A rhetorical question: Can I still do my show the way I used to, or have times changed too much?

I think I’ve mentioned it before, so I apologize if I’m repeating myself. I finally discovered a fun reason(s) to write a blog.
This is a great place to cover subjects that don’t exactly fit as a FB post or a newsletter “article”.My blogs are just some of my silly thoughts, observations, and memories. Nothing here is meant to be earth shattering. So, if you take the time to read it, I hope you enjoy it.

THANK YOU

My show has evolved over the years. Through the years, as my show progressed, I started writing longer and much more complicated bits. The suggestions started to resemble something closer to sketches you might see on Saturday Night Live. I started adding in some lighting and sound effects for some of the bits to add more elements to the experience for the volunteers and the audience. Clubs were often ok with me doing shows that ran easily 2 hours, and in some cases shows that ran 3 to 4 hours long.  As the suggestions got more complicated and as the shows started running a bit longer, I would check in with the volunteers and the audience to see if it was getting too late, if they were getting too tired, and if they were ready to say goodnight. Most of the time the audience and volunteers seemed as eager as I was to get the most out of the evening. I think back and now it seems hard to believe that I wrote and performed bits that ran 15 – 30 minutes long. Even the time required to set up the suggestions, with all the detail and individual instruction sometimes took 3 – 5 minutes. I can’t speak for the audiences, but it seemed like they expected the payoff was going to be worth the time invested in letting me set up all the details to make the bit funny and unpredictable.

There were times I would come up with an idea DURING A SHOW, and ask the audience if I could give it a try. I had no idea how it would work or if it would work. If the bit fell flat, I was going to waste 10 – 20 minutes and the show would surely suffer a bit. Yet most of the time everyone seemed to be on board, wanting me to try something new and happy to be a part of  something untested. Thankfully it usually worked out to be a fun, or at least a very promising bit.

As years went by, things started changing. Many of the clubs had sound and light techs that had other duties as well and weren’t always able to be in the sound booth. Consequently, I started scaling back the sound and light effects. The person who immediately noticed the change was my dear friend and publicist Debbie. Debs and I have talked about it through the years. Both of us recognizing the extra elements (sound and light cues) can add to a show. However, if the cue comes in too late or too early, it no longer adds to the show and instead has a negative impact on the bit. 

Another thing that has changed is, clubs seem to prefer a show that runs aprox 1 hour 30 min to 1 hour 45 min long.

I can easily do a 90 – 100 minute show, but that time frame makes it more difficult to do some of the bigger bits that I have loved doing all these years.

You might be thinking, what prompted this subject for a blog post………

Recently I was performing at The Grove in Lowell, AR. The nights were sold out, the audiences were great, and the shows were a lot of fun. One of the shows, as I determined who was and who wasn’t hypnotized, I ended up with 4 volunteers. All 4 were absolutely wonderful. The show was so much fun. I found myself checking in with the audience from bit to bit, to see where they wanted the show to go. Also if they were getting tired and wanted me to move to an end of the show. Everyone seemed to be having fun and they continued to express their desire to keep it going. It was then that I decided to take a chance to set up a bit I haven’t done in over 10 years. It is a parody of an old tv game show that I doubt people in their 20’s and possibly 30’s would know. Nonetheless, it’s one of my favorite bits (possibly my favorite bit). The setup was a bit long and very complicated, but I could hear the audience laugh (with anticipation) as I provided the hypnotic instruction. The bit I am referring to is a parody of the Newlywed Game. This scenario ran almost 30 minutes. But it was really worth it. The responses kept getting better and better as the bit got funnier and funnier. I think the audience really enjoyed it and I was thrilled to be able to perform this bit after a very long absence from the show.

Going forward, I am going to try, when possible, to add in a complicated bit in here and there. At the same time, I need to be aware of the current expectations that exist from the venues and from the audience. It’s a bit of a balance, but I believe the recent show at The Grove reminded me that layered, complicated suggestions are worth keeping and worth performing when possible.

8 Comments

  1. Loye Miller

    Wish I’d been there to see that one. I’d love to see such a bit if time allowed in another show. Perhaps working one in here and there is a good idea.

    Reply
    • admin

      Thanks very much,

      It’s so interesting to me how things have changed. Years ago I was typically be able to do a couple longer bits in most of the shows.
      I still love the shows and think they are a lot of fun.
      Still, it’s nice to add in a really crazy, complicated, long bit in now and again.

      Reply
  2. Bob Nunn

    Flip, in my opinion so long as the venue is flexible with scheduling, I don’t think most folks care about the length of your show. It’s such a fun event every time, and we never know what’s going to come up, being each show is unique and different. I do miss some of your older suggestions like the newlywed game, the Disney characters, roller coaster, and so many others. But in the end, every idea you’ve come up with, over the many years I’ve been to your shows, has always been some of the most entertaining stuff we’ve seen at a comedy show. It always seems fresh and new, and in large part that’s due to the variety of volunteers at each show. So keep on keeping on, I can say without hesitation you won’t lose your audience. You’re a master of a very specialized and enthralling performance art, and there is no one that compares.

    Reply
    • admin

      Bob,

      Thank you so very much !

      Reply
  3. Kevin

    The Prescott pronounced like “biscuit” show is coming up, have at Flip!

    Reply
    • admin

      I’m going to start my trip tomorrow, heading to Biscuit. I should be in AZ
      sometime on Thursday. I’m very excited for the Saturday show. I still haven’t
      planned a happy hour, but I think that may have to happen.

      What are your thoughts?

      See y’all soooooooooooooon

      Reply
      • Kevin

        We are all for a Happy Hour! Will be in Biscuit on Friday for the weekend of fun!

        Reply
        • admin

          Kevin,
          Let’s make it happen !

          Now the question is; Friday or Saturday after the show ??????

          Reply

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