Dr. Weiss’ office.
“So, what’s the plan?” he asked.
“Perform like my life depended on it.”
“Do you have enough material to – ”
“I think so. I dunno. Maybe – ”
“Maybe you could tell the guy that for this one last show – ”
“No. I can’t do that. He was very clear.”
“Hmm. Well – y’know what? I think you’re gonna do just fine.”
“Really? You believe that?”
“I do. I believe it. Or – ”
“Or…well…hmm… Honestly? You might be screwed.”
“My entire act is stolen.”
“Please?” Dr. Weiss sat up.
“Okay, not the entire act – but the best bits. They’re stolen.”
“From comics I saw in New York – at the Improv and Catch a Rising Star.”
Returning home, Cincinnati had never seemed so laid back, so peaceful. I had been gone from the eye for over a week now, but my return was hailed by “Eeey! Jailbait! ” I was excited to be home, because that’s what the eye felt like now. And I’d brought back a notebook full of bits.
New York cabbies are crazy. To them, the color red means blitz.
New York is like the balls of America – it’s my favorite place, but it’s easy to get hurt.
The December 13 show went well, maybe my best show since the first one. Smoke Alarm and Parking did well. The audience was upbeat and a lot of the New York bits landed. But while I was gone things had changed. The eye had gotten new blood.
Friday, November 21.
My fifth performance and it was crap, my worst ever up to that point. It had been a month since I’d first performed and nothing had been as good as that first, fiery performance. In fact, Roger had rested me the previous week. This week I was on the verge of the flu, but I had promised myself that, if offered, I would never not take a slot – not after barely surviving that first show. So, I went to the eye with a sore throat and lousy material. It was the fifth time in a month I had tried to write an entirely new act and the effort was exhausting. The other comics were repeating. They couldn’t have cared less about new material and returning patrons.
And everyone else killed that night, so I assumed I would too. But I crapped out so miserably, I wanted to die.
“This happened fast!”
“I bet you didn’t have time to think, did you? There was an opportunity and you had to make your choices quickly? You’re really ready, aren’t you?!”
“I guess – ”