I asked some readers of the blog what kind of posts they would like to see. I got varied responses but I heard from several people that they’d like to see a chronicle of a routine, from inception to working material. This is difficult for several reasons.
- It’s pretty boring stuff.
- It’s a lengthy process.
- Finally, I’d just committed to not adding or subtracting anything from the show for a year.
Over the winter in Germany I performed two acts I’ve been working with for almost ten years. I’d grown pretty bored of them and to make it easier I added new jokes and ideas almost every show. I’d been doing this for a long time too. In fact, for my entire career, all of time. In the final month of the contract I was challenged to not change anything. To focus on making everything that was in the show work and hone and refine the material. I spent the next month following a script of my act. It was super difficult but in the end very rewarding. I discovered lots of new things about very old jokes and started to think of new call backs and ways to weave everything together. I decided I would do that with my regular non-German show.
I’m going to make one exception. For you (all three of you).
I’m chasing the Deangelo.
I was inspired the moment I saw one performed on the Office and I knew that it was something I wanted. I’ve always wanted a good joke about people using juggling as a metaphor for life, I’ve always wanted to do a juggling trick with an urn, and I wanted to joke about juggling without juggling.
So, I’m going to keep the show as is for one year to see what that feels like. Except one joke. One joke that I feel has the potential to become my Deangelo….
“As a parent having triplets sounds like a nightmare. But, as a juggler…”
This joke has been in the show for a while and gets a good response. I think it’s a great candidate for a Deangelo routine. It’s good for act outs and the premise is strong. My goal is to turn that joke into a 4 minute routine, that is about juggling with no actual juggling or props.
I’ve had the chance to try the joke with the intention of turning it into a longer routine once so far this year. I tried tagging the joke with this joke: “The hardest part would be starting. You’d probably have to kick one into the pattern”. I also did a little act out balancing a baby on my foot and kicking it up into an imaginary pattern.
It failed pretty bad. A tremendous fail. And trust me I know failure. I’m the best. One problem was that the joke, as a one-liner, came in the middle of another routine. It was fine as a throw away but trying to expand it there distracted from the things I was already doing. The second problem was that my hands were full. So kicking an imaginary baby into an imaginary pattern just didn’t read. Oh well. The initial joke got a laugh and I still feel strongly the the laugh is loud and long enough to warrant a longer bit.
My next steps are to find a different place in the show to try the joke. A time when I’m not in the middle of another routine and when my hands are empty. I am also going write more jokes and physical bits of business to try as well. From those jokes I’ll pick one that I think is the best and try it the next time I perform on stage. And so on and so forth until I have a routine.