Sunday, January 27, 2013

How To Be A Standup Comic!

5 years ago I sucked back some wine coolers and got on stage for the first time. I was new to performing in front of people. As an animator/voice over artist, I "performed" all the time, just not to an audience. (Always the fluffer, never the porn star!) The day I decided to try stand up for the first time I was almost puking the whole afternoon. I remember looking in the mirror and saying to myself "You can't do this! This is crazy!" I felt like I was jumping out of an airplane with no parachute. I really felt that I might not survive if I ate shit. But I did it. I survived it. Actually, it went pretty well. I was so relieved and SOOO HAPPY!!! After that night I was a changed woman. I knew I was brave, and I knew I could do almost anything if I could do that. Most of all I knew I was addicted to doing comedy.

Yes, comedy is like a drug. It's sometimes a good trip, sometimes a bad trip. But you can't stop doing it. If you try, your comic friends will give you a hard time. They are "enablers". They won't make it easy for you to quit. Meeting comics was an amazing thing, it was the first time I really felt like I had found a group belonged to. I guess because we are all outsiders, you feel less like an outsider. It's like being in a cult. In fact, we call non-comics "civilians".

The best thing about having comics for friends is that a. they want to talk about comedy all the time. You will never hear one say "Let's talk about something else for a change" We are all obsessed. The other thing is, b. Even if you think you are not competitive, you will see your friends doing shows and you will want to do those shows too, and before you know it you are doing more that you ever thought you would. I thought it was just going to be a hobby, like knitting or writing short stories. I had no idea it would take over my life and my brain.

The only way to be a great standup comic is to do it, and keep doing it. Make friends with comics and talk comedy. Write jokes. Try them out. Eat shit. Try again. It's worth it! The worst thing that will happen is that you will be able to get into local comedy shows for free. 

Back in the early days, I didn't have many jokes, one was really just a story a friend told me that I openly and brazenly stole from her (with her permission)  This video is an animation I made using some audio of me doing that joke.

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