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.