I got into the comedy show Sweat last night. Warning: I'd gotten myself into an exceptionally sour mood last night, and so much damn energy was being sucked up by my mood that more things than normal were awkward. I wanted to snap at people; I didn't. I felt constantly on the verge of walking into stuff. You're going to screw up something, I felt; things aren't going to work. So inwardly I'm battling with myself and my mood, and thinking Okay, damn it, I NEED TO LAUGH.
And then I found out the show was sold out.
I actually fake-cried and flopped onto the ticket counter when I found that out. Right, something DEFINITELY didn't go right. Then I got a hold of myself as much as I was capable last night and steeled myself for doing something else when the ticket counter person said I could get on the waiting list. I thanked her and joined it, then sat down and waited, still stewing in my mood and trying to do what stews can't do, which is CLIMB OUT OF THE STEW POT, I mean climb out of the mood. Yeah, last night I wasn't a fun date. Sometimes being an intense person SUCKS.
But then I did get into the show thanks to people with tickets not showing up, and I did laugh. At conceptual weirdness, often, but I'm an Andy Kaufman appreciator, I can appreciate that. It doesn't always have to be obvious joking. Awkward pauses and grimacing can be funny, too.
Discovery! Comedy can be done in the dark. (Another way it's like sex!) Most of one Sweat sketch was done with all the lights off.
Among the more straightforward sketches: a studio apartment with a REALLY AWKWARD billboard right outside the window. Back-up singers trying to get a song right. A sweat lodge.
But one of the more performance art-y bits was with one guy looking tense, dramatic, worried and ready to cry and/or grimace while making cake. No real punchline, not even an obvious joke, but somehow it worked. I know from being intense. I know it can look funny. Another bit started out intentionally lame but only so it could get critiqued from an unexpected direction, and the result was both weirder and funnier.
Y'know, it's rare that I review comedy. I'm feeling my way through it and not wanting to spoil stuff. Jokes can die like shattered snails in my grip, so let's just say I'm trying real hard not to mishandle the jokes. Again, the show wasn't quite what I'd expected -- somehow I'd gotten the impression that it was improv, but it's only as improvised as any live show might be when the performers get different reactions to stuff -- so I had to get past that mental block. While, as I said, dealing with A Mood.
But! I laughed. Sweat did its job.