Time To Celebrate Equality

I have a confession to make.  It’s been almost four years of this blog and over 150 posts.  When I suck on stage, don’t get laughs, or don’t get stage time I feel almost like a phony or ashamed to try and continue this blog to write anything relevant.

Let’s face facts.  I am in the world of stand-up comedy.  It’s brutally unforgiving at the worst of times, and more of than not I am on that end of the scale.  Having that happen an an almost consistent basis leaves me frustrated, angry, demoralized and sad.  What’s worse is I get the feeling that I truly am the only person in the world who believes they are capable of doing better.

The only problem with comedy is, it’s tough to visualize that success beforehand, because you never know how it’s going to play out until you hit the stage, and if your expectations don’t meet the reaction you think you should be getting, it’s spirit-crushing.  So you go back week, after week, after week thinking you have it figured out from the week before when you are just setting yourself up for more of the same.

So why do I still try?  I’m sure that I have become an embarrassment to my family, well I’m sure that’s a fact otherwise they wouldn’t be ashamed of the fact I am in comedy to begin with.  I have let down my friends, embarrassed them and disappointed them.  The only woman I’m meant to be with, well how do I treat her?  She goes to the ends of the Earth to promote my shows and gets people to come out, only to have me shit the bed on stage making both her and I look bad.  She deserves better.

Why am I telling you this?  It’s because this all ties in to what happened tonight.  It’s about the old saying that you can’t drive forward always looking in your rear-view mirror.  You need to focus your eyes and your thoughts forward to move forward, right?

I used to think that I really didn’t belong at the weekly open mics.  Not that I wouldn’t be allowed on stage, but I never really felt like I was a true equal with the other guys.  The others are more talented, and they seem to get the laughs easier and more consistently than I do.  Seems like it’s been that way ever since I started.

Those open mics are intimidating in a sense because I figured my stuff would never play well in front of that audience.  Not sure if it’s because it’s in a bar or not, but that crowd is a different one than the comedy club I hosted a few times.  Not to say that one is better than the other, because every performer I think needs to cut their teeth in bars when they start.

There were six of us tonight, in addition to the host.  I was second last.  That didn’t make me feel any better, seeing everyone else before me do well.  But once I got up there, something different happened.  I stopped thinking and threw everything out the window.

I did the same material that I did before that used to get a spattering of laughs.  But this time, I had the audience engaged and laughing.  Why?  It’s because of the start.

I remember the host mentioning that I was dynamic after my last time on stage.  I never forgot that, had it ringing around in my head.  So I decided to be dynamic and be a bit more animated, lively and change the tone of my voice.  Right from the start it got everyone’s attention, and once I got the laughs at the start, the laughter was consistent through the jokes that usually didn’t do as well, because I set the tone early on by being livelier on stage.

Sometimes I rely too much on the material to the point where I think that’s all I need to do, when that’s not the case.  The only way my personality would show is to be dynamic.

I am a great public speaker and able to get peoples attention, but I forgot that I can hold a persons attention because I am a good public speaker.  To be a good public speaker you need to be dynamic and able to tell a story well.  Tonight I was able to put those two things together to do the best set I’ve ever had at the open mics.  I received compliments tonight that I thought I would never receive, yet it took four years to happen.

I started off with a bit about B-I-N-G-O that I have had rolling around in my head for months.  It’s funny, but the way I’ve learned to write material, it didn’t seem like the joke would fit that structure, and I felt self-conscious and somewhat scared to try that joke.  But, maybe it’s because of the cheerleader beers (Smirnoff Ice, or as the waitress put it “Ladies Lite drinks) I had beforehand, but I just went up on stage to make sure that I got peoples attention right from the start.

I can’t explain exactly why tonight worked, it just did.  I didn’t know when I would stop feeling like I was a liability on stage, but tonight was that night.  It took almost four years of eating shit on a consistent basis but I never gave in and quit.  I didn’t listen to my parents or my critics and give up.  I kept going. My friends don’t show up to my shows, that’s okay.  I still kept going.  The most important lady in my life won’t come anymore to watch, but I still keep going so hopefully one day I can give her a reason to come back.

Tonight I have started to figure out what will make me successful.  I can’t quite verbalize it yet, but the next few weeks are key.  My goal now is to take my new material and deliver it in the same fashion to get an even bigger response.

After four years of eating nothing but shit, I am finally getting started

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