Our final show is upon us. I'm going to live blog the performance. It will be just like my live-blogging of the tsunami only not as funny. Here's the premise:
1. I convinced the owners of the Improv Olympic West in Hollywood to give me a private 1/2 hour show by employing my usual, "Conan or Bust is coming into town and your club needs us" approach. When asked how many people I could get, I told them 75. Then, I set about the process of getting 75 people to attend a show -- I was a little nervous since I couldn't even round up 75 people to check out the webite (I'm looking at you, Jean Lacy Harte).
2. Strategy: I placed an ad on craigslist for a free comedy show. Zero bites.
3. Strategy II: I placed an ad for actors on craigslist. I told them it was for a punk'd-style reality show. We were doing a screen test at the IO theater -- there were hidden cameras set up and we would gauge their ability to "react" to a comedy show. Me? I'm Rob Mccaul, a writer for Leno. I'm purporting to be Joe Piccirillo, a comedian trying to land a job on Conan. I even have a website, conanorbust.com, which is fake. Conan producers will be in the audience and the joke is that "Hey, I can write just as well as a conan writer." 100 actors showed up.
Here we go, live blogging:
9:35 AM: woke up. Checked CNN.com to see if we were on the homepage.
9:37 AM: fell back asleep.
12:01 PM: woke up. Followed Charlie Sheen's twitter feed.
3:15 PM: suffer brain hemorrhage after watching twenty minutes of Yo Gabba Gabba featuring a cameo by singing/dancing fat machine Jack Black.
3:45 - 3:46: practice for tonight's set.
3:47 - 4:25: make and eat a turkey and swiss sandwich.
6:15 PM: Arrive at the meeting spot I gave the actors: Knickerbocker hotel in Hollywood.
6:16 PM: discover that it's not a hotel but a retirement community. At least Torio will have somewhere to go afterwards.
6:20 PM: reunite with Torio. We caught up on his latest adventures wth his job search and diabetes.
6:25 PM: I deliver my "Rob Mccaul" speech to the actors to thunderous applause (after I locked Torio in a newspaper kiosk)
6:35 PM: Actor cornered me and is asking questions about working for Leno. He is believing everything I say even though it's clearly wrong.
7:04 PM: talking with other comics about the devastation in Japan and the aftermath of the radiation poisoning and also how no one predicted Ice T's successful foray into acting.
7:15 PM: race to set up the stage. Shouldn't have spent 10 minutes loading and watching the trailer for Hop.
7:30 PM: show begins. Torio tells me he is going to do new jokes. Improv people chant/dry hump behind us.
7:33 PM: torio does a great job with his set. Ahmed Baroocha is next.
7:40 PM: Ahmed does well. My turn.
7:50 PM: Reveal the celebrities I promised: a cardboard cutout of the cast of Mighty Ducks 3. Audience boos.
7:51 PM: Ask audience if they are booing me or the movie Might Ducks 3. Audience throws things.
8:15 PM: Successful show. Stepped on time of Improv group. Told them to imagine I didn't do that and not to negate what I said -- a classic rule of improv comedy.
10:15 PM: Reward myself with a celebratory episode of Law and Order: SVU. They put the sexy back in sex crimes.
11:02 PM: Check the site to see how many hits we have: 2.
11:03 PM: Realized that I was looking at the number of hits for the previous day. Updated the system for today's date: 0 hits.
Show is in a few hours...
We attended a taping of Conan today. Here's the breakdown: Virgins dressed as vikings/Star Wars characters and Pete and I gathered in the Warner Bros. parking lot. We were assigned a ticket number (10 and 11) and were asked to return at 3PM for the taping.
In the interim I caught up on episodes of House -- will he ever let his guard down? -- wrote a few more sketches, blog posts and suicide notes. When we arrived it looked like circus circus; people were camped out on benches and sitting Indian style on the cement floor.
By sheer chance (or perhaps Divine Intervention from a God showing leniency after exposing us to radiation in San Fran), we were the last two people allowed in the studio. There were no seats for us so we leaned up against the back wall like passing vagrants.
This was it. After three months, untold bills, successes and disappointments, we had arrived at the studio for a taping. A plan we had conceived 6 months earlier had come to fruition and instead of feeling relief or pride, I was thinking about writing more skits, about how we were going to finish the skits before I left for Boston, and about House. Will he ever let love in?
There's a pretty good movie called GATTACA with Ethan Hawe. He lives in a time where people's fates are predetermined -- he had a life expectancy of 30 years but was determined to become an astronaut despite facing discrimination from the space agency (and the world!). He takes a job with the organization as a janitor and tries to infiltrate the organization. There's a scene in which he is watching a rocket blast into space and he says, "I've never felt farther from my dream than when I was standing five feet from it."
That's about right.
Pete and I had traveled across the country -- we did the work of 20 people (and even became other people) and despite all of our efforts, we were relegated to sitting in the rafters of the show I wanted to write for. It's like watching another guy bang the girl you want to be with.
After the show wrapped, Pete and I didn't say very much. We just kept working on the project and talking about logistics. They say nature is a humbling experience and witnessing it I can say that's true -- nature must have been humbled in my presence. But this is the first time I felt humbled.
Then, I punched Torio in the face. Now he feels humbled (and pain).