It’s Tuesday evening and my first set of the Festival was performed at Bourbon Street West.
Whenever I’m in Montreal, my first stop is always at Bourbon Street West. It’s one of my favorite rooms to play. The owners, Steve and Paul, always treat me well and they have the best bacon cheddar jalapeno soup I’ve ever tasted.
These preliminary sets are important. They provide a dry run through prior to the gala television show and they give the performers a chance to become acclimated. You have to remember, this is a different city and for many of the comedians, a different country. Even the audiences can vary from venue to venue.
Tim Nutt was hosting. We haven’t worked together in almost ten years and it was great to see him again. He’s an awesome storyteller and if you get a chance to see his full show or his Comedy Now TV Special, you won’t regret it.
After some brief reminising, Tim hit the stage at 8:10 to what felt like a very tight crowd. It felt too early for comedy. The summer sun was still out and the atmosphere was more conducive to an evening barbeque than a comedy show.
There were about five comics on the show and we each had 15 minutes to play with. Al Pitcher, Reno Collier, Robert Kelly, Tim Nutt, and myself. I was on third. My set went well but when I compared it to my last set at the Cincinatti Improv, I had reason for concern.
You’re only as good as your last set. As comics, that’s what we do. We always compare the set we’re having to our last set. You have to remember that the only set the audience knows is the set they’re watching.
Two weeks ago, it felt like my set was firing on all cylinders. Five applause breaks from a set that I had edited down to 13 minutes. With 2 minutes left to shave off, I felt very confident that I’d have a very tight 11 minute set for the gala. That is, until the stage manager dropped another bombshell on me during rehersal.
I only have 6 minutes for the gala show.