June 13, 2018

24 hours to showtime

It's been an interesting couple of months. A brain fart in March turned into the North Bay Comedy for Cancer Cure show tomorrow, June 14. 

There's more than 250 people expected to pack the Davedi Club. It's basically sold out with just a handful of tickets floating around. The challenge now is making sure we don't let more than 280 through the door (comics, musicians, volunteers included).

There was 24 hours before showtime when I started writing this, so you better believe there's a million things racing through my mind. As lead organizer, there's always the fear a pertinent detail went unnoticed. But I have to admit, I've allowed myself several sighs of relief that sales went well. We're within reach of our proceeds target for the 2018 North Bay Relay for Life June 22. 

Debbie Marson and her Canadian Cancer Society volunteers are managing the entrance, which gives me mega confidence things will go well. They'll even handle the pizza sales with luminaries and pledge forms available for next Friday's event hosted by 22 Wing CFB North Bay.

It's been fun running around selling tickets and chatting with people about comedy. I'm looking forward to pulling this little stunt off. A good cause close to many hearts, the event goal was to also provide increased exposure for the North Bay stand up comedy scene. Local journeymen Andre Raymond, Eric Bowman and Doug Bies have earned the limelight. And having Vern Vaillancourt and Ken Hull as their Northfacing Folk band open up for an hour is perfect. Vaillancourt was last year's Relay for Life honourary cancer survivor who handed the torch over Bies this year.

It's also cool to have national top female comic Sandra Battaglini headlining at this interesting time. Last week, Battaglini was in Ottawa meeting with federal big whigs about the Canadian Association of Stand Up Comedian's petition to get the art recognized as such. Crucial issue for funding as well as addressing challenges not faced by Americans. Trump might not agree, but there's a definite trade imbalance when it comes to working south of the border or even getting picked up for production here. 

Obviously, I have a big stake in the event. It's a huge thing, actually, as I'm the rookie feature taking the stage on my 53rd birthday. You won't believe me, but the scheduling was dictated by last week's provincial election and next Friday's Relay for Life. Bookings at the Davedi Club put us onto my birthday. Honest. Dave Mendicino is my witness. The former city councillor who recently announced his comeback candidacy helped in booking the event.

Am I nervous? Am I ready? My friends have been asking me those and similar questions for a week. To be honest, I'm not nervous now but I expect to be very nervous walking onto the stage and taking the mic. And no, I don't think I'm ready. I can't recall being ready for anything I've done in life. I'm doing this to get over stage fright, after all.

The four open mics at the Fox and Fiddle starting in early March provided a little experience trying to make strangers laugh. Only one set was a home run with the other three more like good learning experiences. The two dinner shows I did were among the stepping stones.

Slice it any way you want, but it's hardly enough to prepare for a crowd of 250-plus. And I'm not sure knowing most of the crowd is to my advantage or not.

I'll promise one thing, though. I will learn a bit more about this art. And I will apply what I learn to the next big show Sept. 14 at the Grande Event Centre downtown, a fundraiser for the Alzheimer's Foundation. I'm just now working on booking talent for what I hope will be epic stand up experience with a two-act variety show lineup. The regional Manitoulin-Sudbury-North Bay office said that Friday is right at the beginning of the society's fall coffee break awareness campaign. That's what I want to do as well put a few thousand into the society's kitty. My dad is suffering some sort of dementia. It's new cause for many of my family members and friends.

People have asked me if I was afraid of trying this kind of thing. Yup. But I was more afraid of never trying. 

Anyway, I better get back to working on my routine tomorrow. I'm still adding a few things, taking a few out as recent event provide too much fresh material to ignore.

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