Standup Guy

For the last few months, I’ve been doing standup comedy.  Twice a week I go to a bar, have someone mis-pronounce my name, and then face the gauntlet of public speaking engagements.  It’s so much harder than conference speaking – if you sponsor the conference, they’ll often learn how to pronounce your name correctly.

Photo Credit: Lenora Ribeiro
Photo Credit: Lenora Ribeiro
My brain is lighting up in a way that it hasn’t in years.  For the first dozen or so open mic’s, it was absolutely terrifying.  Now I’m finding that I’m able to focus more on making a crowd laugh, rather than just the heart palpitations and the shooting pain up and down my arm.  I’m not saying I’m making them laugh often, but it’s definitely more than it was three months ago.  It’s more than it was last month.  And there’s something satisfying in that.
Tonight I was at Logan’s, a local dive bar best known for being infamous.  It’s such a hit or miss stage.  Sometimes you get a room full of people that came to make a hangover together, and sometimes you just get a room full of people who… I dunno, their therapists tell them they should leave the house once a week.
I don’t know if I’m gonna start posting about this too much – my last post from two years ago was really working, and I’m nervous to screw it up – but I think Alexei is sick of hearing me rant about all the stuff I’m learning, so we’ll see what happens.
This evening’s performance was accompanied by the sound of ‘really drunk girl all the way across the room’.  You probably won’t be surprised to hear that she heckled loudly for most of the night.  If she watches TV the same way she watches comedy, this woman could drown out a FOX News anchor.
I do feel oddly comforted though.  I just listened to a recording of my set, and I was the first guy in a while that she didn’t yell “NOT FUNNY” or “NEXT” towards.  It’s possible she just figured that useful feedback would be wasted on me anyhow.
The crowd was not feeling it tonight.  And I let it spook me.  You can hear it on the recording, I’m not moving fluidly between bits, I’m getting a smaller laugh than normal (or no laugh in a couple spots), and then there’s this awkward pause while I try to remember if I forgot to say the punchline.
But that’s a time thing.  We’ll get there.
(I had a good set yesterday.)