Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bottoms Up! Not So Fast

Last night for the first time in my comedy career someone sent a drink up to me while I was on stage. Puzzling, since I don't give off a "Hey let's do shots during the show" kinda vibe. That’s probably because I don't drink. I'd actually prefer it if the audience didn't drink either as my material is best appreciated by the lucid and full facultied.

It probably didn't help that the act on before me had not one but two shots sent up to him while he was on stage, which he drank. On stage. Equally puzzling, but then again how many other professions allow you to literally drink on the job?

Ironically, I had just finished telling a joke about NOT being a very good drinker and why I gave it up, when a beveled glass of a strong smelling brown liquid was passed up to me from out of the darkness. A young lady, whose birthday I had acknowledged, sent the drink to say "thank you." I thanked her, put the drink down on the stool behind me and moved on with my show. Well, that was the plan.

Much to my surprise a portion of the audience began chanting, "Drink, drink, drink, drink!" Nothing like feeling the peer pressure of an alcohol-fueled mob. Thankfully I'm made of stronger stuff. I humorously, but firmly, refused and continued on with my show.

I am well aware that this is antithetical to the popular image of stand-up comedians. We're all heavy drinking, pot smokers who sleep till noon. Quiet as it’s kept, some of us do manage to pull it together before 11:30 a.m.

There are those in the business who contend that imbibing before a show makes them funnier. And it does, in the same way that alcohol makes it easier to pick up women, have difficult conversations or operate heavy machinery.

Given how alcohol interacts with my body chemistry I fear the audience would be laughing at me, not with me. Not a big deal you say? It was to Stephen King’s "Carrie." If that’s the reaction I wanted to elicit I’d quit standup and reminisce over puberty.

After the show, another audience member made it a point to come up, shake my hand, look me straight in the eye, and tell me how much she appreciated me NOT giving into the audience pressure to drink. "I'm really glad you didn't. And you handled it with such style." I was glad to hear that someone dug it. I have a sneaking suspicion that The Chanters did not.

To be completely honest, it's not that I don't drink at all. I just don't drink when I'm working. I'm a workaholic. Ergo, I don't drink. But in the end, drug of choice is relative. Had The Birthday Lady sent up a hot handbag, I’d of asked for a double.

Leighann Lord is a standup comedian. See her perform 10/2 - 11 and 10/17 on the New York Underground Comedy Festival! Check out her upcoming shows @ www.VeryFunnyLady.com. Join her on FaceBook. Follow her on Twitter.



No comments: