Opening Night at The Chucklin Priestman

ChucklingPriestmanComedyClubOpening-01This past Thursday night, May 8, 2008, one of my SL dreams came true … I ran the first show in my spanking new comedy club, The Chuckling Priestman. Co-owned by my RL and SL friend and colleague Chuckling Darwin (aka Derek Sweet), we hope The Chuckling Priestman will become the #1 comedy club in Second Life. As a club for comics, run by comics we hope to be able to provide the best comedy experience you can find in SL. If Thursday’s show was any indication, we are well on our way to achieving that goal.

For an opening night, the crowd was amazing. We had a solid crowd of 25 throughout the show, with other people coming in and out for part of the show. Over the course of the night, we had close to 50 people wander through the audience and listen to part of the show, and for a hastily organized Grand Opening, I was thrilled with the turnout.

The line-up was very solid as well. We were one comedian short, as Orionalation Carver, Pakistan’s #1 comic, who was scheduled to take the bullet for the show, couldn’t make it. Rumour had it, the guy from the Party Poker commercial was in the middle of a game, and hence taking all of Karachi’s available bandwidth for his victory dance. However, it turned out the truth was a little more bizarre … apparently, Orion’s RL avatar (aka Sami Shah) was taking care of business for his day job, stuck in a tiny hotel in the mountains of the Punjab, researching a major story for his news room. The 12 bytes per second dial up commection he had at the hotel didn’t seem to cut it for SL, so he wasn’t able to make it in for the show. As we speak, he is probably trying to get some villager to open up to him, while bullets whiz by his head. I gotta say I have a ton of respect for Sami, but I gotta think that comedy is a nice release for his stress. I mean seriously, after a day job of investigating suicide bombers and trying to get Islamic militants to open up their hearts to him, I’m thinking the odd heckler at a comedy club has got to be pretty damn easy to deal with.

With Orion stuck out of comms range, the bullet spot fell to Salamander Maroon, our British comic, and she definitely lived up to her tagline … “Quite funny, for an amphibian.” Sal has a fascinating take on both Second Life and First Life, and I always appreciate her efforts to do my North American timed shows, since she is usually doing the show at about 2AM her time. She always does a helluva job for the middle of the night, and given that I owe everything I do in SL to her, as she was the person who offered me my first stage time in Second Life, she will always have a reserved spot on my stage. I just wish she didn’t make jokes about my alt-avatar, ILoveSex69-666.

Following Salamander to the stage was comedy SL newcomer Akamu Hua. I first saw Akamu a couple of weeks ago at an open mic night at the Last Laugh, and his delivery is amazing for a comedy novice. His “off the top of his head” humour is pretty smart, and often takes a left turn from the expected direction, and its that unexpected punch-line and his solid delivery that made me sit up and take notice. I am hoping to have Akamu back for more sets as time goes on at the Chuckling Priestman, and I expect he’ll eventually turn into one of our headliners.

Quinn Lanzius hit the stage to follow Akamu, and showed us why he is quickly becoming one of the funniest comics in SL. Quinn doesn’t do comedy in the real world as he has a far more important job … he is a paramedic in New Orleans, regularly saving lives. In SL, however, he has developed into a solid comic with a strong stage presence and a very different perspective on real life. I have no idea how he manages to find humour in a day job full of car crashes and heart attacks, but he does an amazing job of it. I just hope, for his sake, that he eventually finds a way to get paid better for all his life-saving heroics, if only so his mother won’t keep telling him about his brother’s 401-K balance.

Anaka Blue took the stage following Quinn, and once again dove straight off into the extreme end of the pool. Anaka seems to have no filter between brain and mouth, and while I have NO idea how she manages to control herself enough to keep her day job as a teacher of 3 year olds, the stream of extreme consciousness works amazingly well for the comedy stage. Whether she is talking about Bush’s No Child Left Behind program, or about her parents blowing away her pet unicorn, execution style, on the side of the road, Anaka takes every bit to its most extreme end, with hilarious results.

I’d been doing MC duties through most of the night, but after Anaka was my time to take the stage for my main set. Following me, my co-owner Chuckling Darwin came out to close the show. As about the only comedian I know who can out-extreme Anaka, Chuck rocked the room as usual. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather be running this club with, so I am very happy he is a part of it.

It was a lot of work to put this club together. I’d initially bought a smaller building next door to the current club, and had it almost completely set up when i decided it was just too small. Since the larger space next door was open, I grabbed it, turning the original building into a private space for me and putting the club in the new building. I ended up doing a lot of the moving on my own, and put my virtual back out dragging all the furniture up the street to the new location. Still, given the success of Thursday night, and the reactions of the comics and crowd, I am thrilled with the way it all turned out.

I want to thank all the comics who came out, and of course the crowd as well. I couldn’t really have asked for a better opening, especially given how hastily I arranged it all, and I am looking forward to some great shows there in the future. I am slowly beginning to interest some of the other RL comics I work with to try the game, and I hope the Chuckling Priestman will become their default comedy home in SL. We’ve still not put together a regular schedule of shows yet, so stay tuned to the club’s SL group, “Chuckling Priestman Comedy Club” for details on upcoming shows, and if you aren’t yet a member of the group yet, head over to the club and click any of the Grand Opening cubes you see around for an invite and a free Chuckling Priestman T-Shirt.

Thanks again to all the comics, and crowd, that came out to our first show. I had a fantastic time, and I am looking forward to a lot of great shows in the future. Here’s to the future …

SalamanderMaroonUpsideDownPerspectiveQuinnLanziusAndCrowd01WatchingAnakaBlueUpsideDownChucklingDarwinAndCrowd

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