Hell Gig

My First Paid Comedy Gig Became My Worst Nightmare

Chris Davis
Human Parts

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Making the crowd laugh — or at least trying to — at a comedy gig that feels more like a fashion show for zoot suits

Comedians have these things called hell gigs, a phrase we all know. Hell gigs are those shows where you’re set up to fail from the start. The crowd is awful, the venue is awful, and even the ride there is awful. Not only do you bomb — meaning your jokes don’t land or they’re just not right for the audience — but you never really had a chance of succeeding in the first place. The only right move would have been not to go, but it’s a catch-22 — you don’t know it’s a hell gig until you’re there. I’ll never forget my first one.

The pandemic hit everyone in show business hard, but I’ll never forgive COVID for what it did to my career. March 2019 was the first month in my comedy career that I was booked every weekend at well-known comedy clubs, including my debut at The Laugh Factory. When live entertainment started to be a thing again, I was so relieved when I got a call from this woman — let’s call her Ethel, since I can’t quite remember her name. She offered me a spot on a paid comedy gig. Finally, a paid gig! I was so excited, I almost didn’t care if it was at a barnyard wedding for chickens.

She found me on Facebook and said she got my number from my website. I looked up her profile on Facebook, and she looked like a grandma, but not an average grandma; she looked more like Tyler Perry’s Madea…

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Chris Davis
Human Parts

Narrative Craftsman | Weaving Humor and Humanity into Everyday Stories