Funny Feelings

I want to do Stand-up comedy, but I am absolutely terrified.  It’s one of those things that I can picture myself being good at, but I know for a fact that you have to do it hundreds of times before you’re any good at it.  At least, that’s what all the greats say.  If there was a chance that I could get up there and kill though, I would have done it by now.  In my head I want to recreate the times where I’m funny in front of my family.  They all think I’m pretty funny without me even trying, so if there was a chance that the crowd would be like my family, though not my family because I’ll probably say things I don’t want my grandma to hear, I would do it.  The main thing is you have to know your audience.  I don’t actually know who my Stand-up audience will be.  Will I be the one that will appeal to everyone, or will I be extremely niche?  The greats are good no matter who they’re in front of.  The greats know how to handle hecklers without missing a beat, but again that comes from having been up on stage and bombing hundreds of times.

I have a list of potential jokes in my Evernote that I want to try on an audience.  Every time I picture this happening, I confidently start talking to the audience and things happen naturally.  If I was to go do it right now, though, I bet I would be super nervous.  Maybe.  I really do feel comfortable in front of large crowds.  I’ve actually had a few opportunities to entertain and some of them went well.  Once in high school band I was the announcer for a piece called “Vesuvius”.  There was something about that moment that made me want to go off script and improv a bit, and it was a hit.  I got lots of compliments about it.  Don’t know if I would have remembered the moment so well had I not received the good vibes.

So, yes, I procrastinate.  I think of excuses.  I worry.  What really makes me hesitate is that I gain so much pleasure from being entertaining that if I am a failure, it will upset me.  When I read that out loud, though, that sounds ridiculous.  What’s the worst that can happen if I have a bad set?  I’ll remember it for the rest of my life?  Probably.  Another memory I have that I can’t seem to shake is my impromptu speech I gave to campaign for band council in high school (notice how all these center around high school band).  I had to give a quick speech to convince my peers that I would be an asset to the council that plans our fun activities and junk.  I stood up, took a deep breath, and delivered the lamest address in the history of campaigns.  I said, “Even though I’m constantly late . . . I think we can have a lot of fun next year.”  That was it.  Just a quick self deprecation, which got a bit of a laugh, and then a statement of fact that elicited no response from anyone.  I added nothing to the audience members’ lives that they didn’t already know.  To this day I cringe every time I hear those words in my brain.  And every time I tell a joke that doesn’t land.  It’s not a fun feeling.  But I’m sure that my desire to be in front of people will eventually outweigh the fear of failure and I’ll do my five minutes.  It’s likely I’ll be hooked right away.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Too Big To Fail.”


Too Many Questions

We all want to connect to each other in some way, don’t we?  That’s why we reach out to our peers and ask them how they’re doing when we see them on the street.  The problem that arises though is the tendency to spout off colloquialisms as if someone is pulling a string on our back.  For example, when you see someone after the holidays, the pullstring question is “How was your Christmas?”  I don’t mean to say that this question is never a sincere, but it seems like more often than not people just say it without really wanting to know the answer.  They just feel like they have to.  Those kind of questions are the ones I don’t really want to be asked, and when I am, I try to make my answer either ridiculous or misleading to confuse the other person.

When I was in the later part of my college years, I was frequently asked what I wanted to do with my life.  I didn’t hate the question as much as I hated every answer I gave, because I didn’t want to admit that I had no idea.  Add to that an uncertainty about when I would actually receive my degree, and you can probably guess how stressful my twenties were.  The weight of deciding what you want to do with your life is pretty heavy.  It messes with my mind because there are too many possibilities for me to pick just one.  I never thought to ask how the people asking the question, mostly my parents, decided what they wanted to do with their lives or even if they had put any thought into it.  I know now that they didn’t really care what I chose, so long as it was not to continue to deliver pizza.  This is the hindsight I have which makes the experience much more amusing now than it was then.  I like to take my insight and share it with kids that look like they’re going through what I went through.  I ask that horrible question, but when the scrunch up their faces and stare at the floor, I like to try and reassure them that it’s OK not to know.  I mean, I’m 32 and I still haven’t figured it out completely.

Of all the times when people ask questions that make me uncomfortable, death is probably the worst.  People just don’t know what to say.  The stupidest question people ask is “Are You OK?”  The answer I give is “no” which catches some people off guard, but I’m usually a little too honest when I’m grieving.  If it were up to me, I wouldn’t want anyone to ask me any questions during this time.  That won’t happen, though.  People are going to want to connect in some way.  I must confess that I have asked this question, too, knowing how futile it is.  Sometimes you just can’t keep the words from coming out.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Plead the Fifth.”