One day last fall I decided I needed to do something new – to shake things up and get out of my comfort zone. But what to do, what to do…
That very same day, I got a message from my friend, Megan Sadd, about a Living Social deal. It was only $29 for a 6-week intro stand up comedy course. I’d never thought of myself as a comedy person, but I’ve always wanted to get up at a Moth story slam someday, so why not?
At the end of the first class, I learned that each of us had to get up for three minutes at the Comedy Store in Hollywood at the completion of the course. If Megan wasn’t in the class encouraging me, I probably would have quit after that first night. But she wasn’t going anywhere, so neither was I.
Trading Fear for Flow
Terror doesn’t even begin to describe what I felt leading up to last night. I held my first microphone to sing a solo in front of people at age five. I’ve never had a problem with nerves – at least not like this. Unlike performing music, making speeches, acting or teaching – all things I’ve done many times before – this shook me up pretty bad and I think I know why. I’m learning to let myself experience flow.
In Adam’s class, I learned that I had to be 100% real – 100% me – interacting truthfully with each of the individuals in that audience – or I would fail miserably. So I threw myself at their mercy and opened my mouth to speak. What came out was a surprise even to me. And they were laughing. I didn’t give myself time to think, I just let go.
It was the most amazing feeling. All of my other performing or presenting experiences have been very buttoned up, well prepared and polished. Being “in the moment” was an interesting concept that I thought I’d understood, but now I’m pretty sure last night was one of the first times I experienced it.
The other comics were congratulating me as I walked back to our designated area, but all I could think of was how scared I was that my knees were going to give out. I was looking for a safe place to fall down if I had to. I didn’t end up falling, but that was more real and raw than anything I’d ever done and I wanted more.
Better than Therapy
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m continuing with the next section of the course and I’m so excited. I didn’t tell anyone but my husband about this just in case I was awful. I can’t thank him enough for encouraging me to take the plunge. I’m also grateful to Adam Barnhardt, our teacher, as well as Megan and Shannon, my classmates, who both NAILED IT last night. (We’re going places, ladies.)
If for any reason you’re interested in trying out stand up, I highly recommend Adam Barnhardt’s School of Comedy. It’s better than therapy.