On November 18th , I will be taking the stage at 50 Mason as part of their Friday Comedy Showcase. I've played 50 Mason half a dozen times, but this time will be special, as it is my first headlining spot at that club. In fact, November 18th will be my first ever performance as a headliner anywhere.
I have hosted shows with outstanding comics like Dave Attell, Jim Short, Al Madrigal, and comedian-abroad Luke Filose, but those were all shows run by UC Berkeley's humor magazine, The Heuristic Squelch. Sadly, the Squelch no longer puts on comedy shows, but aspiring comics should still take note: It is much easier to get a prime hosting gig when you and your friends are doing the booking. Also, most comedians will be psyched to have beers with you after the show, provided there are attractive nineteen year old girls in your party.
There are a lot of misconceptions about one's responsibilities as a headliner. Some believe you must scour the nation's newspapers, searching for bizarre, typographically rich headlines to mock, and a sycophantic bass player to laugh at the punchlines. Others think being a headliner means you must be willing to put a watermelon on the line anytime someone challenges you to a game of horseshoes. A game of horseshoes! Still others harbor the foolish belief that you need to write a full twenty minutes of material, rather than simply delivering your ten-minute set at half-speed.
Really, you've got only one job when you're headlining: Bringing the funny. It's still a few weeks until this gig, so I can't state with absolute confidence that I will bring the funny, but I can say this: I'm packing the funny. I'm writing a note to myself reminding me to bring the funny I packed. I'm tying a string around my finger in case I forget to read the reminder note about the funny. I'm sneaking into the club on the 16th and stashing some emergency funny in the bathroom, and it's going to be good material. I don't want to be coming out of that bathroom with just some dick jokes in my hands.
So, mark your calendars, or better yet, headline your calendars for November 18th, at 8 PM. I won't be coming on until 9:30 or so, since, like Vanessa Williams, 50 Mason likes to save the best for last. Also, 50 Mason let an old boyfriend take some ill-advised "artistic" photos of itself back in college, had to relinquish its crown as Miss America, and later carried on a six-year relationship with former Los Angeles Laker Rick Fox. The parallels are truly stunning, once you think about it.