Thursday, October 20, 2005

No easy choice...

I've written and then deleted this post close to a dozen times now. Each time I decide against putting it on-line at the last moment and spend another day confused. I suppose the best way forward would be to preface it; I don't mean this to be insenstive and if it comes across as such I apologise in advance. I am just honestly really confused over what to do. So try not to be offended by this and if you will comment then just make relevant to the topic.

Some background:

I have spent the last three months preparing to do a live solo Stand-up comedy performance. This is born out of my love for Stand-up and a lack of venues and opportunities to present my material. Plus I figured if I pulled off a 40 minutes/1 hour show it would be the first of its kind. All original material presented by me, on stage, alone. A month ago I decided November 13th would be the day to do so and booked the P.A.C.C. auditorium. Since then I've been writing constantly and maintaining this blog to keep people up-to-date about progress and such.

Around two weeks ago the earthquake happened. Since then I've been as obsessed with the disaster and its fallout as much as any Pakistani. I stopped writing comedy because I couldn't focus on anything but the quake.I imagine it's the same for everyone.

Three days ago the P.A.C.C. called and asked for the payment for the auditorium. Which made me question the whole thing. Since then I've been really confused. Should I or shouldn't I do my show?

People have given me varying advice in discussion. One of my friends says go ahead and do it. People need to laugh and something like this would be fun and relaxing. Saad thinks it would be difficult but not inappropriate. Conversely, my wife feels it is too huge a risk, because it would be the first comedy performance after the quake and people would get offended and because if I get up there and do badly then it will take forever for my reputation as a comedian to recover.

I just don't know what to think myself. I have faith in my material. I think it's solid and funny and none of it is inappropriate at all. In fact, in keeping with Black Fish tradition it is entirely family friendly. I stand by my material. I am still shy of an hours worth but I think I can fill 40 minutes solid. I understand good material can be killed by bad delivery, especially after the Open-mic a month back when I rushed through everything. But I am more conscious of that now so not a major concern.

But what if people find it too wrong to do a comedy show after the quake? Maybe people aren't ready for that kind of escapism. What if I do badly? I go up there and just bomb. It can happen. It's happened to the greats. Why not me? I would be doing a bad show, on stage, alone, for an hour. After the disastrous "Crack Down" show a few weeks ago by some unfortunate kids I am all to clear on how painful that can be for audiences. It would be worse to do a bad show in the current mood and atmosphere. And what if no one turns up? It can happen. I still haven't marketed the show at all. There are three weeks to go but still. I could end up not covering costs
and P.A.C.C. is no longer cheap (Rs. 13,000 per night).

I always knew it was a risk, but until now I didn't realize just how much so. But then a part of me thinks I haven't done anything challenging in so damned long. It's been years since I really tested myself. And this is a sure-fire way. But when do I know if I've gone from challenging to masochistic?

And even now, I feel guilty thinking about this when there are so many people suffering and so many people giving up everything to help them. These are more serious times than any I have experienced. More so than 9/11 for us Pakistanis. Maybe I should just not do this. If I call of the show then I won't be able to get a venue till Mid-Jan at the earliest, and then God knows if I will still be able (there are alot of personal changes happening in my life around end of December that might have me out-of-country for a long time). Basically, now or never.

So what will it be?


Blogger Abbas Halai said...

actually, comedy is one of the best ways to bring people back to reality who have just been through a trauma and give them a break when they truly deserve it. not sure if you've seen it, but something in a film called the aristocrats makes me remember how, shortly after 9-11 in NYC, there was a comedians convention and the show was going slower than a sloth running the marathon until gilbert gottfried (genius) came on stage and delivered the aristocrats joke. if you haven't seen the film, you probably won't know what i'm talking about, unless you already know the joke. but this may be one of the best shows you'll ever do i personally feel. the people deserve a break from the morbid imagery and reports from the media. and you could setup a charity box or some percentage of ticket sales going towards relief efforts could work too. i'd jump on a chance to get some humour in my life after having to deal with all thats going on.

1:21 PM  
Blogger saba said...

I agree with what Abbas said. Everyone does need a pick-me-up at this point - and I know a number of people who have been so deeply involved with the earthquake who could really use a break like this.

12:37 PM  
Blogger atrophying said...

sami, more than i want a blackfish tshirt [for which im willing to do almost anything], i want to laugh again. do the show, please!

1:33 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home