Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I Can Only Freestyle in the Shower

Sigh. This post comes two days after Mic Check, which I hosted Sunday night. I didn't check voice messages, so I missed the fact that Steve would be out of town, meaning last Sunday would not be his last appearance. When Steve's not there, somebody fills in for him as host. If I'm around, that's usually me.

After a week of getting the house ready (and it's ready - realtor open house was today), I just wasn't a particularly good host. This isn't a problem when there are a lot of poets. We'd all prefer to have a long list of poets, and then it's easy to follow rule #1 of being an emcee - get out of the way. Really, when there's sufficient talent, you're just there to move things along. However, when there's a crowd of 60 people and only 3 poets signed up, the host has to get a little creative.

Most of the time, that means having some community games at the ready. On Sunday we had four volunteers write limericks about A&M/Aggies/Revolution Cafe. One gentleman who I picked from the crowd informed me during the break that English wasn't his native language. It was something in Nigerian for which he did not have an English translation. No problem, says I, just go up there, say this is your limerick, and say anything at all in your native tongue. It would have been a good gag. Instead he took the time to craft a semi-limerick about how he hated Revolution now for dragging him up there.

There wasn't much love in the audience. Check that, there was a lot of love for a particular poet, who had produced a twenty-to-thirty-person entourage. There was polite clapping for all poets. But there was virtually no interest in getting involved. This killed the possibility of doing more community games unless I wanted to really rag on people.

So I just shot my mouth off. Nothing too offensive, just random rambling. It amuses some of the crowd, annoys some of the crowd, and it's nights like that when I don't care which is which. If I have to drag responses out of you, then I'll just hit joke after joke until I can detect something of what you want.

I can tell it's been a long time since I participated in the end-of-show adlib. Usually I'll come up with a dirty joke (they're usually mildly funny, too). Somewhat less often I'll say something profound. Last night I just ate mic and let down the audience. Luckily all the other improvs were pretty good. It's the host's job to give them a few extra minutes to come up with something if the words prove difficult. Pelvis, elephant, and whatever the third word was, those weren't bad to work with. But once baba ghanoush got thrown into the mix, everything went to hell.

Of course, in the shower Monday morning, I immediately start freestyling: "From an elephant's pelvis I / carved a boomerang / ruined whole cities / 'fore they threw me in the clank / better known as the clink / Sorry, can't think / come up with synonyms for slammer while you sip your drink." Not spectacular, I know. You can only imagine the dreck that spilled from my mouth on Sunday.

Steve will have his show this coming Sunday. Phew...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"sometimes when i freestyle i...lose confidence."