Six minutes are nothing in the grand scheme of things. You don’t give a second thought to that small an increment of time. But, I have had six minutes stuck in my head for a month. Why? That was the amount of time I was given to try stand-up for the first time.
I have been toying with the idea of doing stand-up for years. In fact, for my 28th birthday in 2008, one of my best friends gave me an amazing gift. It was a wooden bar stool, a bottle of water, a fake microphone, and brick-style wallpaper that was glued on a pull down window shade. Essentially, it was a travelling comedy club. He had wanted me to practice at home before I went on a stage. I vowed that I would get up on that stage by the end of the year. Then, 2008 came and went. No biggie, I would just do it by the end of 2009. Then it became, “I’ll do it before I hit 30!” Then, I just gave up.
Now, at 34, I still hadn’t done anything. I kept thinking about it, but I could not muster the courage to follow through. The thought of actually doing it gave me instant diarrhea and a case of the barfs (TMI and I don’t care). Ok, maybe not…..but it scared the figurative shit out of me. I mean, what do I know about stand-up?? I don’t know how to write jokes!! Delivery?? Timing??? Ugh. I had no idea where I would even start! I convinced myself that I couldn’t possibly do it, no one would laugh, and I was ridiculous and conceited for thinking otherwise. I would stay right where I was, thankyouverymuch: in my comfort zone.
Then, last month, a friend of mine told me that he had done it and thought I should too. He told me what a fun, cool experience it was. I was super intrigued and totally jealous. He began hounding me to try it. I said no, no, no. He continued to pester me throughout the week. Finally, after a few weeks of this harassment, I agreed to do it.
I was completely terrified. I had about 3 weeks to prepare, and for once, I couldn’t think of anything to say. I sat in my living room and started at blank paper that mocked me for hours. No thoughts came to me. There was no way this was happening; I was going to back out. However, I had actually booby-trapped myself. After I booked the show, me and my big mouth announced my intention on Facebook. So, now it was out there and I couldn’t back out. After what felt like an eternity, my brain started to work again. I decided I would talk about my dating experiences. I reviewed it with some people and recorded myself performing it over and over. Side note: If you ever want to hate yourself completely, record yourself talking and listen to it over and over.
The day of the show, I felt eerily calm. At this point, I had tortured myself so much by listening to my recordings that I was worried I would heckle myself. I wasn’t afraid of what anyone else would say. I watched as a lot of my friends filled the seats in this small club on a Sunday night. Then, it was time for me to get out there. For some unknown reason, all of my nerves dissipated. I felt totally fine. I went up and did my six minutes, which really felt like thirty seconds. I didn’t die, people laughed, and I felt good.
Of course, I’m not going to get a great reaction like I did that night every time. It totally helped that almost 40 of my friends showed up in the audience. There will be times that I will bomb. It will suck, but it’s ok. But as of this moment, I’m feeling really proud of myself. It wasn’t easy, but I did it. I’m going to keep at it and just practice. If there is one thing that I have learned from this experience, it’s this: people love dick jokes.
Here it is. (I look awful and the audio isn’t perfect, but who cares). COMEDY!