So, I started a stand-up class about a month ago. Open mics. The whole shebang. It’s been wild. Here’s some crap I’ve picked up along the way.
- This Shit is Hard
Few people excel at this absolute nonsense for a reason—it’s difficult. Making a room full of people with vastly differing levels and types of humor laugh isn’t a walk in the comical park. Some people only like dick jokes. Some people refuse to laugh at a woman. Some people get offended at anything. And I mean anything. Stand-up is tough. Life is tough. Grab a microphone and a helmet, people, you’re gonna need it.
- You’re going to offend someone, so you might as well say it
You could drop the most innocent of Road-Crossing Chicken jokes, and you’re still bound to find a poultry farmer up in arms. I’m not saying you should jump through hoops to hurt people because that’s just baloney. But, listen, if what you’re saying is funny, and it just so happens to offend people with sticks up their asses, then tough shit. Literally, I imagine.
- If you love it—if you really love it—do it. No matter what.
Stand-up is scary as balls. It’s like falling in love in that way. You’re entirely at the mercy of another person—or an entire audience, as the case may be. You give the audience the power to absolutely rip you to shreds but entrust them not to. You offer them your most vulnerable self, your thoughts, your ideas, and hope against all rationale that they’ll not only accept them but love them. Like I said, scary shit. Life, love, it’s all scary shit.
And sometimes it doesn’t work out. Sometimes you bomb. Sometimes no one laughs. No one accepts you. No one loves you. And it’s god awful.
But if it’s something you love, if it’s something that makes you feel alive—then you do it. Because sometimes it does work. Sometimes they do laugh. Sometimes they do accept you. Sometimes they do love you.
So, if you really love something, and if it really loves you back—do it. No matter what.
- Pick yourself apart—but not too much
We typically videotape ourselves before a set. It’s not something I’d particularly recommend for your everyday ventures, but to each his cinematic own. Anyway, you watch your set on tape and assess your performance. What works? What doesn’t?
What made people laugh? What could I have said differently? What could I have phrased differently? What could I have done better?
And maybe you don’t tape yourself on a day-to-day basis, but sometimes we need to ask ourselves some of the same questions.
What could I have said differently? How could I have done better? How could I have been better?
You figure out who you are. Who you want to be. And how you want to get there.
- Stage Lights Are Bright
Like, really bright.