Comedy Is Hard, Bombing Is Easy

Well, I’m very new to the whole stand-up thing, I’ve only gone up five times over the last four weeks, so I’ve still got a ton to learn about it. And one thing life has definitely taught me is that you learn more from failure than you do from success. A couple nights ago at 37th and Zen’s Hilarious Hump Day Open Mic, the open mic I’ve been going up at every week, I failed, and I learned a lot. Here’s the video:

When I was up there I thought I was doing terribly; I was uncomfortable, didn’t know my material that well, and didn’t feel like the audience was really responding. But, only two-thirds of that is true. I didn’t know my material that well, which made me uncomfortable and unsure of myself and led to me giving up. Sure, the audience wasn’t responding exactly how I’d want, but that’s all part of the stand-up; if you’re funny enough, if you’re on your game, if you know your shit and are delivering it well, they’ll laugh how and when you want them to. The reason I sucked in this set, and the reason I sucked in the other set a week and a half ago at New Belmont, is I gave up on the set and let myself suck.

I don’t know how long I’m gonna keep giving stand-up a try; I’m not sure I see it as a long-term thing that I want to keep doing, I don’t know that I’ll ever feel very comfortable doing it. But, I do think it’s something that I can be good at, I’m funny and smart and there’s no reason I can’t be both on stage and make folks laugh, so there’s no reason for me not to do the best I can at it in the time that I’m doing it. So this was a good lesson and one I’m going to take to heart. It’s hard to keep plugging away up there when people aren’t reacting the way you want because it really is all cyclical, you feel better and funnier and everything flows better when people are with you and laughing. But, in classic catch-22 style, it all starts with you being comfortable and funny. If I get off stage and feel like I sucked I want it to be because I didn’t make people laugh, not because I was unprepared or unsure of myself or because I gave up.

And, as always, I have to talk about how awesome the other comics are. They’re ridiculously supportive and they really want everyone to come out and do a good job. You can see in the video when I wasn’t doing well some of the other comics were trying to help me out and when I gave up and left several of them made sure to tell me I did better than I thought and not to give up. All this makes it so much easier to get up and try at something that’s incredibly hard and I can’t begin to say how much I appreciate it.

  1. 2 Responses to “Comedy Is Hard, Bombing Is Easy”

  2. By award6 on Feb 27, 2010

    That’s really cool that you’re willing to try stand-up. How did you find out about these open-mic nights?

  3. By cbwilkins on Feb 27, 2010

    Thanks. I told my friend Travis, who’s gone up a few times himself, a while back that I wanted to try it so he searched it out. He’s better than I am at finding that kind of stuff. But actually, I did Google “open mic in Hampton Roads” and found a few that he didn’t know about. Plus, once I was there all the comedians were more than willing to tell me about the other open mics they go to. I’ve been really impressed with the sense of community with the comedians.

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