Adding Comedian to my Bio Starting Now

7 Mar
first night

Me on the left, sister on the right

I fell in love with comedy at an early age. I grew up watching Saturday Night Live with my mom and I watched in awe as my dad could instantly put people at ease with his quick wit and humor. I learned early on that making people laugh felt good, and it was something I was pretty good at doing.  I always gravitated towards people I found funny and I always had nothing but respect for people who made people laugh for a living.

I was told more than once that I should do stand-up, and it was always something I wanted to try, but I could not think of anything that sounded more intimidating than to be on a stage in front of strangers trying to make them laugh. After Brett died 2 1/2 years ago, I started to realize that this is it. We get one life and I was letting fear hold me back from something I wanted to do.  Earlier this year, I decided that this was my year to do it.

I had been working on material for a few weeks and I thought it was pretty funny. My comedic hero, and all-around dream man, Zach Galifianakis, advises comedians to go with material they find funny, and not to try to write FOR any particular group of people. If you get no laughs, who cares, try again. This was good news to me since I live in a college town and kind of don’t know what college-aged people find funny.  I sent my rough material to my sister and she told me it was funny, and that people in her office thought it was funny.

By some amazing stroke of luck, Greg, my niece’s ex-boyfriend, had been doing comedy for years and he was at the first open mic that I attended just to watch. He was then, and is now,  incredibly supportive. He told me about a workshop that local comedians attend to try out material and my god I hate the term but I’m going to use it, brainstorm, on material together. The day of the first workshop, I actually sat in my car, psyching myself up to go inside. I was afraid to go inside alone, because Greg had said he was running a little late. I didn’t know anybody else. And I’m old. And I’m a woman. An old woman who knows nobody. And I was petrified. The guys I had seen at the open mic I attended were funny, some funnier than others, but hell, they were all up there trying.

I sat there in my car texting a friend and my sister asking for positive thoughts because I was scared to even go inside the stupid coffee shop where the workshop was being held. They came through and I got out of the car and strolled in and nobody was there yet, so I sat down on one of the benches and ordered a giant glass of wine and waited.  Soon I started to recognize some of the guys from the open mic I attended. I introduced myself to them as they asked me who the hell I was (probably said much nicer than that. Just injecting some drama).  Greg came in and I almost instantly felt better.

Everybody took their turn in front of the room running through bits they were working on. Greg looked like he was born on that stage and I was jealous. I was so nervous about the whole thing, but I got up and went through some of my material…and some of them LAUGHED. These 20 something guys found humor in my stories about being a 44-year-old single woman in a college town, online dating, and my kids. Although embellished for the sake of comedy, this was my life, and they laughed.  I felt empowered. I decided that I would do an open mic in a few weeks.

I think I was less nervous before having my chest sawed open and having open heart surgery. I think I was less nervous driving my Aunt’s car in Washington DC the summer I was 16. I think I was less nervous before any first day of any job or any school year.  I almost talked myself out of doing it several times throughout the day and a couple of more times while sitting at the club waiting for my name to be called.

My sister came into town so she could spend some time with me and my niece and we went to dinner and dropped my boys off with their dad for the night so I could get to the club to sign up by 8:30.  I had spent the last few days in front of my bathroom mirror speaking my material into a hairbrush. I also ran through my material in the car with my sister.  By the time I got to the club, I was sure I had forgotten all of it.

I got up on the stage and my sister and niece were in the front row. I did not forget all of it. I did forget some of it, and while my first open mic was FAR from perfect, I felt really good about it. I still feel really good about it, but I am over being in love with myself and more into what I can do to improve.  I feel like if the material is good, my delivery and saying UMM all the time and nervous tics and stuff on stage, will get better with time. I’m working on more material, and I’ll be doing another open mic on this coming Tuesday, and will be competing in an amateur comedians showcase contest thing in a few weeks.  My plan is to do as many open mics as I can the weeks the boys are with their dad.  I plan to keep writing new material, and polishing this material, because it is ME. This is material I think is funny, and yes, I cuss, and I have some adult themes, but if you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, you should know this is who I am.

My dear sister recorded this and I had no plans to share it with anyone at all, but a lot of people wanted to see it, so now I am posting it everywhere. I am nothing if not totally fickle.  The response has been mostly positive.  I’m working very hard on not letting the negatives overshadow the positives. I’m proud of myself, and proud of my material.

Also, so many people have expressed an interest in doing stand up. Two words…DO IT. I greatly regret that Brett and my dad, two of the funniest human beings I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, are not around to see me do this.

10 Responses to “Adding Comedian to my Bio Starting Now”

  1. markd60 March 7, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

    You don’t seem nervous. I laughed too.

    • Amy April 7, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

      Thanks! I was SUPER nervous, and still get nervous every time. I love it, but still very nervous.

  2. Deech March 7, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

    You were really good! I liked it!

    I did stand up on a dare once. I had fun. I don’t know that I would want to do that for a living. My comedy comes at times on the spur of the moment, having a planned agenda for funny I leave to blogging as the form of delivery.

    But I can see where you would enjoy it. Just remember us little people when you make it big OK?

    • Amy April 7, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

      Thank you! And I will always remember you. Probably. 🙂

  3. Jazz Cookie March 7, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

    Hooray and Hallelujiah! I knew you had it in ya…This is great! Congratulations, kiddo. Every brave act makes us all a little braver. A big hug and a wish that I’d been there.
    Molly

    • Amy April 7, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

      Thank you my love! I’ll let you know if I tour anytime 🙂 I hope you are doing well.

  4. bensbitterblog March 7, 2014 at 2:32 pm #

    I so jealous that you did that, and I never have. Someday I will do that when I’m dead and call it lay down. You were really good…

    • Amy April 7, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

      DOO ITTTT. That’s my only advice. Just do it.

  5. kerbey March 8, 2014 at 6:04 pm #

    Way to go, old woman. Practicing with your hairbrush is the only way to go. I could say something cheesey about you using your comedic wings to fly, but that’s too Bette Midler of me, so instead I will instead say bravo and give you props for doing what many only dream about. My hands would have sweat so much the mike slipped out.

    • Amy April 7, 2014 at 2:37 pm #

      Thank you! Still doing it, still loving it, still not all that great at it, but dammit, still doing it 🙂

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