Last Night At Cole's...

Thursday, October 17, 2013

From what I've gathered during my short time of doing stand-up in Chicago is that the best place to go once you're ready is Cole's in Lincoln Square. It's a dirty little hole-in-the-wall bar that you might just walk by without even noticing, yet every single Wednesday night roughly forty to fifty comedians flock to it to get their four minutes on stage. Naturally, I thought it sounded like heaven.

I've made my rounds to the comedy places in my area but I'd been resisting Cole's for quite awhile- even though I knew it was the place to be. I said it was too hard to get to. That's a lie, nothing is hard to get to in Chicago. I said it was too far away (which in Chicagoland means it's about five miles from my place.) But in reality I was just scared, that's really all there was to it. I was scared of Cole's because I'd heard it was kind of a tough crowd, and because the best of the best comedians try out there new stuff here. And if you're bad they'd let know, no sympathy laughs happen here.

But I figured if not now, then when? So yesterday I got on the 74 bus around 4:00 p.m. to make my way over to Logan Square. Sign-up was at 5:30, and signing up for these kind of things can get pretty competitive, comedians actually line up outside of places to get a good spot. Because I'm OCD about being early, I got there by 4:45. I brought my Mac with the intention of finding a coffee shop to write in while I waited. And by coffee shop I mean Starbucks because I'm just mainstream like that. Well Logan Square isn't quite as mainstream as me, so I had to settle for a "hipter-ish" coffee place, instead. I was like a fish out of skinny lattes. I accidentally said "tall" when I meant "small" causing the barista with the chin stud and nose ring to roll her eyes at me like I was the yuppiest excuse for a human ever.  And apparently it's not cool to designate bathrooms for male or female anymore, which I kinda get because some people affiliate with both sexes these days, whatever to each their own. But that doesn't mean it causes me any less anxiety. I panicked when I didn't know which one to use, so like the one gendered fool I am, I had to ask Kat Von D behind the coffee bar which bathroom I should go in. She looked at me like I was an idiot and said, "whichever one you want." That was the exact answer I didn't want.

I'm just not ready for non-designated public bathrooms, I know it's silly and I should embrace this progress, but it's going to take me some time. But if girls have to start using urinals then I'm just going to give up on life completely. And now I'm just getting off track.

Anyway, I went over to sign up at 5:30 and a line had already formed (all guys of course.) When I signed up I was told if I wanted to leave and come back I had to take a slot after #20, the set didn't actually start until 9:30 so I figured this was the best option. So I put my name down for #22 and I instantly cursed myself for not wearing my #22 gold necklace. The one day I didn't wear it... 

Chris joined me in Logan Square at one of our favorite restaurant's, Revolution, which also happens to be right across from Cole's while we waited for 9:30 to arrive.

We ate a little too much and by the time we were finished I almost suggested we just go back home. I always do this before I do stand-up. Literally every time I've done it I try to think of a hundred different excuses why I should just go home instead and say forget the whole thing. I'm too full, it's stupid, I'm tired, I'm gonna do bad, I'm not ready, this is dumb, I'm dumb, you're dumb... The list of my insecurities goes on and on.

But now I've just rambled on way longer than I intended so I need to wrap it up already. Long story short, I sucked it up and joined the list of fifty other comedians and told my four minutes of jokes. I think I was one of only four girls on the line-up. And I don't know why, but I kinda love this ratio of guys to girls in stand-up.  And one of the other "girls" was actually in her seventies. And I kinda loved her, as well. A seventy-year-old woman doing stand-up in a gritty old bar at midnight? How awesome is that? She was a gem.

Here's a brief clip that is dark and hard to see, but that's how this bar is. I almost didn't tell the joke that is shown on the clip because I thought it was kind of stupid, you probably will too, but much to my surprise the guys in the room really seemed to like it. Boys will be boys... 

When you write jokes you have to know your audience, so I take into account that 90% of who am I talking to are a bunch of guys. So yeah, I guess sometimes my jokes are little crude perhaps? I don't know though, I don't think anything is crude or offensive. But if you're someone who does, just don't watch the clip and then get mad at me for saying "tit pic." Spend the next few minutes on Pinterest instead, I've seen a lot of great DIY holiday wreath ideas circulating. As you can tell I'm making a lot of excuses again because I'm nervous to hit publish. But whatever, here it is.


There you have it, my first time at Cole's. Do something weird today, it's kind of exhilarating. 

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  1. That was really good! Way to rock the house!

  2. HA! I love it. And yes...that's genuinely what guys snap each other. And we snap pictures of us sipping our non-hipster Starbucks coffees. *hair flip* No shame.

  3. I'm not ready for non-designated public bathrooms either.. You did great on stage!!

  4. You are hilar!! I literally have anxiety now thinking of being on stage in front of all those guys trying to be funny. I think I would rather shoot myself, how the crap do you do that??

  5. Ha, I always wondered what guys Snapchat!

  6. i want to comment on everything. kat von d- yes. and no i'm not ok with non designated bathrooms.
    i think you're super brave. i can't even imagine doing it i would probably sign up and then lie that i was sick.
    i watched the clip and you rocked it. is it creepy that i want to be your friend and come see you perform? yes.

  7. yay! love the rambling post because its just you.

  8. look at youuuu! all comedian and stuff. Great job! (I may have watched it twice....) :-)

  9. I'd love to try stand up someday. I feel like in some way my five years teaching high school was me really just wanting to tell jokes all day long.

  10. non gender designated restrooms is RIDICULOUS. Sorry but you ARE EITHER male or female. You may "identify" with one even if you aren't, you but still ARE male or female.

    anyway now that that is settled, YOU ARE A ROCKSTAR. I honestly could NEVER, but I would want to SO BAD. You are my hero.

  11. Non-gendered bathrooms that are individual stalls, or like non-gendered bathrooms that have urinals and multiple stalls? Big bathrooms for all remind me of Boy Meets World. I thought college was going to be exactly like that. It wasn't, except for Friday & Saturday nights, when both boys & girls on my dorm room floor would just choose whatever bathroom was closer.

    Love the Snapchat joke. And your flow/style/I don't know the what word I'm looking for is amazing! So natural

  12. I loved the snapchat joke...I also work with teenagers and can appreciate the diverse application of tit/poop jokes. Keep up the good work, I think you are my hero.

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  14. Glad I finally got around to watching this clip (I had this post "liked" so I'd remember to come back to it), and I super dig it! I only wish we could've seen the whole routine. Keep it up!

  15. I love that you posted the are courageous...on many levels!!! The snapchat joke is great.

    Related to your writing a book, etc...I keep thinking that I need to tell you about a book called "War of Art" by Steven Pressfield. Buy it and read it. It's a quick read and you'll really love it. As a person who has to be self motivated in a creative field, I think you'll really appreciate and relate to the book and it might help give some new perspective on pushing through roadblocks.

    Have a great weekend!