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Kevin Tit is a D.C. based stand up who is recording an album, currently titled Kevin Tit Records an Album Nobody Asked For, on Saturday, August 25 at Rhizome. He has been to Florida.

In 2016, I was invited to do comedy on the fifteenth year of one of the largest and longest running punk rock festivals in the country: The Fest, in Gainesville, Florida. Thousands of people from all over the world fly down to spend their Halloween weekends there year after year. It was a literal dream come true for me to be performing on the same festival as some of my favorite bands of all time and, it was also the first (and last) time I’d ever been to Florida.

Some close friends, my partner and I all squeezed in a car, left from D.C. on a Thursday morning and pulled into Florida early on Friday. I spent all those hours in the car nervously obsessing over what jokes I’d do for my big eight minute set on Saturday afternoon. Most comedy shows take place at night but this showcase started at 1 p.m., twelve hours after the last band closed out the first night of the festival. I assumed most people would be too hungover to want to go to a comedy show that early but to my surprise, by the time the comedy show started, the venue was packed.

I was probably the third or fourth comedian to go up after the host and I remember pounding a couple PBR tall boys being extra nervous about bombing cos I didn’t know any of the other comedians backstage. Everybody before me was doing extremely well and the crowd was loving the show. Then, it was my turn. I can’t remember what I opened up with but I was doing well. I remember feeling genuine joy in my heart and ready to close my set out strong. Then things took a turn for the worst.

I began to tell my strongest joke (at the time). The joke that was getting me real paid gigs. The joke that landed me on the festival. The one that everybody was going to remember. The audience was on board and eagerly anticipating the punchline. That was the moment the microphone shut off. I tapped it a couple times; nothing. I looked at the sound guy and he yelled, loud enough for everybody in the room to hear, “You’re done”. I had missed the one minute light. I went over my time. I got abruptly cut off during my best joke on the biggest show I had ever done.

I’ve seen comics run the light before and get lectured afterwards but I’ve never seen anybody just get their microphone cut off mid-joke. I was mortified. What’s worse is that I was the only comedian on the entire festival who had this happen and all of the others heard about it. I found the host after the show and apologized for going over my time and they insisted that it wasn’t a big deal but I couldn’t get over it. In my mind, It was a huge deal.

I remember talking to one of my favorite comedians, Kyle Kinane, and him saying, “I heard somebody got their mic cut,” and having to admit that it was me. I was so upset I ended up getting black out drunk that night which led to me later convincing my friends to let me join their band on stage during their set. It was past midnight, I had been drinking for almost twelve hours and I was acting like a damn fool during their set. I hardly remember it.

I woke up the next day with that sinking feeling in my gut. The type of horrible, shameful feeling I normally get after a night of getting too drunk to remember details of the previous day. It was a rookie mistake and an absolute nightmare. I’m scarred by that set. I didn’t get kicked out from any bars or ruin any friendships after that night but I also haven’t been invited back to that festival. I guess the silver lining is, I haven’t missed the one minute light since.

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