“C” Is Not For Cookie

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I was going to write about the difference for me between playing a set at a bar rather than a comedy club.  But for whatever reason it’s just not coming to me tonight.  It’s a struggle to piece together.  So instead, I thought I’d talk instead about confidence, how it took so long to get and the effect it had on those around me.

There are times when I lean on the Trevor Dean persona a little too much.  That happens when life as Trevor gets too hard, when circumstances get intimidating or when I feel down.  There were times when I wished that I had the balls Trevor Dean had.  Balls and confidence aren’t the same.  I had balls then I wasn’t that confident because I felt like I could still try even if I wasn’t certain the outcome would be any good.

My lack of confidence was at its peak during my relationship, comedically speaking.  The first two weekends I was hosting the comedy club my jitters and angst were on full display.  If my friends were at the show I alienated them and was a pretty big douchebag to the girl I dated.  I didn’t believe in myself enough at the time to allow myself to know the material inside and out, let alone be able to deliver it in a professional manner.  At a comedy club, the audience looks at you like you are a professional and they expect you to be professional in how you go about your set.  At least that is the expectation I got from watching those same comics on stage.

The first weekend I was booked at the comedy club there were a lot of people there.  It was the first time I was back performing in Saskatoon in about 18 months and I was scared.  Scared to the point where I didn’t let the woman I dated see me moments before the show because I was crying my eyes out, scared shitless.  When I walked out on stage for those first few moments, after I stopped crying because I was so scared, I felt like I was going to get emotional and start crying again.  I wore black suit pants that night, and the girl I dated was probably the only one in the room who could tell that my legs were shaking, rather badly.  The part that blows me away is that she was sitting in the far back corner of the room.

The second night of that weekend went a bit better, but at least I didn’t show the nerves that I had from the night before.

The second weekend I was asked to host was completely different.  I had to do more stage time (a half hour).  I had my material somewhat memorized, but the crowd both nights were pretty tough.  I was tense when I arrived and rather terse in my conversations with friends or the lady I dated.  I guess the other thing that had me not very confident was thinking that I was possibly going to embarrass my date, her friends, her family or my friends.  When that shit starts creeping into your head, it’s game over.

I don’t know why, but for some reason at my last comedy club appearance a couple weeks ago, it was the completely opposite feeling.

I can’t say if it’s because it was at a different location or what, but things seemed different.  I guess a big part of it had to do with the fact that I was able to actually perform that material for three consecutive weeks to work it out.  That’s a lot different rather than practicing at home for hours on end.  There is no substitute for stage time to work material out.  It’s more comfortable for me to work the material out in front of an audience instead of practicing at home, because in front of others you can work on your timing and delivery while getting live feedback.

When I walked into the room I wasn’t tensed up.  I felt good about what I was doing, even though I only knew two people who showed up for the show.  I was then able to have a decent conversation with the couple people who did show up before the show started.  I enjoyed my time socializing with the other comics too.  Once I got on stage that relaxed attitude helped me do one of my best sets ever.

I think that now, almost 4.5 years in Trevor Dean’s personality and that of regular Trevor are getting closer in sync.  They may never be perfectly aligned, but it’s getting closer now than it had before.

There are a few reasons why.  I think surviving the legal issue was a big one, knowing now that I will be going to L.A. within the next 18 months (I hope) is something I have in my back pocket to look forward to.  Another big key to the confidence came from forgiving myself for how I treated others close to me, and forgiving myself for not treating Trevor the way Trevor needed to be treated.  I had no value as a person based on what life threw at me or how it made me feel.  Now that took me a very long time to figure out, and that forgiveness seminar that just completed helped everything make sense, finally.

Having that confidence makes it a lot easier to write and the ideas to come a lot quicker too.  I think that for the first time since I started, comedy is fun for me.  It’s still work and preparation, but it’s fun.  You can see it in the way I interact with others and the way I perform my sets.  When you are confident it becomes easier to deliver the jokes properly and to have your timing down.  Plus, confidence means you gotta stay on your toes yet having the ability to improvise or do crowd work if it’s needed.

This is finally a fun time to be Trevor Dean.  Here’s hoping I can keep the fun going.

Wednesday night is the open mic night too.  I will be debuting singing into my act for the first time, in addition to more material about the relationship I was in.  Again, doing that material is part of the “process” for me while paying tribute to her.  This new material has a couple of old bits mixed in, but overall it’s fun, it’s funny and most importantly it’s a true reflection of me.  It highlights my struggles to get things right while making the other person look amazingly normal 🙂

God bless you all, and thank you for the support.  The video will be up on the comedy page Wednesday night.  Until we meet again…..

 

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