My surreal night at the Laugh Factory

I don’t know exactly why this happened, but it did. Earlier this year, my community manager at ChicagoNow sent out a very interesting email regarding the next quarterly blogger meeting; we’re meeting at the Laugh Factory, and this time YOU WILL BE THE ENTERTAINMENT!

Um, who the fuck what?!?!

I initially laughed, then cried, then asked the question – are you serious?!

Yea, he was serious, and was asking for volunteers.

Something like this had NEVER entered my head, has never been on my bucket-list, never was a personal goal of mine. But after reading this email, I knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and my knee-jerk response was HELL YEA! Even before my head figured out what the hell was going on, my fingers were RSVP’ing.  I made the commitment on a whim. But anyone who knows me knows that once I commit to something, it’s a sure thing. I don’t do anything half-assed, and never back down, especially on a challenge like this.

The concept scared the hell out of me. As a blogger, I’m comfortable being ‘behind the scene’. Knowing that I’d be on a brightly lit stage in front of hundreds of people shook me to my core. Yet at the same time, encouraged me to face this fear and say FUCK IT! I knew I’d be in front of fellow ChicagoNow bloggers, as well as supportive friends and family, so what could I lose? If I was going to bomb on stage, I’d rather be it in front of people that love me and would forgive me if I seriously suck.

I spent months writing, rewriting, then rewriting my material again. My head was spinning with what everyone may or may not find funny. I tried to be relevant. I tried to be true to my voice, I tried to be amusing. I just…….tried.

On the train ride downtown, I was calm as a Hindu cow. Hubby picked me up at the train station, yet as we drove closer to the Laugh Factory, the reality of what was about to happen overcame me. I began to visually shake, relying on my Lamaze breathing to calm me down so I didn’t pass out even before things began. Once inside and finally seeing the stage in person – the huge, empty stage that will probably swallow me whole – and the lights – ohmygod the bright lights that will accentuate every ounce of fear flowing from my soul – I began to second guess this whole thing. But I made the commitment, and had friends and family coming, so I sucked up my fear and waited for my name to be called.

Once on stage, blinded by the lights, making it impossible to see anyone past the front row (which was a good thing), the only thing running through my head was ‘don’t forget your set, don’t forget your set!’.  But luckily, the words just flowed, exactly like I practiced them in my head a million times. And once I heard laughter, that only fueled my desire to continue on.

photo Hey, maybe I don’t suck after all!

My 3-minutes went by like a blur; I honestly don’t remember most of it.  But I walked off stage to laugher and clapping. This was good. I had taken a huge risk and it paid off. Would I ever do it again? Probably not. I’ll stick to entertaining the kids and family dog, my favorite audience of all.


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