(The Swanky Seattle Trip, part 2)
At this rate, I'll still be writing about the Seattle Sketchfest when next year's festival rolls around.
Whatever. What I lack in punctuality, I make up for in... punctuation?
We woke up on Friday groggy and tired from the night before, but fuck it! We were in Seattle! We all dragged our asses downstairs to get some breakfast.
Best joke Omar got off at the fest: There was lots of joking around about who was sharing beds with who and ultimately I ended up bunking with Mical. We're both moderately compact guys and the beds were big, so no big whoop.
In that situation though, with a bunch of comedians, you either get uncomfortable and silent about it or you joke it to death. We joked it to death, preferring to make light of any HoYay before it could be spoken by anyone else.
John, who was staying next door in the girls' room, wears an eyepatch in his role as a matriarch in our soap opera skit, "Amor Imposible."
Friday morning, as Mical, Joaquin and I were just waking up, the first thing I said upon reaching consciousness was, "Mical. Did you get that eyepatch from John last night?"
"No, I didn't. Why?"
"Because last night, I turned you into a butt pirate!"
Oh, hush. Give me some credit. I just woke up.
We went downstairs and the group split off into the Nice Breakfast at the Hotel contingent and the McDonald's contingent. This was fucked up because everybody was going to go to the nice place, but by the time we got to McDonald's (there were folks bitching about $$$ they'd be forking over for the privilege of forking over some scrambled eggs at the hotel), folks had gone back, leaving those of us who'd been craving the hotel food holding the Egg McMuffins. Whatever. I got to have some boiling hot coffee (Seattle's Best!) and that was all I cared about anyway.
The rest of the day, we spent preparing for our gig that night. We were serious. As Adrian has bluntly put it time and time again, he didn't want us to look back on this trip and see it as a missed opportunity.
We sent a group to run to a Wal-Mart and pick up props we felt we couldn't take on the plane with us (toy guns, for instance, that we would later paint black) and picket signs for our "Viva Bush!" sketch.
The rest of us wandered, or hung out in someone's room watching reruns of Saturday Night Live on Comedy Central. That was a great moment. I don't think I've ever watched SNL with this group and there were were, picking it apart, discussing why stuff was funny, talking up stuff that we'd read in the books about the show that are out there.
('Fore I forget: my review of Live from New York was printed yesterday and can be found here.)
We found a meeting space downstairs where we could rehearse: the backroom of a bar.
If you're in a sketch troupe and you want to be successful, just know that one day you're going to end up having a last-minute run-through in a wooden room behind a hotel bar.
The run through went well, better than any of us had expected given that we were jet lagged, tired from the night before and in an entirely new and unfamiliar space without our sound cues, lighting, props or costumes.
So we go, this time getting a ride from Martin, who was along on the trip that was coinciding with some vacation time he was taking.
We hung out in the green room. Sound from the theater was pumped into the room; we listened to the troupe before us kick off the festival.
We got into costume, drank our coffee, went outside and did warmups. Then, as were as pumped as we were going to get, we went on stage. We had 20 minutes to set up, so we put our props, costumes and voice-over scripts where we needed them to be.
The show started. We heard them say, "All the way from Austin, Texas, the LATINO COMEDY PROJECT!"
And things started to fall apart a little. There were lots of problems. Sound cues and light cues, I think. A video that started really late (compounded by the time it took the very slow screen to come down). A keyboard that was vital to the show wasn't playing through the sound system. We figured it out halfway through the show, but some of the sound cues from the keyboard had already been missed.
Adrian, who is a perfectionist, was livid. You could see him running his hand down his face, or just wincing every time something happened.
But here's the thing. We were great. We didn't let it affect the show to any real degree and when it was over, it seemed the audience only noticed one or two of the flubs.
Still, we noticed them, and it was tough not to let it throw off the performances as we were scrambling backstage to fix things.
We did "Greasers," our big closer, and it got a riotous response. We took our bows and the fairly large audience gave us a great reception.
We were thrilled. A little frustrated, but I think we were all happy that things didn't derail as they could have.
I met up with some folks who'd e-mailed me and said they were coming, but we stuck around for the next set, a singing sketch group called The Cupid Players. They were funny and brilliant and, unlike us, they could actually sing. Like really sing. Not the fakey, "It's intentionally bad" singing we usually do. Their song, "Strip Solitaire" was a standout.
Afterward, Monty, Chiara, Jacyn and others took me out to eat at a bar and grill down the street from the theater. These were folks that had e-mailed me ahead of the trip and were kind enough to tell their friends about the show and come out and do it up, Latino style. They told me a lot about the area, then we got to talking about online journals, Smallville and lots of other stuff. It was nice to have some time away from the sketch group to just do my own thing for a little bit and get a different group going. When they started talking about Clark, Lex, online gossip and forums, I knew I was with my peeps.
This bar and grill we went to: I had all of my props and costumes with me, so here I am walking in with a big plastic sword and three changes of clothing.
The menu was also comprised of every kind of food known to man. There were exotic soups, quesadillas, burgers, fried food, egg rolls. It's like the chef said, "You know what? Fuck all of you guys. I'm going to put everything on the menu, that way you'll never have to go to another restaurant again."
I made it back to the theater and from there it was more drinking, this time at a place called Elysian. We did some schmoozing with all the other troupes. Folks from LCP who'd stayed behind to see more sketch troupes that night (everybody was performing twice, so I figured anything I missed, I'd just catch up on the next day) and everybody was raving about Totally False People. I didn't see their set yet, but I was still impressed with how nice (and yes, not unattractive) they were. David from their troupe especially talked a lot to us and we shared stories and secrets on how particular skits were put together. When I was hearing things like "goth baby," "Michael McDonald sketch" and "the skit where the guy gets a tracheotomy while he's sleeping," I knew I had to catch them the next day.
More drinking, more photos, and reluctantly, we headed back to the hotel. On the way back, we were all piled into a car together. Yes, we were truly bonding now.
Next time: Amusement parking, the second show and real-life pimps 'n ho's!
Hey, look at this! Stuff to buy! Haaawwwt-Damn!
Where a lot of Abe Lincoln porn is set.