Trevor Immelman, Big Black Dildos, Ham Sandwiches, Whippings And The Abandonment Of Game Plans

This is BALLS DEEP With Big Daddy Drew (Balls® is a registered trademark and has been used with the expressed written consent of AJ Daulerio). It's gonna be like an SI Point After column, only with dick jokes. You can email him here.

There are two notable comedy clubs in Manhattan that hold amateur nights. The first is the New York Comedy Club, which is located in the Murray Hill area. The second is Stand Up NY, which is on the Upper West Side. If you want to get on stage for Amateur Night at either club, you have to call in advance, guarantee a certain number of friends will be coming with you (usually 10 or more), and that they will all pay full cover and two-drink minimum. Do that, and you get five minutes.

When you get to the club, you have to check in the with the club manager. Then, you have to show him all the people you rounded up. Then he says he'll let you know when you're up. Some nights, they have a roster of 20 comics, sometimes more. And they all go long. ALWAYS. You, Mr. Amateur, are located beyond the bottom of that roster. Not only are you likely to be last, but you are dead certain to be repeatedly bumped down even further should a comic friend of the manager show up and ask to do a 15-minute set. And they always do.

You then spend the next two hours or so drinking at the bar, and occasionally going back to the manager to ask when you're up. Your friends will pop out occasionally to ask when you're up. You tell them you don't know, and then they leave.

It's akin to showing up at a fancy restaurant that doesn't accept reservations, and then checking in with the maitre'd to see if your table's ready. Over. And over. And just when you think you're about to get to be seated, just when this couple you've been eye-drilling all night long finally pays their bill and gets up, and they reset the table, and you're convinced that that is YOUR fucking table... FUCK! Someone else is up.

Then, just when you're about ready to throw up your hands, when you've reached that point where you can't decide if you should cut your losses, or if you should stay forever because you've already waited that long anyway, they shout your name. You're up.

I did this three times. I was horrible all three times. Stand-up comedy isn't a profession for pussies, and as a card-carrying SuperGash of the highest order, I wasn't close to being cut out for it.

Ever had to take an oral test in school? Sucked, didn't it? You had to memorize all kinds of horrible shit. Well, stand-up comedy is just like that. You're giving a presentation. And not only do you have to remember every single word, you have to remember the exact tone and diction of every goddamn word you use. Then, if you want to be successful, you have to make sure you do it that way every night in every town you visit. For years. And, even if you do it all correctly, that's no guarantee anyone's gonna laugh at your stupid jokes.

In my case, I didn't even have jokes. I wish I could explain why I performed the bits I'm about to describe, but I have no explanation. All you need to know is that they failed. You will not need a degree in Comedic Pyramid Engineering to figure out why.

First Gig: New York Comedy Club

The NYCC is divided into two rooms: a main stage, and a smaller room that allows the club to do two shows at once. My first time there, I was assigned to the back room. The club is painted black from wall to wall and floor to ceiling. The NYC edition of Shecky's bar guide once said the club's environment was better suited to a rape than to laughter (though I hardly see why the two need be mutually exclusive). So it's not the easiest place to get a laugh.

I didn't know this at the time, but Amateur Night that night wasn't just restricted to comedy. There was singing, and dancing, and probably people juggling balls of yarn and shit. Stuttering John was also there. Why? I don't know. No matter. I got completely shitfaced, then ambled up to one of my fellow amateurs and asked him to do me a favor.

Me: Listen, I need you to take this black marker and write FUCK ME in big letters across my chest.

Other Comic: Why?

Me: I dunno. 'Cause it'll be funny.

Other Comic: Whatever you say. (writes the words)

The person on before me was an 18-year old girl singing "I Could Have Danced All Night" from "My Fair Lady," with her family in attendance.

After she finished, I was called onstage. My intention was to fake being nervous, but there was no need, for I was already genuinely terrified. After "acting" scared for a moment, I turned my back on the audience, opened my shirt and flashed the words to the crowd. Then I took off my belt, handed it to my friend Jeremy, and had him whip me repeatedly. Then, I faked having an orgasm. If this you find less "funny" than "disturbing" or "uncommonly gay," then you have the exact same reaction the crowd did. My goal was to shock the crowd. I forgot the whole part about not making them want to vomit.

Oh, and I had it videotaped.

Second Gig: New York Comedy Club

The next time I made it to the NYCC, they let me on the main stage. Clearly, they had forgotten what had happened the first time. I was stoned. And drunk. This time, I made a ham sandwich for a guy in the crowd and made him eat it. Why? Again, I have no explanation. Then, I took out a big black dildo and gave all the women in the audience instructions for giving their boyfriend a handjob.

