Ok, now over two weeks without snus and hopefully the worst is behind me. I went through nearly a week solid of depression; last Monday, as I wrote the last blog entry, I was in the middle of it, which slightly explains the whining. When I’m at my worst, I like to imagine what I would say to someone who really pissed me off, and how they would respond. And how I’d respond to that. And how they’d respond to that. And on and on until, twenty minutes later, I’m furious about an imaginary conversation that will likely never take place. I love my brain sometimes.

By last Thursday, I felt lighter than I had in a week, and since I had a shift at On Air anyway, I asked for a spot at Big Ben after. Man, I’ve been to Big Ben more this year than the past two or three years combined. As I don’t like going to Big Ben unless I’ve got new things to work out, the fact that I’ve been there so often the past several weeks really says something.

I’ve got 99 problems and being a snob is one of them. I’m really trying to lighten up but I can’t help myself and I think I’m getting worse, or maybe it’s just because I’m not used to hanging in the open mics as often as I used to. Sometimes, I’ll see a rookie onstage and my chest hurts. I wish I could be laid back enough to just be happy for anyone who wants to use their time to do whatever they want instead of judging comics who have just said the exact same joke the exact same way for the thousandth time or the new guy spending over a third of his set on anal sex or literally dozens of other reasons.

Then again, maybe it’s withdrawal that makes me less patient. I did bark at two other comics who decided to have a long and not particularly quiet conversation during someone else’s set. Fortunately, they both thought I was kidding and also stopped talking so much, so win-win.

My main goal was to try a new approach on a new bit. I mentioned in the last entry that I have a new bit about race that I really like but, unfortunately, it didn’t go the way I’d hoped the first few times. Long story short, it starts off about Black actors cast in traditionally white roles in TV and movies. My first crack at it, I complained about Rocky being replaced by Creed and it did okay, but the crowd wasn’t very comfortable with a middle-aged white man talking about race.

I tried a new approach last Thursday, this time directly attacking white people who are upset about “Blackwashing.” Just one problem- I didn’t like this version as much as the original and I think it showed. This time, the crowd was just as uncomfortable at the start, but I didn’t get them back at the end like I did the first try.

Mind you, I tried one approach twice and another once. This isn’t nearly often enough to demonstrate the worthiness of either, but I hope I’ve been in standup long enough to trust my instincts. If we don’t enjoy our material, if we don’t believe in it, the crowd can tell. Not only that, we have to believe in it enough to really sell it, to go the extra mile to prove to everyone that it’s funny.

Based on these experiences, I have a third approach to test this Thursday at Big Ben, if I can. In theory, I like this approach even more than the first version, and that should help. Or maybe it won’t and I’ll just have to accept that I’m not talented enough to overcome my whiteness when joking about race.

Anyway, last Thursday’s set was thoroughly average, which didn’t help my grumpy mood. (It was also in the aftermath that I barked at the Chatty Cathys sitting near me.) I felt like going home, but at another club several days before, there was a visiting comic from LA and I didn’t stay for her set. She was also at Big Ben that night, so I decided to stay and watch.

She started with, “The Swedish word for kiss is ‘puss’ and for pee is ‘kiss’?! What a country!” and I could not leave Big Ben fast enough. Snob, as I said.