Friday, March 27, 2009

Ask Abbi: Pre-Show Rituals?

Andrew of asks:

Do you have any good luck rituals before a show?

Thanks for reaching out through Facebook! Readers, if you haven't done so yet, add me as a facebook friend. We'll be that much closer in this big, wide world. Before such technology, we had to wait weeks for mail to arrive by postman on a horse. Then we had to feed him stew for his journey back. Then we had to apologize for the lack of meat because the drought took out our best cattle. Then we had to return to our needlepoint and listen to the sound of dust blowing over dust.

I do not have good luck rituals before a show but I have rituals. On the train to a show, I open my notebook, write and underline the title of the show, the time it starts, the date, and then a set list. Even if I'm doing a character.

Borscht 8:00PM 3/20/09
(Erykah Badu)

Chinese Herb
JD Salinger - Ghostbusters
Paperclip Underwear
Dirt 4 Dinner
Wilfred Brimley
Crank Calls
Baby Corn
Freestyle song

This might be similar to what a lot of people do, but even if I know my set, I write it down. I like to catalog things. It helps me not to repeat jokes if I come back to places. After the set, I circle any bits I forgot, I check off the jokes that worked, and I add a note about an ad-lib that worked or a mistake I made.

Other rituals include engaging the audience before a show starts, which is a habit from my dinner theater days when we had to mingle in character, and I kid around with comics beforehand to get in the mood to tell jokes. Then I stab a voodoo doll shaped like the host.

Feel free to post your questions for Abbi in the comments section, to be answered in a later post, or write curlycomedy (at) with "Ask Abbi" in the Subject.


Mo Diggs said...

A voodoo doll for the host huh? No wonder Nagin was twitching so much.

Abbi Crutchfield said...

I actually have a duffel bag full of dolls, and if the audience is overall crap, then I make sure they go home with headaches.