I had to buy this dildo at a sex shop the day before. I expected this to be an awkward process, filled with all sorts of comedic misunderstandings. But when I went up to the counter, the cashier didn't even fucking blink. I should have known better. The man worked in a goddamn sex shop. A big white dude throwing down $15 for a giant black rubber cock (with balls) was the most normal shit he saw all day. The rest of the day he was selling spiked anal beads to 60-year-old men and their 13-year-old Haitian "pool toys." A big black dildo was jayvee shit to him.

Third Gig: Stand Up NY

After my first two times on stage, I thought I would try and scrap the Kaufmanesque stuff (which wasn't Kaufmanesque at all, because it sucked), and just tell normal jokes. I spent weeks writing material and honing it down to a few minutes. I rehearsed and rehearsed and rehearsed. I resolved to go onstage sober to make sure my mind was clear.

That night, everyone at my office showed up. When they finally called my name, I went up. When I got onstage, a giant fucking light shined in my face. The only other thing visible to me besides the microphone was the red light on the video camera. I couldn't see anyone. I couldn't hear anyone. I felt like I was underwater. Time slowed to nothing. I tried to access the jokes in my brain, but it was like the active part of my mind had been locked in a vault somewhere far away.

I had felt this way the previous two times I had tried standup, but at least those times I had a physical gimmick to fall back on: a very, very, very gay physical gimmick. There were props I brought with me those two times that helped cue me as to what the fuck to do. Writing FUCK ME on your chest also helps in those instances. It was like one giant crib note.

My brain felt like it was being choked. Have you ever gone on a bad date with someone, or a long distance drive with a co-worker you have nothing in common with? And you search frantically in your mind for something to talk about, only there's nothing? And any subject you bring up is an automatic dead end? This was the kind of non-conversation I was having with myself. And, in that moment, I flashbacked to the other times in my life when I had experienced a similar feeling.

Those, naturally, were the handful of times I saw live action in a football game.

When you play football, or any sport, you're drilled and drilled by coaches so that, in theory, you will know exactly what to do once you take the field. I had a tiny, vague grasp of how I was supposed to play o-line. I listened in practice. I knew the playbook. Kinda. If there was a dude in front of me, I was supposed to block him. If there were no guy, I was supposed to block someone else based upon where the play was going and how the defense was aligned. There was a game plan. It shouldn't have been hard to remember.

Oh, but it was. When the whistle blew, not only did I often forget what to do, but I forgot how to perform a basic motor function of any kind. I saw Martin Scorsese interviewed once, and he said he didn't like acting in movies because he'd forget how to walk. The camera would go on him, and he'd become so self-conscious that the natural movement of walking became something labored, and weird. That's what happened to me on that field. And on that stage.

It's happened when I've gone on dates, or stepped up to bat in Little League, or taken a golf lesson only to completely abandon my technique whenever a stranger joined my foursome. The game plan got completely thrown out the window. Not because I didn't practice, or I didn't care. It was the fact that, because other people were watching me, I began watching myself, taking note of every goddamn thing going on inside me. Am I sweating? Do I look stupid? Is my dick erect and I'm not aware of it? You can't focus on what to do when you can't stop focusing on yourself.

And that's what has always amazed me about people, be they athletes or whoever, who can pull themselves out of that trance (or avoid it altogether) and thrive in the spotlight, even appear more at ease than the audience. Dave Chappelle does it when he's on stage. Trevor Immelman did it at the Masters on Sunday. In fact, not only did Immelman pull it off when everyone was looking at him, but he kept doing it over the course of four fucking days, as the audience swelled around him. And that is impressive. He didn't have a big black dildo in his hands when he did it, but still. Impressive.

Athletes aren't always able to do this. Ever see a boxer get lectured by his trainer in the corner and then go out and follow none of the trainer's instructions? It's not necessarily because he's a shitty listener. It's probably because he can't snap out of it. And sometimes, none of us can. But sports gives us people who, every day, block all that shit out and perform. And that's why I watch. Because I sure as shit can't do that.

Back at Stand Up NY, I managed to remember half my material (including a joke about Trent Lott. Timely!), get one or two laughs, and then shuffle off stage without embarrassing myself. I went back with my friends in the audience. The next comedian up was Tom Cotter. Tom Cotter was a professional. He knew how to handle his shit.

And I have never appreciated a good dog humping joke more.