Okay, it will actually be the sixth time. But I’ve never been very good at math. Which makes being a computer programmer challenging.
Let me explain.
I have performed comedy in front of an audience 5 times now.
The first time was in 2015 at Listen To Your Mother in Indianapolis. That was the first time I heard my own voice through a microphone. I loved the feeling.
What a fucking blast.
It’s been over a year since the last Erma conference.
I knew I wanted to try my hand at an open mic comedy, but it was just an “in the future” thing.
You know, something you think about and never do.
Except, I didn’t want stand-up to be something I never did. I mean, I don’t know stand-up is something I want to pursue seriously. I just find it fun to do.
I performed at an open mic three weeks ago. The performance wasn’t perfect, but definitely wasn’t bad. I walked out feeling good about myself.
My first four times performing for an audience were fulfilling, fun experiences. Scary, sure, but over all, awesome.
My fifth comedy experience wasn’t quite that.
I returned to the brewery where I did my first open mic. There weren’t many people there, maybe 15 or 20.
My first 3 audiences had hundreds of people which I find less intimidating than a handful of people. A handful is kind of like being at a party and fucking everyone is looking at you. So, you know, typical nightmare for those of us with social anxiety.
Plus, I am way older than most of the people there. Which I used to my advantage the first week and it fucking worked.
I practiced in my head for months before the first time at the brewery. I knew the material. I was prepared. I was ready.
Then, I wrote some new stuff and read through it a few times. No months of traffic rehearsals.
Two weeks went by fast.
Randy: You’re not ready for this
Me: Nah, I got this. I’m ready
Randy: You’re not ready.
Me: Dude! I’m fucking ready, okay? It’s 5 minutes. I got this.
Yeah, so Randy was right.
I wasn’t ready.
My first joke fell flat. No laughs.
I wasn’t ready for no laughs and had barely practiced. I continued and about 10 seconds in, I lost my train of thought.
I didn’t recover gracefully. Total deer in the headlights moment,
I finished the 5 minutes and remembered the material, but felt completely out of sorts. My timing was off. I rushed through the material.
It wasn’t good.
I’m not saying I got no laughs. I did. I even had someone approach me after and tell me how much they enjoyed the standup, which was lovely.
But it wasn’t good.
Here’s why I’m not upset about this. There are a couple reasons.
Failure was going to happen. It just was.
Making people laugh isn’t super easy, so it’s not going to work every time. Might as well get it over with.
And it didn’t kill me. It didn’t even make me feel bad. Well, after about 24 hours. I cringed for at least a day.
But really, it wasn’t horrible. It just was “not great”. And even if it were horrible, it still wouldn’t have killed me. I think I already knew that, but now I know for sure.
I can fail! In front of people! And I don’t die!
I didn’t realize I was cool with this, so in a way, I’m glad it happened. I needed this lesson.
Hahaha. That’s total bullshit. I always want to do well. Still, silver lining and all.
I’m going to try a third time. At least a third time.
I will be better prepared next time and I might find a new venue that more suited to me.
Or I’ll go back there. But I’ll do stand up at least one more time.
Anyway, life is short. If there is something you want to try? Go do it. It probably won’t kill you.
Unless it involves hang gliding or rattle snakes. Then, it might kill you. Be careful.
Photo courtesy of Pexels.