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HOW TO CHIP AWAY AT YOUR OWN CONFIDENCE.
As the Premium Blend taping inches closer, I've noticed things in my behavior have changed:
- I completely stopped drinking alcohol around August 1st. This was not a principled or righteous decision. I just realized that, as I was doing more and more shows, every single weeknight and weekend night was turning into an opportunity to drink. Every one of them. And I ordinarily like to drink (really, really like to drink, in fact) before a show, to quiet the demons, and then have a couple more drinks after a show, to release those very same demons in a boozy, Kahlua-scented walpurgisnacht. But I figured it would be nice to show up for my taping without the extra sheen of bloated, waxy, hollow-eyed alcoholism I figured would be inevitable if I followed my normal comedy show drinking patterns this month. Naturally, within 60 minutes of stepping off stage, I will be so itchy to get drunk that I'll burst on to the sidewalk and chug a half-gallon of unfiltered moonshine out of a hobo's thermos/latrine as the opportunity presents itself. And this being New York City, it will present itself, possibly before I even leave the theater.
- I've been watching old stand-up tapes with a clinical eye, and cringing at their content. I had hoped I'd be able to use this research to figure out what sorts of little details worked well, and how I looked to an audience. What it's turned into, however, is a nightly ritual of me fast-forwarding through the tapes to watch myself fidget with the mic stand at superhuman speeds. Even my closest friends and biggest supporters tell me I have an obsessive-compulsive disorder with regards to adjusting the height of the mic stand. In fact, my intimacy with the microphone stand is so great that there have been shows where, in a split second moment of self-consciousness, I've noticed that somehow I've gotten myself into this unusual position onstage where I'm actually standing on the base of the mic stand, with my feet planted on either side of the neck, and my arms are totally wrapped around the entire contraption while both hands grip the mic Bono-style. It looks like I'm making babies with the mic stand, and you know what? I AM.
- I've hired a hype man. Since I'm not a very high-energy comedian, he's going to join me onstage, shake up a bottle of MOET, and spray it on the audience before every one of my jokes. Then, after people laugh, he's going to taunt them by saying, "This ain't Six Feet Under, mothafuckas! Your asses ain't trapped in a closet with R. Kelly so I don't know why you gotta be all quiet like that and shit. Get live in here! I want to hear you mothafuckas laughin' all the way up across 110th Street. Now make some noise, you silly-ass bitches!!!" Then he'll fire blanks into the air and set his pit bulls loose on the crowd. I think it will make me seem more "professional."
- I've started exercising more frequently than I have in years. I don't know why, because I'm not really very good at it. I even worked out with a trainer for a little bit, so I could have an expert tell me how bad I am at exercising. Within five minutes of our first session, he put me through a humiliating battery of exercises, beginning with Varsity football-style suicide sprints, followed by a set of assisted-suicide sprints, non-consensual push-ups, puppetry of the penis, and gymkata. Then he just punched me in the stomach while I counted to thirty.
- I bought a cigarette boat. In hindsight, that might have been a premature decision. It goes really fast, and makes my ears go pop.
- I'm acting more gay, because I read that most celebrities are gay. I'm just hedging my bets right now.
- I've filed for a legal name change, from "Todd Levin" to "National Lampoon's Todd Levin."