Saturday, October 08, 2005

Reminiscing: Getting Older in Showbiz

There was a time when I could perform up to four shows a day. Four shows. That may not seem like a lot, but I'm not talking close-up venues; I'm talking the full-blown, music filled, comedy riddled, minimum 1 hour to prepare, 45-minute stand-up shows. No illusions (never illusions), but some fairly big props and equipment that fill my gas-guzzling, anti-Sierra Club SUV.

I can't do four shows anymore. I can't even do three. It's not because I don't want to do more than two per day anymore (well, that's part of it), it's more due to the stress and anxiety involved in traveling, setting up the venue, and prepping each show beforehand. Thus, that stress and anxiety runs through me before each show, and it begins that very morning and lasts just before the beginning of my final show. Once I'm on stage, I'm fine and the world's mine; it's waiting for it and prepping for it that takes a toll on me. My shows involve setting up both at home and at the venue. Plus, I always show up early to each show (I've only been late to two show in my entire 17-year career, and they were due to more than one performance being scheduled that day), because it's been my experience that it is always better to show up early in case the client wishes to add more time, start earlier, or I may need to prepare for unforeseen events, etc. When I work for each client, I want them to know that I am committed to them, if even for a little extra time for which they originally contracted. I don't believe it sets a bad precedent; these people pay good money, and they should receive the best possible show in the time allotted in the most professional manner possible. I want them to know that they are the most important thing in my life at that time. May sound corny to you, but that's my firm belief, and I'm sticking with it!

I no longer have the time, patience, the physical and mental capacity, or the convenience for more than two shows per day, except for the ships where there is no room for exception. (If I'm asked to do a third show, it's usually the midnight adult show, in which case I have plenty of time to jog around the ship and throw up over the anchor to get rid of some anxiety.) The most I'll accept now is two shows, especially during this, one of the busiest times of the year. I've still got more company Christmas and New Year's parties to perform, and I'm really feeling it. So many shows, in fact, that I didn't even have time to enjoy the holidays. Hell, I just now realized that 2004 is over, as I looked at my schedule and performance agreements for the coming month and the ones set are for 2005! When you are in the thick of it, it becomes harder to step away from the excitement and enjoy it for yourself, especially with a packed schedule.

I'm not complaining, just sputtering what I feel at the moment; I know that I have a good life, that there are some people who dig my act and that means a lot to me. I'm just not a very in-the-moment person, and I know I need to learn how to enjoy the moment more. Someone close to me reminds me to make the most of every day, and I know she is right, it's just incredibly difficult to recognize the beauty of the moment while IN the moment. I figure that's why so many of us reminisce about the good ol' days, because in retrospect and hindsight, we can appreciate them only when it's too late.

Reminds me of that ol' Eddie Money song, "I Wanna Go Back."



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