Sunday, January 27, 2008

I shall begin... and continue

After countless futile attempts at keeping some sort of journal, I think this will be the one thats not forgotten. I plan on keeping this journal for as long as my comedy career goes. If I decide to never set foot onstage again after bombing in my first Open Mic set, you would have read my last entry.
What are you doing? I've decided to start this blog as simply a log of my journey through what I would call my comedy career. I'll consider my career's starting point as 1/5/08. That was the night of my first introduction/performance. After noticing a dwindling audience at a monthly local show in December, I decided to offer the show's booker some help in promoting the following show. He, of course (arm twisting not required) allowed me to design and distribute flyers. Only two people showed up from my efforts (they were family). Although I didn't produce I big turnout the guy running the room noticed my efforts. I believe he knew my intentions were to help support local comedy. So, when I showed up that night, before anyone I had reserved signed in, he came up and thanked me by offering me the opening spot.
"Wanna get onstage tonight?" He asked.
"Huh?" I thought I heard him wrong.
"Yea, Ill let you do one joke to start the show. It can be your own joke, a stock joke..."
I don't recall ever agreeing to perform. I think he knew I was gonna take him up on his offer.
Immediately, my hands started shaking. I've always had terrible stage fright and never had any proper public speaking training.
A couple of the night's comics came up to me and told me stories of their first time on stage to get me to stay calm, but their shitty stories weren't working. I was too busy trying to think up a joke that would get me a decent laugh. The host even told me to forget about doing just one joke and offered me five minutes. I don't think it was his place to offer, but I was tempted. Regardless, I was having trouble remembering a single joke, much less, a 5 minute set.
So, after what felt like an eternity and 1 liquid cocaine later, my time to shine had come. I dont know what felt better. My first laugh, or my first intro. The host had worked the crowd up pretty good so that raised my comfort level onstage.
I have to confess, I went the safe route. I have quite a bit of my own original material and I do believe it's funny. But it IS untested. For me, it was too much of a risk to try my stuff my very first time up. If it bombed, I'd have retired that same night. So I went with a solid stock joke. Judging from the laughs I received, it wasn't much of a well known joke. As soon as I hit the punchline, 'Turn it around'- the room errupted with a laughter I had hoped for but didn't realistically expect. Immediately after, the comics were urging me to do another, but my stage fright popped into overdrive and I simply 'clocked out' and walked offstage to a sweet sounding applause. So i go home feeling pretty good about myself. I felt, if nothing else I managed to speak in front of a large group of people.
The next morning, I check my email and notice a message from the shows promoter offering me standup comedy classes. It made me wonder, did he see some sort of potential, or did I suck that bad?

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