The comedic lesson of Dramamine
“Irrelativity” is on the road as Barry tours his solo shows through the U.S. and Canada this summer.You learn things as you go through life, right? That’s kinda the whole point, as I see it. You’re born, you learn some stuff, maybe teach some stuff, then you split. Game over. Some people learn more than others, of course, and some, like me, just kinda learn the same few things over and over.What I’ve just learned – again – is that Dramamine is a very dangerous drug.See, I tend to get a bit motion-sick, so when I fly I have to medicate myself like you would a nervous pet – I fill myself full of nausea-reducing, sleep-inducing drugs, trying my best to time it perfectly so that the drowsiness sets in just as the seat belt lecture starts. If all goes well, the next thing I know a stewardess is shaking me awake on an empty plane telling me that I have to leave now. This isn’t really the first thing I want people to know about me, the whole I-get-sick-to-my-tummy bit, so imagine my delight when I found myself saying all this stuff out loud to the people with whom I’ll be spending the next 10 days.I staggered into the official Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival artist meet-and-greet reception late, after the formal part of the meeting was over, and was asked, quite unexpectedly, to introduce myself to the group of 20 or so.”Fine, no problem,” that one part of my brain not affected by Dramamine thought. “I’ll just say that I live in Aspen and that my show is about the time I was in a religious cult. I won’t mention how jacked up on Dramamine I am at the moment. Because, really, who would want to know all that?”Alas, the part of my brain responsible for public speaking didn’t get this memo, and I went right into talking about my Dramamine usage, how tweaked I was on it at the moment, how the whole room seemed to be going wuh-wuh-wuh, etc. …As I droned on about the pleasures of taking Dramamine recreationally, I thought, “Haven’t I learned this already? Haven’t I learned to not talk for several hours after the flight? Why am I still talking? And how am I able to think this stuff WHILE talking? Maybe Dramamine really IS a good recreational drug. Maybe I’ll reiterate that point in my little speech, which is still going on at the moment … “My show, “Jesus In Montana,” opened at 11:15 Friday night. The audience was small and seemed a bit tired. I was exactly the opposite – talking fast and having the best possible time I could. It’s never fun to stand up and do your little comedy thing to people who aren’t doing much laughing. But it’s all part of the learning process. In this case, learning that just because people aren’t laughing doesn’t mean they aren’t having a good time. Or something. I’m sure there was something for me to learn that night.My second show, of the seven I’ll be doing this week, was even later – 11:45 the next night. But this crowd was lively and awake and excited. A few yawns here and there toward the end, but I’d been talking constantly for nearly an hour at that point, so I can see a yawn and not take it personally. Thus far in my very short career as a performer, I’ve had more than one person fall asleep during a show. At a show I did last year, a friend of a friend sat right up front and proceeded to nap. And I don’t mean a gentle nodding-off, I mean full-on slumped down in her chair, head flopped sideways, mouth wide open, out cold. Again, you can’t take this personally. For the protection of your own ego, you have to place the blame elsewhere, and in her case I think it’s obvious where it belongs – though why she felt the need to take Dramamine before my show is still a mystery.Read more about Barry’s tour at http://www.barrysmith.com.
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The high cost of living in the Roaring Fork Valley is one of the factors that makes our population perpetually restless and transient.