…And Sometimes They Write Letters (The fallout of a hell gig).

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Sometimes in comedy you do a show and you expect the client to give you rave reviews and to write the agency about how talented you are.  Sometimes they do and sometimes they do not.  Writing a few words can be quite laborious for some of us.  Sometimes you do a gig and you hope nobody remembers anything thirty seconds after you leave.  If it is bad they are more apt to write because everybody wants some money back.  On those occasions you just wait for the fall out.
Here is the client’s side and my side.  In the client’s letter on occasion I will write commentary in italics.  Anyway, enjoy my pain.
From the agency a few days after the show:
How did you think the show went Saturday? Below is what client typed to us this morning. Don’t call, I’m not in the office. Just wanted your feedback.”
The agencies rarely ask you how you think it went if the client is happy.  This is the most common opening line in a day that is about to deteriorate quickly.  He says don’t call because he knows I am going to defend myself and he will be tied up on the line for longer than he cares to be.  Dealing with a frustrated comedian is not the most profitable way for an agency to manage their time. 
Below is the letter from the client:
I just needed to share with you , how truly disappointed I was with the choice of Talent you sent

Davin showed up on time , the DJ introduced him
he had about 60 people’s attention (if by attention she means I got a glancing look from a few people then sure)
another 20 at the back bar and 10 on line to go into a separate room for the tarot card reader
no differnet than if he was in a comedy club
quite similar to the set up (So in the client’s world comedy clubs are set up with 20 people standing in the back by the bar ordering drinks and talking, 10 people waiting online to have their fortunes read, a room that is shaped like the capital letter I meaning their were large portions of the room that I could not see or could not see me, and most of the clientele standing as opposed to sitting, plus no stage, and poor lighting.  Yep sounds like your average night at your local Giggity Giggity Hut).

Davin had absolutely no control and no routine and absolutely no clue on how to make the audience want to listen to him. (This is very true.  When you have people telling you to talk louder and you are shouting and the DJ is running his system off of a lap top instead of an amplifier then it can be a bit tough to command a distracted room.  Plus people shouting out relatives names and grabbing the mic then yes it is clearly my fault the crowd could not be controlled.  Next time I will come to the gig with billy clubs & tear gas.  Occupy Hell Gig!)


He resorted by asking and saying to my boyfriend in front of his 14 yr old daughter , if all he wanted was for me to give him a blow job.  (I don’t recall the blowjob comment.  I am sure he would have loved a blow job.  I was told there were no kids at the event.  She did not look 14.  It is not as if I asked her to give somebody a blow job.  Please I’m a professional).
He picked on my sons friend , ( the only black kid in the place) (She told me I could talk to the audience.  She never said we are suffering from white guilt and please just ignore the black guy.  She stopped me mid show from talking to him.  Equal rights lady…I’m a dick to everybody! By the way he was fine with me talking to him.  He was not a delicate black orchid…see what I did there?) Now listen I am a perfomer and I understand
he was scrambling.  (The famous I am a performer line.  Once in awhile they get how hard stand up comedy is but often they don’t.  I am sure she is some type of community theater actress.  Even if she is doing commercials who cares.  Try doing a Wisk detergent commercial in the middle of a party with inferior equipment and the roar of Italians fueled with booze.  There’s no cut take two lady.  Nobody to share the stage with.  We work alone and you have no idea what type of hell this situation is for a comedian.  I took the gig so fine but please do not think for one moment you have any idea how a comic can master this train wreck.) He could not figure out what to do. But that is completely unprofessional , he lasted all of 20 mins
a painful 20 mins. (Sounds like a description of a bad sexual experience.  Not true what she said but I cover that below) I saved him from complete ,and utter disaster, by getting him off the stage.(If by stage you mean poorly lit dance floor then sure lady you are a saint).
But I paid him and your agency and the quality of performer was less than a 2 rating!! (Apparently this was a complete and utter disaster.  Only way it could have been worse is if I asked the 14 year old girl to blow the one black guy.  At least I didn’t do that!!! I think).

