(Sunday Paper, Volume III, Issue 7)
I was shopping with the girls back in November when I got the e-mail on my phone - I was selected to perform in the North Carolina Comedy Festival.
As you might expect, it's thrilling to get an e-mail like that.
I texted back and forth with Kathy: how would she feel about me going away during some of February break?
Then it evolved into most of February break as I worked in a trip to South Carolina as well.
All of it seemed so far away then.
And now it's here.
First of all, let's make sure we're clear on this: you read that title in a James Taylor-y way, right? If you didn't go back and do that now. I'll wait.
OK. Good. Let's move on.
I've become a lot more selective with comedy festival applications lately. First of all, they usually cost money, and like with my writing, the "no"s come a lot more often than the "yes"es. So to lessen the impact on my ego and my wallet I take reasonable shots.
North Carolina was appealing to me because I could visit Kevin and maybe get my friends to come down to see some comedy and do a fantasy baseball draft. (The visit to Kevin is happening, and as of this writing the fantasy baseball draft may or may not happen, but online - not in person...and I will not be prepared if it does take place this week.)
So I sent my video, tried not to think about it every minute of every day, eventually forgot about it, and then - very unexpectedly - got the acceptance.
This will be my second festival - you may remember back in November of 2016 I was in the Cleveland Comedy Festival.
They're different: Cleveland pretty much revolves around a comedy contest...and maybe that's not how I should think of it, but that's how I did think of it and I built everything about Cleveland up around my contest performance. I'll let you read about what I expected going into Cleveland and my reflection afterwards - no need to get into it again.
But this festival is pretty much just a celebration of comedy. It's a bunch of performances spread out across a handful of venues over the course of the week. It should be a good time, and it will be good for me to perform in front of a southern audience and see how my material plays in a different region of the country. There's no contest, there are a few nationally touring headliners - it's the real deal.
It's also the first of its kind. There was a festival in the area, I've come to understand, that is no longer running, and the woman who put this together stepped up and pretty much single-handedly created the festival and booked the shows, including sketch and improv in addition to stand-up, and filled that void. So it's neat to be a part of the inaugural North Carolina Comedy Festival.
And that's the thing about these comedy festivals, and something that Cleveland and North Carolina have in common: I'm a part of it. I am not very well-connected in the North Carolina comedy world. (Which maybe implies I am well-connected in the Boston comedy world...and is also not the case. But I'm working on it. It is something that, like with my material, I work on and try to improve each time I go out.) But NO ONE in North Carolina (or in Cleveland back then) knows me. They just looked at video of me performing and said we want him to come perform for us. It feels good to know my comedy had that kind of impact on someone.
So the goal this time out is different from my first festival experience: I still want to have good sets, but it's not for a competition reward. It's just to help do my part to make this festival successful. Hopefully I'll meet a bunch of people and make some connections with comedians from around the country. And, as I mentioned, I want to get a feel for whether my material works in different regions. I suspect it's pretty region-neutral, but we'll find out.
If you're down that way and interested in checking out a show, visit the North Carolina Comedy Festival's website.
I'm in shows Wednesday and Friday at 10:30pm, and I'll be hopefully hanging around all the other shows in Greensboro in between.
Maybe I'll see you there?
*We'll break format this week and jump straight to the notes. One thing I just remembered about Cleveland that I hope is different this time around is I returned from that festival and became insanely sick for about a week. With all the sickness floating around this time of year hopefully that will not be the case here.
*This week was not a good comedy week. I had a rough open mic set Monday and some not-so-great interactions with people...but then my week was salvaged on Thursday. I just went to a show in Arlington to hang out and check it out but someone dropped out of the show and I ended up getting to perform and it went great and was exactly the confidence-booster I needed headed into the festival. The show is once-a-month at Artlounge in Arlington and it's a really great space and it's a good show run by the talented Laura Burns, who you may remember from a "What I've Been Enjoying" a month ago. I could not encourage you to support her and her show more. The comedy went well but the being around nice people was also refreshing.
*Snow update: Not counting the huge piles of snow from plows in big parking lots, there are still traces of snow in shady spots in various neighborhoods. We have one such spot, and with another snowfall that was supposed to happen overnight (and, fingers crossed, had no effect on my flight or transport to the airport) we have not yet fully eliminated all snow...but we're close. With some warm days in the forecast I'm not sure anymore that we'll still have snow on the ground in April. Which I would not have expected at all based on the late December/early January snowfall.
*Yup. Still doing snow-on-the-ground updates.
*I have yet to watch the Olympics. That's crazy. Usually I really enjoy the Winter Games. I think I actually enjoy winter more than summer. I'm sure I'll put it on in the hotel this week and just keep it on but I can't believe I haven't reworked my schedule to revolve around the hockey or the curling or anything. Which I guess is a good thing because it means I'm busy. BUT last week I told you it is a good bridge to get us closer to baseball season, not even remembering how early baseball starts this season. March 29th!! That's so close!
*I'll give you a recap of my time in the Carolinas in next week's Sunday Paper. Here's a quick rundown - Columbia, South Carolina first, where I'll get to watch Kevin teach and see the University of South Carolina before heading up to Greensboro for the festival. (And I shouldn't overlook the fact that loyal reader Danielle will also be hosting me in South Carolina and I am grateful for that.) No huge plans outside of comedy in Greensboro (though I will be working my regular hours Wednesday through Friday, so it's not all fun and games down there), but I'll report on it all next week. And I imagine I'll be posting on social media all week...so remember to "Like" the Facebook page and follow me on Twitter for that. And I'll be throwing together an Instagram Story or too - don't know where to link but you can just find me on Instagram as jsucich. See you next week!