THIS IS WHAT I DO!
Can I be honest with you? My spoken word shows are good. Call them stand-up, call them one-man shows; I wish I knew what the heck to call them. But I do know they're good. Usually, they're really good. Almost always, people show up having no idea what to expect, and walk away feeling like they've been part of something much better than they were expecting.
But to be equally honest, I have done a very poor job promoting what I do. Yes, I do get my plugs in - probably way too many of them. But very few people even know what the heck it is that I'm plugging. Over the past year, I kept waiting for WWE to embrace what I did, and take me under their wing. The way I saw it, World Wrestling Entertainment could almost instantly dip a giant foot into the waters of a whole new brand of entertainment with a single USA special, DVD release or promotion of a multi-media one-man-show. In retrospect, I wish I'd just showed up in Stamford, CT, thrown a copy of the "Life" section of USA today with Mike Tyson's story on the cover and said "if we can't do a better one-man show than Mike Tyson, we're all in trouble."
I still think WWE is eventually going to get it. Maybe my Hall of Fame speech will help. Sure, it was a little long, with no real emotionally stirring closing statement. And I've kicked myself in the butt (figuratively) many times for not bringing the speech home after that ad-lib elbow gift from the wrestling Gods - and/or Chris Jericho, and CM Punk - knowing instinctively that the moment couldn't possibly get any more perfect. But, at the very least, I showed I could entertain a large crowd with some tales of wrestling past.
But that speech - as special as it was - is not indicative of what I do. But THIS footage is. Filmed at last summer's Edinburgh Fringe Festival with just a single camera at the side of the stage, I think it captures the real FEEL of what one of my shows is like. Unlike my naive decision to open the Montreal festival with a story I'd neither written out or told in public, this footage from The Fringe contains material I'd worked on for quite a while. I could have edited out my dealings with a heckler, or the helpful sexual suggestion from a spirited female fan, but opted not to. I think they provide a further sense of what my show is about.
I long ago accepted that I won't ever compete on a laugh-for-laugh basis with a guy like Louie CK, or a woman like Amy Schumer, or any one of a hundred (probably way more) talented performers who are more polished, more professional, and flat-out funnier than I'll ever be. But I wouldn't trade places with them, even if I could. I like telling my stories, my way, to my fans. I'm happy when I'm up there, on stage, connecting with an audience. There are still some nights when I take my emotional lumps out there and wonder what I'm doing, and why I'm doing it. Trust me, doing autograph signings is far easier, far safer, and up until recently, far more financially rewarding. But when I watch this footage (which I hope you will too) it all seems crystal clear. It's the closes thing I've ever felt to being in the ring..without a tooth stuck in my nose.