Two Buck Yuks: Down to the wire 7:30 p.m.Written by Keith Bergman | | firstname.lastname@example.org
I’d better hurry and set up. I don’t want to annoy anyone by yelling “testing, testing” while they’re trying to order dinner. The bartender’s in a good mood tonight. No one’s here yet. I always panic when I see all the empty chairs, but I know it’s gonna be fine.
7:33 p.m.: I’d better post one more Facebook update about the show. Maybe everyone I know didn’t see the last 14 posts.
7:37 p.m.: Two people. I almost feel weird charging them admission. I tell them to “sit anywhere they’d like” as if that wasn’t obvious. They’re looking around the room. Do they look disappointed? I think they look disappointed. Oh man.
7:40 p.m.: The first three comics roll in. Apparently, “check in at 7:30” means as little to them as “doors at 7 p.m.” means to the audience. I awkwardly apologize in advance, as if no one else was coming. Because who knows?
7:44 p.m.: Bartender asks if I want a beer. Let’s not open that tab just yet. I’ve gotta focus on the show. On comedy, and doing my part to bring Downtown back, and helping my own career and the dreams of my fellow comedians. It’s a lot to handle!
7:46 p.m.: Better give me that beer.
7:48 p.m.: We’re up to five people. Two comics have texted that they’ll be late. I stand outside, nodding and waving at dinner patrons heading to their cars. One couple stops. I say “Coming to the comedy show?” helpfully. They recoil, say “Ew, no” and hustle off.
7:51 p.m.: I’m Googling community college websites. Or maybe I could mosey down the street and get a job as a doorman at the “gentlemen’s club.” Then again, my presence seems to drive paying customers away. They could hire me to stand outside their competitors.
7:54 p.m.: Two more people. Family members of one of the comics. No, he’s not here yet. Yes, he’s performing. Yes, I’m sure. Certainly, I’ll give your $4 back if he doesn’t show. You can sit anywhere.
7:56 p.m.: I guess I do need another beer. Thanks.
7:59 p.m.: Go up onstage. The mic doesn’t comically feed back like this was a bad movie, so there’s that. I tell people the show’s starting in 10 minutes. I thank them for coming. I try to make a gentle, fun joke about the small crowd without being mean or making everyone feel awkward. I don’t succeed.
8:02 p.m.: More of my comics straggle in. “What? Show starts at 8, it’s 8, I’m here. Well, close to 8.”
8:07 p.m.: I come out of the bathroom and find a dozen people waiting for me. “Are you the guy to pay cover to?” I’m glad I washed and dried my hands.
8:14 p.m.: Most of the seats are full. The lights are down and the emcee is warming up the crowd. Somehow, it’s gonna be another good show. It’s gonna make me proud of my comedian friends, thankful for solid business partners and grateful to those hardy Toledoans who come out to support such things. Even if they wait till I’m having a heart attack before they walk through the door.
Keith Bergman hosts Two Buck Yuks show at The Blarney Event Center, 601 Monroe St. in Downtown Toledo, every Wednesday at 8 p.m. Brad Wenzel headlines Nov. 6, while Mat Alano-Martin tops the bill Nov. 13.