Eric's First Comedy Club Experience as A Comic

by Eric Jolicoeur AKA Balls

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  • Comedy ShowComedy

I have been booking, producing, and managing shows for over 5 years around the world. I always get labeled as a 'comedian' by those inside and outside of the comedy community. I also frequently get asked, 'do you do any comedy on stage?' For most, they don't understand how it all works behind the scenes and it is hard to explain in short order. These questions or statements have kind of put pressure on me over the years where I have felt like I SHOULD be doing this, but with the amount of work involved in running the business side of Big Timing Comedy LLC along with the production aspect and the stress behind it all, I have just told myself, 'NO, I cant take on ONE MORE THING!'.

Now dont get me wrong, I typically open our shows with a little introduction of Big Timing Comedy and so some shameless plugging of the podcast, which Stefan really instigated me to do over the years. I used to HATE it because there is nothing more difficult that than breaking the ice, giving me a true understanding of what they call an 'ice cold room' in the biz. Another thing to understand is there is a HUGE difference between that and actually being 'comedian funny'. Most importantly, through the experience of opening shows, I've learned how to be comfortable and confident on stage which is well over 50% of what it takes to be a good comedian. A few years ago one day while driving or showering (when I do most of my best creative work) I was having anxiety about opening an upcoming show and wanted to have SOMETHING funny to say, and thought, 'just imagine the audience naked......but what if I got naked?' As my thoughts progressed, I came up with this clever way to not only shamelessly plug our brand but to take my branded shirt off and give it to an audience member as a door prize. It went so well, after the show my own mother told me that I need to do that at every show, the women at that table were passing the shirt around all night (Yes I went heavy on the cologne).

Fast forward a few years...We finally kicked off our first Open Mic Comedy Night at Roadie Joe's in Salisbury Maryland in November 2018 and Stefan and I drove the 2+ hours on a Thursday night to get it kicked off and that's when I decided to try some actual material. It snowballed from there. See Blog Article 2 for more details around that night.

In February of 2019, I was having a phone conversation with Jim Bryan, a great comic, good friend and owner of his brand new comedy club Church of Satire which he opened in downtown Hanover PA. Jim and I were talking shop one morning on my way to my day job and at the end of the conversation I hung up stunned that some how ended up getting booked for a guest spot?! It wasn't  even the initial point of the conversation at all, but that's just how it ended. I couldn't believe it. I had a legit guest spot!

So I spent the next 6-8 weeks polishing and work shopping my 6 minute joke which kept morphing and eventually turned into 9 minutes. I hit open mics, I talked to my trusted troop (Stefan), and it was all coming together. Now Andy our intern (Soon to be title upgraded because he kicks so much ass) also has been along this ride as he too has taken a stab at doing comedy. He is an excellent writer so he has offered sound advice and has been a great sounding board for my Manscaping joke.

So the night has come and I am surprisingly not nervous at ALL. I am feeling so prepared, so confident and for the first time in my life I couldn't WAIT to get out on stage or in front of people to not only talk but make them laugh. I have had close people in my life tell me they were nervous for me, and I am so confident in saying, 'Do to n't be, I've got this!'

The first show at 7:00 was amazing! I had so much fun, and I was getting solid laughs. The most gratifying part was a woman in the very back was laughing so hard, I could see her rocking forward and dropping high pitched laughs. Success and there is no drug on this planet that will give you the rush of getting complete strangers to laugh at your story!

NOW, we had the late show (9:30) which had many variables, I've never had to produce two shows in one night let along perform not to mention there was a rather large event across the street that was competing for ticket holders. I stepped out front to maybe bark at passer byers to come in and watch the show and as I passed through the doorway, I noticed a couple that I know VERY well Nikki and Dan approaching. I couldn't believe it when they said that they were there to see me perform. It was so humbling and flattering. Now there was concerns of a light late night crowd and I was expecting to do this for 2 people literally, and when I came out on stage, not only did they get another couple to come last minute but the room was close to half full. Now this one I was  nervous for because the high from the first show tapered and I was afraid I was going to be drained (or drink too much beer in celebration of my first show success) but I kept going strong. I know the late crowd is typically a tougher crowd too.

All in all I came out feeling strong for the late show set with consideration it all being a VERY new experience! I'm not really sure how to conclude this blog other than I am so ready for the next step in this process! I have so much more material but I have been so focused on polishing this joke to be my 'closer' joke, its going to be hard to move away to work on new material when it's become almost like a security blanket. I have a whole new respect for comedians who write new material and how hard it is to get branch away from what you've worked so hard to perfect (I am FAR from having this joke perfected BUT I'm super confident in it). Stay Tuned and I hope to see you at an upcoming show or open mic night!