Working Comic. A Pleasantly Surprising Week. – by Shawn Carter.

Shawn Carter in RaleighI’ve had some ups and downs since leaving my day job but this past week was so great.  I honestly couldn’t have asked for anything more.  I felt energized and things were falling into place nicely.  For a month I couldn’t find the energy to do anything except sit around and either write or consume internet articles.  This past week I got to the gym 5 days, got a haircut, shaved, published a new episode of the UnScene Comedy Podcast  (The Great Debate), and even cooked dinner for my girlfriend one night.  But how was comedy?  Well, I’ll tell you.


Monday – I hosted the show at Sally O’briens and everyone in the room seemed to be in a good mood from the start and opening the show was fun.  The first half of the show was going amazing as everyone was doing well and then something special happened.  Gary Gulman showed up and was super nice and  did 10 minutes of brand new killer material.  It’s night’s like this that make it all worth it.




Tuesday – I woke up to a message that a joke I wrote was featured on TheChive.  If you don’t know what TheChive is, it’s basically a website that is mostly made up of half naked girls, or more half made up of mostly naked girls.  I’m not sure, but they also feature jokes on their site.  So that was cool.

I decided to take the night off at Stadium and asked Bill McMorrow to fill in for me for the night.  Bill is hilarious and a great fit for that show.  He agreed and I went to the venue to set up the sound system before heading to the birthday party I was attending that night.  When I arrived at Stadium I was told that there was new ownership.  The bar had been sold two days ago.  What?  Nobody even hinted at this.  Well, the show must go on!  Right?  We still have a show right?  Yes!  We do.  Phew. (whipes sweat from brow).  This comedy open mic is really starting to gain some traction and it would be a shame if it was cancelled.


Wednesday – Went rock climbing.  Most of my day was posting THIS article, going to the gym and arguing with my room-mate Scott about whether “Christmas Shoes” is a worse song than “Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time”.


Thursday – Did some writing then went to the gym.  After I texted my lady-friend “I’ll make dinner for us tonight”.  All she responded was “Really?”.  And then I did it, I cooked dinner and it wasn’t bad!


Friday – Feeling sick,  maybe it was the dinner that I cooked but I felt awful for most of friday.  I spent the day editing a podcast and worrying about the show that was scheduled for the next day.  I was collaborating with Nick Giasullo to put together a comedy show in Lowell at the Olympia Restaurant in the Zorba Room.  The maximum capacity of that room is 300 so all I can think about is that if we get less than 100 it’s a total failure.  I managed to put that out of my mind for a couple of hours towards the end of the night and I went to the gym.

Saturday –  The big day.  This show is going to make or break my month.  I spent months mentioning the show on this site, weeks paying for ads on Facebook and days constantly posting about it on every social media platform I was on.

We decided the night before the show to use our own sound system instead of paying someone to run the sound.

6:00  It’s all hands on deck, breaking out the speakers and mic and we have wires running everywhere, while we look for an outlet to hook it all up.   We’re moving tables and chairs to try and set the room up as effectively as possible for comedy.

6:30  The sound system is set up and sound check is done.  I write up an order in which the comics will perform and the amount of time they’ll do and hand it off to Nick since he is hosting the show.

7:00   Arty from the restaurant helps get the lighting in the room just right for comedy.

7:20  Audience members start to arrive.  A few at first, mostly friends and family of Nick, then more and more….

Ted Pettingell on stage in front of a full crowd.

Ted Pettingell on stage in front of a full crowd.

8:00  We’ve got over a hundred audience members.  (btw Huge thank you to everyone that came to the show!)  All the seats are filled and with the way the room is set up I’m not sure we could fit that many more people.  In total I’m guessing we had about 120 people.  We had to bring in extra chairs.

8:10  Ethan Diamond who draws a weekly comic strip for UnScene and was also on the show is now working the door because Nick is hosting.

8:20  I’m now working the door because Ethan is the first act on the show.

8:30  I’m still trying to find proper seating for a group of ten that came in after most people.  It was a group of veterans that picked up the free tickets we donated on, which is a pretty cool service that site provides.  The restaurant staff helps me get them seated.


The rest of the show goes swimmingly.  Rich Karski (Dick Picks) was great.  Rick Canavan (Random Word Generator) dropped in and did a set.  Christa Weiss (This One Weird Thing) was funny as always.  Then Ted Pettingell (The Unsolicited Advice Column) went up and did a killer 20 minutes.  By the time I got on stage it was about 9:40 and I didn’t want the show to go past 10pm since almost nobody wants to see a comedy show that’s 2 hours or longer.  So I just did a little less than 20 minutes and tried to keep it tight.


Overall the show was a success.  The crowd was laughing, the restaurant made money, the comics made money.  Nick did a great job hosting the whole thing.  Maybe we can do it all again at the same place sometime, but there’s nothing in the works yet.  I DO have another show that I can start worrying about though.  It’s at the Nantasket Beach Resort, on Jan. 3 and I’m going to be recording a CD that night, or album or whatever you call it these days.  So I’ve set up another event on BrownPaperTickets where anyone interested can buy tickets for half price.


Hope to see you there.  Or at Sally Obriens or Stadium or anywhere else really.


Thanks for reading and visiting the site.

UnScene Comedy is the best place to find essays, articles, and media from some of the top Boston comedians.

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