I am not a stand-up comic, but I played one at the Laugh Factory a couple of weeks ago. No, it wasn’t on a dare and I did not lose a bet. The ChicagoNow bloggers had the run of the place on the night of April 16th and, on a first come first serve basis, any blogger who wanted to was given his or her three minutes in the sun.
I signed up immediately.
I don’t know what I was thinking. The sign-up was in January, which gave me plenty of time to wake up repeatedly in the middle of the night in a cold sweat and wonder, What the hell was I thinking? If I had a dollar for every time I almost backed out, I could retire to an island somewhere right now. As long as it wasn’t a very nice island. Maybe one of those cold, forlorn islands in Lake Superior, the kind that get locked in ice nine months out of the year. That kind of island.
But I didn’t back out. I was a little perturbed when I arrived at The Laugh Factory and there wasn’t a chicken wire barrier between the stage and the audience, but the two-drink voucher I was given (FREE!) as a performer helped me get over that. We were told we could do stand-up or just tell a story or even read something we’d written, but at the end of our three minutes, we would be pulled from the stage by a giant hook. Well, actually just by our Community Manager, Jimmy Greenfield. What was amazing to me was that no one got the hook, even if we went over our three minutes.
Everyone I watched perform, to a person, was awesome. Which made it that much more terrifying to go up there.
The reason I decided to try a pure stand-up routine was because I wanted to be able to say, “Back in ’13, when I was doing stand-up at The Laugh Factory,” which is a phrase I haven’t been able to trot out at a party yet, but I know it will be awesome someday, you know, if I should ever be invited to one.
Actually, I decided to try stand-up because I’d never done it before and knew I probably would never have the opportunity to try it again. At least not in a
completely mostly safe environment like the one we have here among our ChicagoNow bloggers. With the exception of one moment when I completely forgot what I was going to say next (and it felt like an hour on stage, but, watching the video was really only a couple of seconds) I was pretty happy with my performance. No one heckled me. No one threw tomatoes. And I ran off that high for like, three days.
The best advice I received before I went on stage was from my former guest blogger and professional comedian, Patrick O’Hara, who told me, “Just be funny.” Even though that was pretty funny, he really did give the best advice a moment later, “Just be yourself.” Which as the regular readers of A City Mom know, is someone unafraid of a challenge! Brave in the face of adversity and outright terror! Well, okay, maybe not. But someone who is willing to try something new, every day, that scares her just a little bit.
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