and AGAIN not becasue he was a poor comic with bad jokes
but becasue he had absolutely no skills what so ever to handle or work a crowd
a crowd that was at a party waiting and happy to be entertained (See lady that’s just it your crowd was not ready for a stand up comedy routine.  Anytime you have to say crowd control and comedian it is not the proper situation.  Now if you are going to release a terrible movie about Muslims on YouTube then I would say crowd control is a reasonable expectation.).
truly a waste of my money

utterly disappointed (Me too!)
Carmela

Below is the letter I wrote to the agency:
Show was a disaster (worst gig of 2012) but here is how it went. The room was shaped like the capital letter I, meaning their were parts of the room I could not see and could not see me. She told me to pick on them and that they would like it if I wanted. I never had 60 people paying attention. When she spoke she never had 60 people people paying attention. She told me before the show that if I wanted to talk to the crowd I could. After the material was not working I went to that crowd work mode. Not picking but talking. I started talking to the black guy and she told me not to talk to him in the middle of it. After she told me to talk to people. The girl did not look 14 (she was texting by the way during the show). When she told me she was 14 I said I don’t think I can even be in the same room as you. BTW, I was told no kids so not my fault for being caught off guard and talking to a minor. I assumed she was at least 17 if not 18. BTW…you have not lived until you have had a 14 year old tell you, you are not funny. Right up there with having a 6 year old boo me at a camp show I did years ago for the Stress Factory.
People were at the bar across the room from me talking and ordering drinks. People were online for tarot reading. They introduced me and it never quieted down and the vast majority of people never sat down. At no point did I ever have even half the people in the room seated for comedy. Not when I was announced. Not during my set. Comedy does not work if people are not focused on the comic. She kept telling me to tell the audience to shut the fuck up. I told her repeatedly that I can’t do that to her guests but she is more than welcome to and she did. But they never did “shut the fuck up.” The real problem was the sound. The DJ had big speakers but no amplifier. People kept on telling me to speak louder but I was as loud as I could be (pretty much shouting) but their sound had no more to give. On top of that I do not think he had any equalizers because when people were talking on the mic (not just me but everybody) it sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher. This is what I heard AND what her guests told me. Those who heard it liked and laughed but there was no way to control the room.
Add in the fact that her and her family kept on taking the mic (sometimes to help, sometimes not) and it was chaos. Also, they kept on screaming Joey Mayo who was her nephew I think. By the time it quieted down (which it never really did) I had no chance. She asked me to do 35 minutes because the restaurant was running late with the food and they had a slide show. I stopped at 30 minutes so it was 5 minutes less then she asked and yes they did just tell me to wrap it up,
I had no chance. If you give me bad sound (which is worse then no sound), huge blind spots for me and the audience, change the rules mid game, not have a seated audience, and tell me one thing about age and then switch it mid stream when they look of age what shot do I have? She said I could not handle or work a crowd. Actually I am one of the best at it as you know BUT it is never the comedians job to control a crowd. It is the crowd’s duty to be well behaved. It is the comedians duty to tell the prepared material. When the comedian can’t tell the prepared material things can go off course. It is the crowd’s job to allow the comedian to do his job.
Was it brutal. Absolutely. I almost texted you mid show I was so disgusted with this. But there were plenty of people there who made a point of walking up to me and telling me I had no chance and what they heard was funny. I stand by my record & honesty with your agency. I have pulled out way too many impossible gigs for your agency and you know that. Sometimes the situation is just too much to overcome even for the best of us. I don’t know anybody who could have made that work.
You & I have different tactics when we discuss these events with clients or potential clients before we book a gig. I know your philosophy is even if it goes great we are never going to see them again. I understand that. Well sometimes this leads to a no win situation for the comic.
The agency said it was cool and even took some of the blame and absolved me from the disaster.  That being said, no agency wants to get a bad report no matter how many good ones they have gotten.
No real point to this blog.  I just thought it would be a change from all the comics who blow themselves on Facebook with the great shows and great audiences they performed in front of.  Those stories are no fun to read.  Give me a hell gig story and I’ll show you 20 comedians laughing their asses off and that is not an easy feat.  Now excuse me, I have to wait online for the fortune teller to find out how this week’s shows will go.  Fortunately, every comedy club employs them. 

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