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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Comedy Tour: The Opener

Posted by Alex Falcone on Wed, Jun 27, 2012 at 9:59 AM

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[Editor's Note: Up-and-comer comedian/actor Alex Falcone—who you've seen perform with Action/Adventure theater, as well in the live talk show Late Night Action w/ Alex Falcone—will be furnishing semi-regular updates from the road to give us an inside peek at the real life of a struggling comic. Want more Alex? Check out his website and his podcast Read It and Weep—a funny show about bad books, movies, and TV.]

THE BEST LITTLE BEE

Thursday, June 21st - Portland, OR

I'm back in Portland opening at Helium. Not featuring as I have been for the last three weeks… opening. It turns out the amount of time it takes to get used to being treated like a feature is three weeks, give or take.

I don't like to be a prima donna, but being an opener is kinda rough and nobody cares about you. After the show last night, only four audience members spoke to me, and all four times it was "Can you take a picture of me with the comedians?" I could have stolen the camera and they would have said "Hey, some guy just took my camera."

"Did you get a good look at him?"

"Nope."

Opening the show is also much harder than featuring. I'm going up with a cold audience that is here to see the famous guy from TV, not me. People are still getting settled in so there's lots of talking and order taking. And then I've got 10 minutes to quiet them down, warm up their laugh boxes, try to convey something important and amusing about myself, and make the night's announcements. It's not nearly as much fun as featuring.

My fiancee pointed out that most people gave up on the idea of every workday being fun when they were 16. Touchee. So maybe I'm a prima donna.

Friday, June 22nd - Portland, OR

The weekend got better. A handful of people actually talked to me after the shows and seemed to remember that I was a comedian. And I found out there's something more awkward than being ignored.

The feature disappeared as soon as he got off stage. Since he was missing, the merch guy was the third gentleman standing by the door and he was frequently mistaken for the feature. Of note: they have almost no physical similarities. One is tall and skinny, the other short and built. One wore a hat and could see well, the other was bald and had glasses. Oh, but they were both black.

Come on, Portland. I know you're proud of yourselves for not seeing color, but apparently you're also identifying characteristic-blind. God help anybody in a police line-up in this city.

Saturday, June 23rd - Portland, OR

I'm trying to put myself in a more positive state of mind by remembering a children's book I once read. This kid really wants to be the lead (The Sun) in a school play, but he gets passed over. He gets passed over for all the other good parts too and is assigned to be a lowly worker bee. He's unhappy, but works really hard to be the best bee he can be. On the day of the show, everything goes horribly wrong. It's been awhile since I've read it, so I'm paraphrasing here, but the trees forget all their lines. The sun shows up drunk out of her mind, and the flowers get in a fight over who's taller and one stabs the other to death. It's not a good opening night.

But through all this chaos one little worker bee marches out confidently, delivers his line, and then exits. He's stolen the show. Afterwards the sun asks for his phone number.

The point is to be the best little bee I can be and good things will happen. The club knows it's hard to open, so if I nail it, I look great. If I impress the headliner, he might hire me to feature for him and then people can confuse me with the merch guy. And if I play my cards right, I can hump the sun.

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