Monday, December 1, 2014

Hope You Make It

Well since Season 9 of Last Comic Standing has officially been put on hiatus I guess I can talk about it.  Actually I could talk about it before. People kept asking me "Did you get picked for Last Comic Standing? Are you not allowed to talk about it?" No, I'm allowed to talk about whatever I want because they didn't pick me. No one makes you sign a non-disclosure agreement when there is nothing to disclose. Just to recap in case you don't live in my house; I did audition for Last Comic Standing in Seattle. It went well and I was flown to L.A. for the next level of auditions. Unlike the Seattle audition the L.A. one was not in front of a comedy club audience, but in front of maybe 8 or 9 NBC executive types. It went OK, but not great. Two things I will never forget about that day. First, in the green room as we were waiting to be ushered on stage for our audition, there was a sign on the wall that said "Life is like a dry hand job." Poignant. Really helped me get focused. The last thing I thought before I got on stage was "Be the lubricant you wish your hand job had." Maybe I should have been thinking about my jokes in hindsight. My audition was a blur. It was was like a 3 1/2 minute dry hand job I guess. I was a little hurt, a little aroused, and a little confused when it was over. (You know like life is.) Right after I performed I was ushered offstage and out the back door where I ended up right in front of the second thing I will never forget about that day; Mario Lopez. I went from reading a hand job sign, to telling jokes in front of NBC producers, to being face to face with A.C. Slater from Saved by the Bell in about 6 minutes. My brain couldn't really handle it. I felt like I'd been deep underwater and came up to the surface to fast. The very handsome in person Mario Lopez was there because my audition was at the Jon Lovitz Comedy Club in Universal Studios, which is where the TV show "Extra" tapes. "Extra" is hosted by Mario Lopez, who was also the voice of "Social Smurf" in Smurfs 2 starring Neil Patrick Harris, who was also in a movie called Beyond All Boundaries that also starred.... Kevin Bacon. The day after my audition the Jon Lovitz Comedy Club closed. I should have taken the hand job sign. Hopefully it now hangs in a place of prominence in Jon Lovitz' home to remind him that things don't always work out. I guess he could just hang up one of his movie posters to remind him of that too.
I didn't have a great feeling about my audition and I guess I have good instincts because I never got the call for the next level, which would have been the televised part. Maybe I don't have good instincts, maybe I just assume things won't work out and when I'm right I like to call it intuition. Even a negative clock is right twice a day. I should put that on a sign. Actually like most comedy/showbizzy things no one from LCS told me "No." They just never called me, and the rejection puzzle was put together one rumor and poorly kept secret at a time, as I heard about comics that had been called.  I actually think it would have been harder to be told I had been picked and then learn the show wasn't happening than to never be picked in the first place. You know the old question "If a tree rejects me in the forest, but then the tree goes away, did it happen?" I do feel bad for those comedians that were told they were going to be a part of the show and had that taken away, or at least postponed, or who knows what. I was genuinely happy for the few I knew that had been selected. I was of course disappointed I didn't get a call, but I get it. After my set at the audition one of the questions they asked me was "What percentage of your material would you say is about your wife and kids?" I guessed 70%. When I told that to my friend Eric he said "Oh, you low balled it huh?" One of the things I pride myself on is that my wife and kids material does well in front of a single, non breeder audience too, but I could still almost feel myself getting older when they asked me that question. Of course it would have been great to be on Last Comic Standing, but I'll be fine. I've grown accustomed to the Briar Patch comedy career I have. (If you got that reference you're at least as old as I am.) If I'm honest the thing I enjoyed most about the whole experience was having people excited for me. Having people talk about me isn't a feeling I've had in awhile. By the time this year is over I will have done 201 shows in 71 different cities, taped  2 TV shows ( Comics Unleashed and Laughs on Fox), released a book, put out an album, and done a Comedy Festival,  but nothing generated the buzz that being sort of close to being on Last Comic Standing did. Being a road comic doesn't generate buzz, it just pays the bills. (Usually not all of them at once.) Again, of course I would have loved (or would love in the future) to be on it, but the truth is a lot of the people that have LCS as a credit are hanging around the same rung of the comedy ladder that I am. Certainly a lot of the comics that have been on it during the 8 seasons have gone on to have much better careers than they had before appearing on the show, but most of them are not big names. In fact some of them have gone on to open for me on occasion. (The comic who has appeared on Nickelodeon's NickMom Night Out usually headlines, it's an unspoken showbiz rule.) One of the things that would have been great about being on LCS is I could say "Yes" when people asked me if I'd ever done it. It's been 5 years since I was on Comedy Central, but at least I get to say "Yes" for the rest of my life when strangers ask. The general public holds stand up comics to a pretty high bar. Anything less then famous is considered unsuccessful. At least a few times a week someone says "Good luck" to me after a show. Or even the occasional "Hope you make it."  I like to respond with something like "Well I'm headlining *Penguins Comedy Club in Cedar Rapids Iowa right now, so obviously I have made it." Then we all have a laugh. What they don't know is I'm not really kidding. I guess what I'm saying is even if I won Last Comic Standing I would still work at Penguins, just for more money. Which would be awesome, but it wouldn't make the shows any better.
A few people have asked me if Last Comic Standing wasn't being canceled/put on hiatus/ being retooled is it possible they still would have put me on it? It didn't seem likely, but yeah I suppose it was possible. Is it possible Last Comic Standing is being retooled and renamed "The Last Biggest Gabriel Loser Comic Standing" and Gabriel Iglesias and I will compete in a reality show featuring comedy competitions at night and weight loss competitions during the day? I'd love to tell you that, but I've been told I can't talk about it.

*I will be appearing at Penguins Comedy Club in Cedar Rapids Iowa December 19-20. They have me listed as Gabriel Ruthledge on the website, but trust me, it's me. If "making it" means they spell your name right, then I would very much like that.


Stephen HAHA Hunt said...

Ha ha ha, thanks for sharing your thoughts! I'm thrilled to say, "I've opened for you and I know how to correctly spell your name!" Even if it doesn't mean I earn more as a comedian!

Darryl "Junior" Koszman said...

Very interesting read my friend and Dido as per Stephens' post.

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