I was the “Captain” of my life. Everyone really is, but few feel it strongly, I suspect. There are probably lots of people like me who feel (justifiably) that many aspects of life are beyond their control, and this makes them anxious.
Speaking of anxiety, some of you know that I’m taking a 6-week stand-up comedy course at Caroline’s School of Comedy in NYC. All students in the class (about 20) get to perform on 3/27 (Sunday) at Caroline’s on Broadway (1626 Broadway, between 49th/50th street), and family and friends (but NO KIDS) are invited. We are split into two groups of roughly ten each, with a show at 2pm (I am in that group), and the rest performing at 4:30. The club charges $12 for a ticket that is designated for one of the two shows. (If you are planning to journey in for this wondrous event, please call 212-757-4100 to reserve a ticket: specify the 2 pm show and say you’re coming to see me –and thank you!! To be honest with you, I’m not sure yet if they extract payment on the phone or at the door, but our teacher recommended people call in to reserve tickets.)
The class has been a phenomenal, and, I’ll be honest with you, at times a very nerve-wracking experience so far. It promises to get even more interesting (and nerve-wracking), I think. It’s a diverse group of students, and the teacher, Linda Smith, is really good – not only is she a veteran stand-up (who used to open for Robert Schimmel), but she can teach.
(“Teacher Tangent”: My mother, a piano and voice teacher and performer (consummate on all fronts), likes to mock this George Bernard Shaw quote which slams teachers: “Those who can, do. Those who cannot, teach.” My mother adds: “Those who can teach, teach.”)
Classes basically consist of students presenting their material to the group, up at the mic, followed by a constructive critique from the teacher. If there is time (and there usually is, until we start running long), Linda will open it up to the class for feedback. You’d be surprised how two and a half hours can fly right by going through this process!
I feel the need to state that I have no intention of going after a career in stand-up comedy. I’m hoping this process will lead me in other directions, such as voice-over. A number of folks in the class appear to be aiming at becoming working stand-ups; others have careers that they feel can be enhanced by the course, because they either do public speaking and/or just interact with lots of people all the time. Caroline’s CLASSES are held in rehearsal studios on 7th Avenue (betw 54/55th). If you or someone you know might be interested in taking a class, check this: http://www.carolinescomedyschool.com/
The actual Caroline’s CLUB is on Broadway (https://www.carolines.com/), and I went there for the first time two Saturdays ago with my friend Helga to see Louis CK’s 10pm set. He was virtuosic. I have been a fan of his for years, and am happy to see him doing so well. He seems like a mensch!
I was naively hoping to get an autograph after his show, but he understandably disappeared….I think he had a third set that night at midnight. (Talk about workin’ hard.) If I’d been able to corner him for an autograph, I would have asked him to sign a photo of a cat named Lucky, sniffing a bag of knobs.
“Do you want a knob?” My friend Lauren recently asked me, completely seriously, as she tossed the aforementioned bag of knobs at me from across her kitchen table. I cackled for awhile, then “turned down” the knob offer, and explained to her why all this seemed so funny to me. You see, I had tickets for Louis CK’s upcoming show, and all this was reminding me of his hilarious “suck a bag of dicks” routine. When I went to snap a pic of the knob-bag, Lauren’s cat Lucky was suddenly there, sniffing it.
BTW, if you look very closely, you can see that the knobs have little flowers on them. That’s how you know they’ve never been used.
On my long trek each way to comedy class (about an hour in the car, and two hours on the train, each way), I sometimes wonder what I’m doing, but then I remember the whole “Captain” thing. What that does for me, I’m not quite sure; it just feels like I’m doing the thing I should be doing right now. It’s nerve-wracking, for sure, but I’m doing a lot of laughing along the way, and that cannot be a bad thing.