Thursday, April 22, 2010

The First Time (Part 3)

It was the night of the my first show. I practiced saying my material over and over again while walking fifty blocks up to the club trying to burn off my nervous energy. Basically, I looked like a mental patient, but I didn’t care. I tried to imagine things going great for me. I got to the club and sat with the other comedians. On the outside I looked totally cool. On the inside I was thinking, what the hell am I doing here? Why am I doing this? Am I crazy?

I looked out in the crowd and saw a few of my friends. Comforting, I guess. Name Dropper was going to be the MC for the show, and he told us the lineup. Now all I had to do was wait for my turn. The show started and Name Dropper was pretty funny. He got the crowd going and things seemed like they were going to be alright. Maybe the crowd would be good. But then the first lawyer went up and did his material and nobody laughed. It was brutal to watch, but most likely worst to be up there. Me and some of the other comics looked at each other with fear. This was going to suck.

The waiting was tough, but I watched each comic either do good or bad. It seemed like there was no in between. Either they liked you, or they didn’t. The crowd seemed to decide almost immediately and then never changed their mind. I was hoping they'd like

me. I was about to find out.

I went onto the stage and did my five minutes. Laugh after laugh after laugh, it was pure heaven. I knew this shit was funny. I felt totally redeemed. Just walking on stage and holding the microphone felt natural and as though I’d been doing it for years. The energy from the crowd was amazing. And I couldn’t believe I’d ever been afraid. The next thing I knew, I was getting the light.

When you’re performing at a club, and you get the light, it usually means you have a minute left and you need to wrap up your set. The light to me meant that I had done it. I had performed stand up. After weeks of no laughs or encouragement, nothing but a pen, a piece of paper and some guts, this is what I got: Feeling euphoric once I got off the stage. Unable to stop smiling for hours. Realizing a dream. Not bad for a few hundred bucks for a course at the New School. People go to the therapy for their entire lives without feeling this way.

After the show, I was standing outside the club and my friends came out to meet me. They loved it. They thought I was funny. They had so much fun. I was so glad they came. They told me who they thought sucked. We discussed the guy I was dating and my friend from the class. But then one of my friends pulled me aside and said, “I think this is going to be your career.” And I said, “Me too.” And we both nodded our heads in agreement and that was that. I was a comic. And then we all went out and got wasted.


  1. love the last line. puts it all in perspective.

  2. I was so nervous for the first year that I had to wear garment shields to prevent the sweat in my armpits from dripping onto the stage. I could have electrocuted someone. (Part 1)