On August 17th and 18th I had a series of brutal voice-over sessions where I was required to speak fluent Spanish. This proved troublesome for me, considering that I have no background in Spanish whatsoever. But between the language coach and an average of eighty-seven takes per word I managed to stumble through it. I went back home after the last session and, thinking that the next few days were mine to prepare for my next road date, fixed myself a sandwich and started wasting time on the internet like only I can.
I was only halfway through the sandwich and even less of the way through the
Wikipedia entry for “Jethro Tull (band)” — redirected from “Jethro Tull (agriculturalist)” — when my phone rang. It was my manager. I rarely get phone calls from my manager. He is usually very busy dealing with his stable of wealthy, successful clients. In fact, if my manager somehow knew about a terrorist plot to blow up my house with me in it, I would estimate that there is about a 25% chance that he would get around to calling me to warn me before it happened. So I figured this was important.
It was. Turns out that Saturday Night Live finally got around to looking at the materials he had sent them on my behalf and they wanted me to audition. This was good news. The bad news was that my audition was on Thursday — and this was Tuesday. Sandwich down.
Thus immediately began a mad scramble to change my preexisting travel plans for the week, coordinate new travel plans with NBC, and — most importantly — figure out what the hell I was going to actually do for the audition. I had been submitted for this a while back and we hadn’t heard anything, so I had sort of given up on it by this point. Luckily, I was going straight to the ‘final’ audition and I knew they were looking at me specifically for impressions, so I didn’t have to worry about any ‘original characters’ that they usually request from auditioners. I guess I’ll just have to save “Irrationally Afraid of Bologna Guy” for YouTube.
Early the next morning I flew to NYC and got to the midtown hotel where they were putting me up. There I continued the process of reworking parts of my act, writing new bits, and cobbling them all into audition form. My manager got there in the afternoon, and that evening we trucked around Manhattan going to various comedy clubs so I could work on snippets of the audition on stage. I would have preferred to just work on it alone in the room, but he was insistent, and it probably didn’t hurt. I got to go up at Caroline’s and, even cooler, the Comedy Cellar. It is extremely difficult to get a set there if they don’t know you. But paradoxically, the very reason I got to go up hog-tied me into doing a set that I never would have wanted to do at the Cellar. An audition isn’t a stand-up set and vice-versa.
My audition wasn’t until the afternoon, so I got to sleep in a little bit before I had to begin incessantly rehearsing my bullshit in my hotel room. My manager came by one last time and we went through my audition set together. We had had some disagreements about who exactly I was going to do impressions of (I was given seven minutes, by the way) but we got all that hammered out and eventually we were ready to go. We walked over to 30 Rockefeller Plaza, I got my little badge thingy, he bid me adieu and I went up to the eighth floor all pumped and ready to bring my shitstorm of mediocrity to the suits.
Long story short, I paced in a dressing room for an hour or so and then I did the audition and I was happy with how it went. I was on the actual Studio 8H stage (where the SNL host comes out) playing to a camera, and Lorne Michaels and other producers and writers were off to the side taking notes. Some of them actually laughed, which was nice. You are told not to necessarily expect that.
Obviously I didn’t get hired, nor did any of the other dozen or so males who were auditioning that day. They hired two chicks this season, one of whom has already said “fuck” live on air. But whether or not I am considered again in the future, this was definitely a long-term career goal that I can scratch off the to-do list. It was pretty mind-blowing to go through the whole process and experience, especially considering how little time I had to prepare. This business is nothing but running your act up the flagpole and seeing who salutes it. It was reaffirming to be able to do that at this level.
And if nothing else, I got to hang out with my comedy buddies Paul Oddo,