I was very excited to land a part on HBO's Room 104 and although my part is small I am excited to see it! It'll be premiering on Friday, November, 16th at Midnight. It's a very weird episode and I will get to utter the "F" word on HBO, which is every child's dream. However for every audition you book there's a lot that are just plain awkward. The following are my Top 5 Most Awkward Audtions...ENJOY!
NUMBER 5: THE MAD TV AUDITION - The Quarter Trick
In 2002 I auditioned for MAD TV. I don't do a lot of impressions or characters. My big one was going to be Norm MacDonald as a Deli Clerk ("Number 7...I don't know if you guys heard about this, but a real tragedy. Apparently 7 ate 9.")
I opened with a character. Master karate expert named, Kim Su Wycheski. He studied karate at the YMCA. The big joke was going to be my amazing speed and agility. I would demonstrate this by catching quarters from my forearm into my hand like in the classic 1977 Happy Days episode where Fonzie's cousin, Angelo, becomes the world record holder for catching quarters. Except I didn't catch the quarters...I completely whiffed and they all went flying at the casting directors...this was at the start of my 3 minute audition. All I remember was the casting directors blindly trying to block the quarters. I lost the part, two dollars worth of quarters, and a little bit of pride that day.
NUMBER 4: MY FIRST L.A. AUDITION - "Wanna wrestle."
I moved to Los Angeles in 2001 and my agent, who is still my agent to this day, sent me on an audition to Downtown LA. While Downtown LA has been revitalized in the last few years, in 2001 it looked like the post-apocalypse First sign of trouble, the audition was in a basement. There aren't many basements in downtown LA, but I found one. The building itself looked almost abandoned and I saw a scribbled sign on the door of a room that said, "WRESTLING AUDITION. PLEASE ENTER." BAD SIGN. I walked in and there were wrestling mats everywhere.
Against one of the rolled up mats sat a grizzled man in his 50s and he offered me a seat next to him. I obliged. He went on to explain that he had found wrestling to have healing powers for him and he was doing a documentary about it. For the audition he said we could wrestle each other...I was pretty sure that's not how auditions worked so I said sorry I don't wrestle and left. Legend has it the building was haunted and the room I was in never existed, but sometimes late at night you can hear a perverted ghost whisper, "Wanna wrestle."
NUMBER 3: THE COLLEGE AUDITION: ACAPELLA
One of the better paying gigs in stand up are college gigs. In 2000 I got booked to audition for NACA (National Association for Campus Activities) in Utica, New York. Basically colleges would be looking for comedians and musicians for their campus events. I was pretty excited and got the brochure for the event...some pretty heavy hitters as you can see.
I would be performing at 10am on Saturday...the day after St. Patrick's Day...for college students. It was absolutely the worst. My act was pretty weird at the time and I went up after a Third Eye Blind acapella cover band and the audience loved them. Then I got out there...the audience was so hung over, people had their heads down on the table. I'll be honest I wasn't right for the schools at this point. I sang a song about a potato, I told a long winded joke that went nowhere and if I would've known the words to Semi Charmed Kind of Life I might've launched into it. It was the longest 15 minutes of my life. I still have flashbacks to this gig. To top it off on the drive back to the airport, I got my very first speeding ticket.
2. THE INDIGESTION AUDITION: Godzilla
Every once in a while, you get an audition you're just perfect for...I'm talking of course about an ad for indigestion. If there's one thing I can act it's "indigestion", I'll even go all method actor on you and have actual indigestion during the audition. I was ready to go on this one. When I walked in the casting director explained I would be at the beach when I would hear a Godzilla-like roar, which would be my indigestion. I would react in horror to this.
Easy enough, but then came the second part of the instructions: "Now, take off your shirt." I would've done some push ups in the lobby and for the past 10 years if I'd known this, but there was no turning back or front for that matter. I did as instructed and then he said, "Sit in that beach chair." It doesn't get more unflattering then pale, shirtless guy on a beach chair. I reacted in horror to Godzilla, but probably more to the fact that I was shirtless and unfortunately did not land the part of Guy with Indigestion.
1. THE GRASS AUDTION: Nailed it!
The final most awkward audition is actually a bit inspiring. The audition was a Public Service Announcement for residents of Denver to limit the watering of their grass (probably because everyone in Denver is so high and they forget to turn off their water.) I went in and they paired everyone up, which is always a risk. I remember one time I went in and they paired me with someone to improvise us breaking into a house and I handed the person a paper clip and he said, "That's not a paper clip, that's a piece of toast." Didn't get that one either, but I digress. They paired me with a friend of mine, which was great! We went in and did the scenario and the casting director first said to my friend, "Great job!" and then she turned to me and said, "You're not present. Let's try it again!" Uff! I'm not sure how you come back from that. We did the scene again and that was it.
I figured I wouldn't get a call back, but lo and behold I did. I went in for the callback and booked the job. I felt really good booking this one because auditioning is tough enough without someone questioning your work ethic and talent. I even sent the casting director a sincere thank you note afterward. The spot is below and I think you can see I'm pretty present.