I start off my set with my line about how I’m thirty-nine percent German. Nothing. Next, I go into my bit on how I would like to live in Vietnam because I feel like I’ve seen enough movies and I like small boats. Nothing, just stares coming from Louis’s Italian Restaurant and Comedy Stop.
After my shortened set Louis takes me aside and tells me it’s just not working, I need to take some time off and work on my act. The jokes work, but your presentation is off. This is what Louis tells me.
Considering I need a job, and I’m lazy I take a job in Louis’s kitchen as a chef. My days are spent writing more jokes, working on my presentation. Nights, are preparing pasta and chicken parmesan. It’s at night when I meet Richie, who despite a nightly slot as a comedian, continues to work in the kitchen. A week later, while preparing a meat sauce for a penne pasta dish, I ask Richie for some onions and mushrooms, to spice it up. Ritchie goes into the back somewhere, hands me a bag and tells me to work on my presentation. When I ask him how, he looks down at me, then over at my sauce and just frowns. That night, four comedians went up on the stage, all killed, leaving the audience in stitches, also, my new meat sauce a hit, Louis told me it was presented well.
Weeks pass, comedians continue to laugh, the sauce becomes legendary. Eventually, the comedians leave, looking for bigger gigs. Television shows. Louis approaches, there’s an opening, it’s a Monday which is a tough night, but it’s my big chance. I’ve been working on my presentation.
I start with my bit on how my mother told me to always look both ways, not take candy from strangers, but never said anything about not going into the white van. The room explodes with laughter. I continue with my German line. Kills. At one point, an African American gentleman falls off his chair from laughing so hard. I continue with my Vietnam joke. Standing ovation.
I look to the back of the room where Louis is giving me a thumbs up. I smile, I finally got my presentation right. That, or it’s the hallucinogen mushrooms used in the meat sauce. Either way, I’m still thirty-nine percent German.
David S. Grant is the author of ten published books. His latest novel, “BLOOD: The New Red” is now available at SILVERTHOUGHT PRESS. Follow David on Twitter: .david_s_grant.