July 16, 2009

The Gods Hath Spoken…


Well, I did what I swore to myself that I absolutely would not do during the whole fringe week.

I read a review of my show.

By fluke, mind you. I was trying to see if the God awful show I had just paid $9 to suffer through had a review yet. So when mine eventually came out, I’d have something to compare it to. While going down the list of reviews online, I came across a very familiar face…

“Hey…THAT’S ME!!”

And then I saw it. The rating.

See I wanted to stay away from the reviews for both sides of this scale. On one hand, if the review was great, I might get cocky and over-confident for the rest of the run and really leave people with a bad taste for any future work I do. But if it’s a bad review…You know the saying, “Don’t dish it out if you can’t take it?” I can’t take criticism. I’m a closet crier when nobody’s around. And I didn’t want a bad review to make me depressed and want to hang my head in shame for the rest of the performances.

I’m stalling. Here’s the review:

“2 Stars”:

Jason Brasher has the makings of a good storyteller — gift for gab, engaging presence, mischievous streak a mile wide — and he obviously loves being the centre of attention. He’s that life-of-the-party guy who’s always cracking up his friends with those "you shoulda been there" yarns, spun out of mundane situations that always manage to take a bizarre turn.
But that guy needs more than a microphone to turn his party shtick into an hour-long show. Brasher has a knack for physical comedy, but his disjointed anecdotes are all set-up and no punchline. And since there’s never a moral or conclusion — or a point, really — they don’t quite cut it as stories, either.

The Winnipegger, who’s making his stage debut here, was probably a hoot as a bartender. But given the gross tales he tells out of school, I don’t know that I’d want to be one of his massage clients.


Ouch.

I read this in between going from one play to another this evening. I was in a great mood after seeing a magic show in one venue and about to see another play later tonight that discusses the idea of feminism in a world where everyone is obsessing over Britney’s va-jay-jay. Something I’ve thought about a great deal. Not Brit’s nether regions, the feminism idea.

But I read this review in between shows. Needless to say, I was gutted. I always wondered what those guys who write screenplays about their lives feel like when a reviewer gives them a shit review. It’s on par with saying, “Your life is shit.” I now know how they feel.

I walked to the theatre for my “feminism-discussion play” and tried to convince myself that it was the wind that was making my eyes water as I walked across the street. But when I had to duck into a corner to compose myself, I guess I wasn’t fooling anyone. I could barely look at other attendees at the play for fear that they read this review and recognized my grill from the posters. That they would point and mumble to one another, something to the effect of, “Don’t go see his show…he only got 2 stars!”

As I sat through what is one fantastic play, I thought about what exactly was written in that review.

“a good storyteller — gift for gab, engaging presence, mischievous streak a mile wide”

Well that’s pretty cool! The review isn’t dissing me as a person…I’m the part they actually like!

“and he obviously loves being the centre of attention.”

Damn skippy I do! If you were fueled on Pepsi 24/7 and lived the life I live, you’d be crackling with energy, bouncing in your seat, yelping, “LOOK-IT-ME, LOOK-IT-ME!!!”

“He’s that life-of-the-party guy”

Okay…that’s the part that’s actually funny to me. You people reading this are not to know the following, but on any given night, I am in bed by 10 pm, reading one of the 10-20 books stacked by my nightstand, or I am doing an all-nighter playing some epically long video game. I don’t go out to parties; much less socialize more than once a month. I’m a 31 semi-agoraphobic, part-time misanthrope.

Who is ALWAYS the life of the party…but on a monthly basis only. Get yer facts straight there, review person!

“who’s always cracking up his friends with those "you shoulda been there" yarns, spun out of mundane situations that always manage to take a bizarre turn.”

THAT! That right there is the point of my show. I’m not an actor, and I don’t pretend to be one either. All I have are a shit load of stories that take place during my lifetime that are there to make people laugh. I have no message, no pearls of wisdom, no God-like statement to make to the masses. And that’s the point! It all comes out of the everyday stuff that just about anybody can or has lived through. When you get to the end of this rant, you’ll see what I mean.

If the review stopped right there, even with the two star rating, I’d be extremely happy. Somebody gets me. But then it delves into the pit of my deepest fears.

“Brasher has a knack for physical comedy, but his disjointed anecdotes are all set-up and no punchline.”

That’s what they call a back-handed compliment, yes? I do agree my stories don’t have punch-lines…because my life as a whole isn’t a joke, and it’s not done yet. So even I don’t know the punch-line. And I don’t know many people who go through life with a definite conclusion to their everyday events or a rhyme and reason to things they live through.

Oh and “p.s.” review person. My spell check says that “punchline” is a two letter word. So, fuck-you-very-much.

HAH! There’s a “punchline” for ya!

“And since there’s never a moral or conclusion — or a point, really — they don’t quite cut it as stories, either.”

This part, I kinda have to agree with the reviewer. There are no morals to my stories, and granted, there’s no real point. It’s just me telling stories to make people laugh. I’m sorry they don’t “cut it” as a story to the reviewers standards, but I’ll stick with good ol’ Webster’s for that one:

Story - [stawr-ee, stohr-ee] noun, plural -ries, verb, -ried, -ry⋅ing.

A narrative, either true or fictitious, in prose or verse, designed to interest, amuse, or instruct the hearer or reader; tale.


I believe I have achieved a “story” by that definition.

The last bit that was written was the real mean part. SO mean that I don’t want it to appear more than once in this “story”. But when I break it down, the review is pretty accurate. What I set out to do is just tell my tales and get some laughs, and maybe, if I’m lucky, a few individuals will get just that much more inspired, and that much less scared to work up the courage to go out and tell the rest of the world their stories, their adventures, their joys and sorrows, that it is possible to do what you thought was impossible.

And even though some may not like it, it’s unique, it’s true, and you have in fact achieved something. One of the biggest influences on doing my show the way I chose to do it is Henry Rollins. A guy who spends most of his life on a stage telling people what he did that day, that week, that month, where he’s been what he thought, and how balls-out funny life really is. He says, very frequently, “I refuse to live my life under a rock,” and I refuse to let one bad critic make me think any less of myself.

Plus, reviewers get paid by the word and I just copy and pasted her entire little review on here. She won’t see a dime for that, so hah hah, plagiarisms a bitch!

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