(Sunday Paper, Volume III, Issue 30)
I've been talking about it for months now, and this week it finally happened:
Framingham Comedy Weekend took place Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
It was something I was really looking forward to...
...and also something I was extremely nervous about.
And it didn't happen without some last-minute complications.
So...how did it go?
Let's do a quick recap.
I guess it's important to remember that I was on vacation the week before Framingham Comedy Weekend was supposed to take place. (Did you read my A-to-Z recap of vacation? If not, you should.)
On Sunday night we spent the night in Baltimore, planning to go to the Orioles game on Monday night. But with bad weather in the forecast we decided to cut that trip short a night, stay Monday night in Queens with my parents, and be back home Tuesday.
Monday morning I found out that our Friday night venue was going to close for the summer. (Important note: No hard feelings here. It was an unfortunate circumstance and I hope everything works out for the restaurant.)
So I was a little panicked, but to be honest nowhere near as panicked as I could (should?) have been. We were able to get back to Framingham very early on Tuesday, I spent the afternoon scouting out possible replacements, and with a little help from Downtown Framingham, Inc. I was able to nail down Sofa Cafe as a replacement venue by Wednesday morning.
So maybe the weather in Baltimore was a blessing in disguise, because not only was I able to get Sofa, but in the process I came across a couple of other possible venues that couldn't be available Friday night but might be interested in something for the future.
So that was the dramatic turn of events that kept viewers interested in the late planning of the event. As for the event itself, I would say it was a success.
Thursday night at Exhibit 'A' went exactly as I hoped it would go. People were excited about Exhibit 'A', and I had a feeling we'd get a lot of people showing up the night of. We did. We packed the room and the show was everything I'd hoped it would be.
Friday at Sofa was a small crowd, but the fact that anyone came after the late venue change and the fact that we had a show at all was a win. Since it was a smaller venue anyway (but a pretty great space for the show) it didn't feel too small and the comedians were great and we had a fun time.
Those were the two shows I produced, picking the lineups and - in Friday's case - the venue. I was proud of them - I put a lot of thought into who would perform and I thought the shows turned out well. I've said this before, but I'll say it again: I've seen so many different talented comedians over the years and there are so many I'd love to put on my shows and hopefully I'll get a chance sometime to bring them all to Framingham, but I'm really glad to have started with the folks I did. Booking a show is a lot like asking someone out on a date (if I remember correctly...since I haven't done the latter in more than 18 years.) - asking someone to do my show is a lot of convincing myself they're going to say 'no' and then when they say 'yes' just waiting for them to cancel and then being relieved when they show up and everything goes off without a hitch.
And an added learning experience from Friday's show was setting up a room. Sofa had a good space and let me arrange it how I wanted and I was proud of the set-up there, based on all the different shows I'd observed over the years. I thought I transformed it into a pretty good comedy space:
Saturday's show at Amazing Things Arts Center was produced by the folks who usually put on shows there and it was really great too. I hosted all three shows and by Saturday night - the third consecutive night of hosting - I was really on top of my game.
That's another thing - I enjoy hosting. I think I do a pretty good job at it and to host three shows in a row this weekend was a pretty good experience. (There was only one time, on Friday night, that I was watching the show and having such a good time where I forgot that I needed to jump back on stage after the comedian finished because my work wasn't done.)
So that's that. Will Framingham Comedy Weekend happen again? I'm not really sure - at least whether it'll happen this way again.
What I have gathered is that there is an interest in some comedy out this way, and there are certainly venues willing to host it.
And I'm certainly willing to host those shows.
So stay tuned. I think there's more to come.
Now I can go back to being productive in other aspects of my life.
*One of the ways I gauged interest in comedy here was with some e-mail sign-up sheets at the shows, and we got quite a few e-mail addresses from people wanting to be kept in the loop about comedy shows coming to Framingham. So if you didn't make it out to a show but you want me to let you know if a show is headed this way, give me your e-mail and I'll add you to the list and keep you posted, as well as connect you on social media to some of the comedians who performed this weekend.
*I owe a big thank you to my wife, who was not only supportive of the time I put into this whole thing but came to all three shows and worked the door at two of them. And my sister-in-law, who took the kids on a little vacation for the weekend. It was weird having the house to ourselves all weekend...I told Kathy it was like when we went to a bed-and-breakfast in Maine a few years ago, except this time we stayed home and sent the kids away.
*Of course, thanks to every single one of you (many of whom probably aren't reading this but that's OK) who came out to one or more shows this weekend. I so appreciate your support.
*And thanks to Ellen and Kelsey, who were instrumental in getting this thing off the ground, everyone at Amazing Things, Exhibit 'A', and Sofa Cafe, and of course Zach Brazao, Corey Saunders, Ali Simpson, Sam Ike, Phoebe Angle, Carolyn Riley, Pete Andrews, Jere PIlapil, and Kathe Farris for all agreeing to perform on my shows.
*Hosting can be hard because some audience members don't really understand that you're part of the show. That led to the quote of the weekend, after Thursday night's show, when a guy told me, "You were just as good as some of those comedians!" "But I am a comedian," I responded.
*Back to just being a regular old comedian tonight, making an appearance at a venue I've never been to before in Hartford, Connecticut. Info at the 'Comedy Shows' link at the top of the page.