Sunday, November 3, 2002

Last night I stayed up all night long to get a good place in line on the All New Star Search auditions. I tanked. So bad. But on line, I did pretty good.

I got to the line around 4:30 am. I was about 40th. Valerie Gurka was about three people behind me so we hung out and kept eachother company until the sun rose. Then some of her friends arrived with blankets and energy around 7:30. By energy, I do not mean cocaine, and by blankets, I mean 'warm cloths' that you drape over yourself to retain heat. Only three comedians were in front of us - Tarun Sheddy, Pete Glissman and Jane, a comic from Connecticut who's last name I forget. Everyone else was a singer or a model or a line space holder or a homeless person. The whole night and into the morning, every one was singing, practicing their songs. Do singers have snappy lingo for the few minutes or so when they go 'up' where ever and sing a song? Do they call it a set also? Or do they just call it a song? They probably just call it a song.

They, and by they, I mean the Star Search people came outside around 8 and started handing out bracelets that color coordinated each talent. Comedy's bracelet was colored green, which I found to be somewhat ironic - but not too ironic - just ironic enough to be a slight bit more than slightly interesting to me. Slight squared. Ironic divided by two. The line started to move forward which was very exciting after standing still for three and a half hours. I decided I should try to muster up some energy from somewhere after standing still in the freezing cold with no sleep for hours as I'd been doing. So I started to sing. And sing did I. I sang Chaka Khan, Guns N Roses, Rick Astley, and much, much more. And every thing I chose to sing for some reason was a huge source of entertainment and amusement to everyone around me. I was delirious and feeling stupid and bold, so I really began to play it up. I jumped up on a lamp post and hung singing from it, like a chimney sweep child in some movie about being poor that takes place in old England. That began attracting attention and before I knew it, I had a camera man taking all kinds of pictures of me swinging and hanging from this lamp post. And the crowd below was laughing and smiling, and waving at me and I was a hero of the people.

Then I went inside and ate my balls in that little room in front of D.J. and J.T., the two judges. It was pretty messed up the way they did it. They brought the comedians ten at a time into the little room, and the comedians took turns both auditioning and being an audience member at an open mic no one had signed up for. All the comedians who went on were people who I actually knew from doing open mics around NY, many of which could probably tell my set verbatim, they'd heard it so many times. Not only did the comedians not laugh at my jokes they'd heard or not a bunch of times, the judges didn't really laugh, either. I totally bombed. It went something like this: (They asked us to open up with our name, where we're from, and an interesting fact about ourselves.)

Hello, my name is Jessica Delfino, I'm from Damariscotta, Maine, and I'm 26. But I'm reading at a 28 year old reading level. (sprinkled laughter)

I'm not a vegetarian, for two good reasons. First of all, I like the taste of meat. But even more important, I really hate animals. (crickets, air flowing, the sound of people breathing, I heard someone swallow a gulp of water)

"Spin the bottle" joke went here. To this, I got frightened pity laughter from the judges. I actually heard one telepathically send a message to the other that went, "A pedophile joke on a television audition?" Then he went on to telepathically talk about lighting me on fire to destroy all evidence of me ever having been in the room. I think if someone wanted to press it, technically, either judge could have gotten fired just for having shaken hands with me, and are probably receiving hate mail as we speak for even allowing me to breathe the same air that was being used by the future stars of tomorrow.

The rest is a blur of bombing. Not even my poker straight hair or funky Chess Forum tee shirt could have saved me. When I was finished, one judge bum rushed me and held me down and the other washed my mouth out with soap and demanded back the 90 seconds of his life I'd taken from him. I told him I'd write him a check. But I never will. Even if I did, it'd bounce.

The judges left the room to talk in private and I actually heard one say, and I quote, "Jessica Delfino should be sucking dicks, not telling jokes." I was feeling fine with that, then he added, "And, she's not funny." When they came back in, they said they only liked one person's act, and that person was Tarun. He had the best set by far, heads and tails above. Funny, clean, good. Good energy, charming, not shy, funny. Good. When they said his name, I felt so happy. I gave him a hug and kiss which almost ruined it for him when the judges saw him associating with me. Then we left and had breakfast together at the Cosmic Diner, just a few seats away from where Jordan Ruben's photo hangs on the wall.

I learned a few very important things from this experience. One is that I am tired and cold. The second is that I have to poop.

Now, I could have made up all kinds of excuses. I was tired. I was cold. I had to poop. I went up in front of comedians. Many of them had heard my jokes. Boo hoo hooey hoo. But the fact is, I'm just not that good yet. Tarun was solid. He did not drop the ball. I've still got years of disappointments and blown opportunities to look forward to before I can call myself a 'good' comic, and even with time and hard work, I may never be 'good.' I guess I'll have to wait and see. Or make it happen. Or a little bit of both.

I mean, am I right, people?

People? Hello? Is this thing on?

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