Shitting the Bed

So, the daily blog is coming to an end. I’m truly sorry to hear it, but understand the amount of work that goes into it – hell, my once-every-seven-days column keeps me on my toes as it is. This will be my last weekly offering, though I do plan to contribute on a semi-regular basis. I do hope all of Andrew’s readers check in often and read whatever falls out of his head and onto the screen. I know I will.

A friend of mine refers to a horrible set as “shitting the bed”. As in, “I shit the bed at such-and-such venue tonight”. I love it; what a poetic yet accurate way to label death on stage. I’ve adopted it and unfortunately had to use it last week to describe a set at the Fox and Fiddle which still makes me cringe.

I’m always amazed by the comics who can shrug off these experiences like they’re no big deal. Now either they are amazingly confident or aren’t fussed about the public humiliation or lying. I suspect in many cases it’s the latter. However, I hate, hate, hate shitting the bed. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, ouch! A sage friend of mine (yes, you Jason…) said to me, if we don’t have bad sets, how will we learn? I suppose it’s true, but I think I learn every time I step foot on stage; good, bad, mediocre. All I get from a truly bad set is thicker skin. But my skin is pretty thick already, rather unpleasantly unladylike thick, really.

But to not care at all? Couldn’t do it. Though there does seem to be some sort of comics code where one’s not supposed to walk around and say to each other; “Holy crap, I sucked”. Maybe it’s so that we don’t have to acknowledge to the suck-ee that yes, I concur, you were awful. Or maybe it’s showing weakness and lack of cool. Dunno. Frankly, lack of cool is my forte, so I’m not fussed, but I do tend to keep my writhing to myself more and more. There are a few people that I can safely moan to, but beyond that I’ve learned to keep schtum.

Since we’re all friends here, I’ll share an embarrassing little quirk I have. I always mentally rate my set after I get off stage. Like I’ll think, well that was a 6 or an 8 or a 4, but last week was a big fat 1. It would’ve been a zero, but for the lovely girl who came up to me after and said “I really enjoyed your set”. I wanted to both kiss her and smack her upside the head. It was a strange moment.

The quality of my sets seems to have taken on a pattern. Peaks and valleys. I’ll shit the bed, then have a decent set, then one that’s better, ‘til I’m doing well again. Then I’ll have a “meh” set, then another, then shit the bed again. Then back up the mountain. I’m sensing that my doing well phases are a lot longer now, the so-so sets are more solid, and generally only bottom out once before pulling out of it. Does this happen to other comics? Wish I knew. And maybe I’ll break out of this cycle; perhaps only suck during eclipses or when Canada wins an Olympic gold. But until that happens, I’ll keep a spare set of sheets in my car.

P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANDREW! And thanks so much for allowing me to write on these pages. It’s been fun.

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