I’m not gonna lie, thinking about doing stand up has been pretty nerve racking. I planned to start last Wednesday, but procrastinated out of fear for my delivery. Well, Monday night I finally changed into some big boy undies and did my duty (pun definitely intended).
As I walked through the door of Sally O’Brian’s Tavern for their open mic, I was greeted by 30 sets of questioning eyes–Is he a comic? I wonder if he’s funny? Why is he standing at the door for so long like a zombie? I eventually realized I needed to continue walking in and immediately asked the booker for a five minute set. “You can have two minutes,” he replied. Awesome, my first show, I may be having an ulcer, and now I have to pare down my act on the fly. Little did I know, I’d be going second to last and everyone else was going to go over their amounted time, so I had 2 hours to just wait.
And what a 2 hours. There were 15 or so comics that hit the stand and about three that were good. On the other end there were four that were awful, including one guy who either forgot his act entirely, or was a “special” comedian. Another dude made two jokes about how his problems looked better, when compared to someone with AIDS. Then he walked off the stage and directly out to the street. Eventually I was announced. I got up to the stage and started…then stopped to awkwardly fumble with the mic height, attempted to hide my nerves while I did my 2 minutes, and then went back to my seat.
How’d I do? Well, not awful, but probably closer to the bottom of the heap than the top. I heard 3 distinct people laughing really hard, and was too nervous to tell how the others were reacting. In the comedy business, that most likely means the audience was being polite, and other comics were laughing at my suffering. Granted, the audience had been ready to leave for half an hour and were staying out of courtesy at that point, but that will happen a lot until I get better.
I was happy with how I felt afterwards. I was proud of myself for having the courage to do this, and wanted to work on my jokes right away. I usually take failure personally and not want to deal with the task anymore, but not with comedy. That’s how I know I’m in the right profession.