Chandler, Arizona, United States

There's an old saying. If you don't want someone to join a crowd, you ask them, "If everyone were jumping off of a cliff, would you?" Well, I have. So my answer would be "Yes". True story.
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My First Minute of No Laughs As An Open Mic Comic

Friday, June 28, 2013

this entry brought to you by nine inch nails, "came back haunted"

A few months ago, I did stand-up at an open mic for the very first time. It was awesome, and I killed. I've done it several other times, and it's simply amazing. For one thing, it feels so natural being up there. And making total strangers laugh is one of the best feelings you can possibly have. I mean it. Childbirth, having sex with someone you've been wanting to have sex with for a long time, and making strangers laugh. That's it. That's the trifecta.

Every time I've done it I've consistently gotten laughs every single place I wanted them and, give or take a few heres and theres, the size of the laughs is exactly what I had anticipated. Sometimes you expect a small laugh and get a much bigger laugh than you had expected; other times you nail a punch line and get laughs and you're left confused as to why it wasn't much bigger. But I can say that almost every single thing I've ever said as an open mic has gotten the laughs that were supposed to get. Except once.

I didn't bomb on stage, thank Jesus. But this was the first time I'd gone a minute without laughs, and I felt like I was dog paddling, trying to keep myself afloat.

I was doing very well, getting consistent laughs for the first four minutes of my set, just killing it. Then I got to my closing chunk, and it was a it was supposed to be emails I'd like to write on Facebook. There were four or five of them, and each one was supposed to be funnier than the last-- that's how comedy works. So when I read the first one and got no laughs, I was confused because I expected some laughter, but I thought, that's fine, they're supposed to get better. Then I read the second one and got no laughs, and I started to panic. Each one set up the next one, so there was none that I could skip to get to the funniest part. I was standing there. Flapping in the wind. I was caught between the feeling of just wanting to bail, and thinking, but I haven't gotten to the last two, they are funny, I know they're funny, I've just got to get to them and I'll be fine.

If you watch the footage, you can tell I'm getting nervous, but it's only because I commented on how badly I was doing; thankfully, my body language shows no nervousness at all. This was good, because I had to consciously tell myself, don't just speed up and plow through this, you're trying to do a performance here. But god, in my mind I was running over all the jokes that I'd written in my life that I could have been doing right here, why in the hell did I decide to do something different and do a longer form joke?

And then I got to my fourth email I wanted to write and got huge laughs. Thank Jesus, I thought, because if I'd just said "giant, dish-sized nipples" in front of a small crowd of people and got no reaction, I'd feel gut punched. Then I read the last letter, which also got laughs. I felt validated.

...But my god. That minute of no laughter sure did freak me the hell out.

with love from CRS @ 4:55 PM 


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