Sunday, June 15, 2008

Stand and Deliver: An Evening at The Cleveland Improv (Or ...How McFella Got His Groove Back)

So, yes, I realize I have been neglecting my blog for the last few weeks to be sure. But there is a reason for that: I've been in training. And now I'm back from Dagobah after a fun, intense, few weeks of studying with "the Master Yoda of comedy."

Regardless, I'm back in Gotham City now to turn my training into action. So, you see, I should probably explain that when I mentioned before that I was going "back to the drawing board" - that (once again) I meant an entirely brand new drawing board.

"Do or do not. There is no try."

So, yes, we did manage to "move the island" a sense. And now that "island" is securely located (complete with a solitary microphone) in the center square The Cleveland Improv (as part of an entire graduating class of comedians). "Gotta support the team!"

I have always (for the most part) been a "sort of" writer. But, for many years, I have wanted to attempt stand-up comedy. And, until now, I have been putting off the process of actually doing it. Sad to say, but I just wasn't ready before this point in the time and space continuum (mostly out of fear, I guess).

Regardless, I am not making any "grand declarations" here by any stretch of the imagination. Stand-up comedy is a tough business and it takes years of practice to perfect (as most established comedians will be glad to inform you ...and you are correct, sir). It's a spectacular skill that cannot be mastered in a few weeks, no doubt.

It may have taken "Ricky Roma" chasing me around the offices of "Consolidated Resorts and Properties" with a set of 3rd place steak knives. But, hey, like my "good friend" Tanya Roberts: I'll be there!

Nonetheless, I am going to attempt to translate my scattered words into something cohesive now. But, ultimately, I'll let the audience be the judge in the end. And, hopefully, I don't end up like Kenny Bania just because I think "anything that dissolves in milk is funny."

Jerry Seinfeld: "Why do they call it Ovaltine? The mug is round. The jar is round. They should call it Roundtine!"

Kenny Bania: "That's gold, Jerry! Gold!"

But like my professor in Communications back at Cleveland State always used to tell me: "Johnny Carson was terrified of going up on stage - he hated it. But, ultimately, he did it ...because he loved the world of comedy. And he wanted to be a part of it."

Well, obviously, I'm no Johnny Carson. Not even close, believe me. And my influences growing up were David Letterman and Steve Martin: I idolized those guys! But spending a scary amount of time lately studying some local comics in the Cleveland area, I realize that I have my work cut out for me to even come close to THAT (if I choose to pursue this on the next level ...and time will tell, I guess).

So, check out the local comedy scene in Cleveland to see what I'm talking about. You will not be disappointed!

In the meantime, I will be performing on Tuesday night (June 17th, 7:30 p.m.) at The legendary Cleveland Improv with a lot of other great guys and gals for our graduation show with Dave Schwensen. Tickets are $5.00, or mention my name at the ticket window for big, big savings. It should be a lot of fun!

Hecklers, drunkards throwing tomatoes, and serial killers are all welcome! Hey, we need to put asses in the seats, okay?

I look forward to seeing you there.

Marc Jaffe (who won an Emmy Award for his writing on "Seinfeld") will be hosting our event. I never got a chance to meet Marc Jaffe (unfortunately) when I was working with him at The Free Times.

But ...I guess my favorite quote from the show Lost: "The universe has a way of course-correcting."

And, sometimes, it just needs a little ...PUSH.

And then I am on vacation: Follow the map from Indiana Jones to Bowling Green (the "mecca" of Pop Culture) to South Bend, Indiana (the Notre Dame "mecca" of drunken Catholic Irish men) to Chicago (The Second City of comedy) destinations unknown.

So, it seems, I (sort of) have come a long way from putting on foul-mouthed puppet shows with our stuffed Muppets in the basement of my best friend growing up in Ohio. So much more to do!

"Goodnight, Mrs. B. ...wherever you are."


At 6:58 AM, Blogger gsmrdel said...

I've seen (and heard) Chris's stuff in class. He's going to do great. See you Tuesday...on-stage...

At 6:04 PM, Anonymous your OLD friend jeff said...

hey, comma. um, can I still call you comma or is it Mr. Comma now? sorry to disturb the genius at work. just wanted to let you know that i'll be there with frank, and maybe cheryl, o'neill, and possibly Ben and Jen, and a few others. NO PRESSURE. we'll bring the people, YOU BRING THE FUNNY. Again, no pressure.

At 8:23 PM, Anonymous i'm driiving the partridge family bus! said...

sweetie, you did great!

i may be biased but i think you did really well and should continue down this path, despite the cherry bombs we all consumed.

very witty to say the least, at least from your #1 groupie gal..go for it, babe!

At 11:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

R.I.P. George Carlin (1937-2008)

"One goes into the light, and one comes out of the dark."

At 7:46 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Outstanding news, Chris. Between this and your new-found gym rat ways, you'll be on your way. Dave seems like the perfect teacher. I found his Beatles book fascinating, and when I mentioned it on my blog, he quickly commented. Glad that two good guys from the region have connected.

At 1:57 PM, Anonymous cameron said...

I actually caught your act in Lakewood last Monday. Although it appeared you were a little nervous behind the mic, I think your material was (at times) downright brilliant. If nothing else, it gave me a lot to think about on the ride home. My only advice would be to continue and get some more confidence up on stage. Other than that, it was a lot of fun.

At 8:45 PM, Blogger Chris McVetta said...


First, thank you so much for your kind words! I only hope I can live up to your expectations. Damn, if I'm not trying my best!

These past few months have been incredible, to say the least. But ...I'm still trying to stay humble in the meantime.

And, John, not only is Dave a great teacher - but so are you! You truly do a service to the writing community-at-large and I honestly owe you a lot for all your help and advice along the way. I truly mean that.

I have been blessed with all the amazing and talented people who have come into my life lately.

Someday, I hope to repay that debt.

At 5:56 AM, Anonymous sarah smiles said...

As we've talked about many times before..this is a marathon..and you're going to have many hurdles along the way..but at least you're in the race now. And I like what I'm seeing from the KEEP GOING.

At 6:20 AM, Blogger Chris McVetta said...

I didn't do great at The Funny Stop on Tuesday night. However, when we arrived there, we found out they were taping the show for Time-Warner cable in Akron. So that didn't help my flopsweat or bag of nerves, to say the least. And the crowd was, um, "challenging."

That being said, it wasn't my finest hour, but the other comics told me I did manage to get some laughs - and the Akron morning show DJ who hosted the event told me I did pretty good and invited me back for next week.

Tonight, I'm the lead-off hitter for "The Back-9 Comedy Tour" at Mulligan's in Avon (which is Greg Smrdel's and Dick Smother's baby). Monday is Bela Dubby's. Tuesday, the Cleveland Improv auditions and then back to The Funny Stop that night.

And TODAY is my one month anniversary of going up on stage, so I think I'm making "progress." Yet, I know you're right: It's a marathon ...not a sprint.

Keep in touch, sunshine!

At 7:56 PM, Anonymous the shizzle said...

leadoff hitter!!

dude, that's because you are THEIR grady sizemore!!

what night is that mulligans gig?


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