Happy whatever you’re doing today! Complaining about the snow? Complaining about the lack of snow? Complaining because everyone is annoying you with their posts and opinion about whatever weather they’re experiencing? We’ve got it all!
Sorry I took a little break from blogging. Mostly because my post about my Bubby went a bit viral and everyone was commenting about their bubbies and loss, and it felt less-than-monumental to get back to writing about weird things people tell me when I’m working at the supermarket but enough is enough – time to get back to silly.
To catch you up on my journey on the comedy/writing front: My graduation from my stand-up class is at Gotham this Monday at 7pm, I started Improv 301 at UCB and applied for their internship position, I started a sketch-writing class with Ali Farahnakian at the People’s Improv Theater. Sketch writing is really hard and also really weird. I guess I’m still in college mode because even though Ali isn’t a professor, just some comedy genius sharing his knowledge, it’s weird to have your teacher be like “Hm, what other funny words could we use for vagina? We have va-jay-jay…maybe we’ll go on Urban Dictionary and see if they have any other funny suggestions.”
I actually did an open mic a couple of weeks ago. I had been putting it off for a while since it seemed more insane in my head than it actually was. Doing an open mic has been on my bucket list for a long time (and apparently crossing something off your bucket list does not in fact, make you “one step closer to death” like I thought). It was up there with skydiving and being honest about how ugly people’s babies are. I got to Revision Lounge with a few of my classmates. Revision Lounge is a cool bar downtown where every piece of furniture was originally something else. A table used to be a TV set, a couch was an old bathtub, the stage was literally a converted coffin. **~Trendy!~**
I dropped my name in the vase and noticed a man hanging by the stage who was in a play I reviewed a couple of months ago called Awesome People. I went over to him and re-introduced myself. He didn’t remember me but he remembered being in that production which was a good start. I mentioned to him that it was my first open mic ever. “Don’t even worry,” he said. “Everyone here is terrible.” That actually made me feel better. It wasn’t true of course, some people were great – and some people made jokes about how grapes give them diarrhea so WHAT IS COMEDY EVEN? LET’S DISCUSS.
And it wasn’t the disaster I thought it might be. I was prepared for crickets, for forgetting all my material, for sweating profusely and spouting nonsense – ALL stuff I’ve actually seen people actually do at open mics. I kept thinking “No one is even listening to you anyways. These are all just other comedians trying out stuff. If you’re bad, they’ll be happy they’re better than you and if you’re good they’ll hate you for being good so just GET UP AND TALK AT THESE PEOPLE SOLDIER.”
And it was OK! My friend filmed it on my phone (for posterity). People chuckled which is basically LIQUID GOLD for beginners (or regular gold if that’s the direction you wanna go – or imaginary gold if you wanna be realistic.) I was happy!
Then literally the next day at my standup workshop I was doing some bit about the subway to a bunch of dead-eyed crickets. I was not as happy.
But I read something interesting the other day. BuzzFeed had an article about a dude named Pavel Sokov who quit his job to become an artist and how that eventually lead to a gig painting a cover for Time Magazine. He was writing about how he would get really discouraged in the beginning, painting all these pictures that he didn’t think were good, or not as good as his teachers. Then he said:
“Being upset that your first oil paintings aren’t turning out is almost rude in a way, because it is saying that you don’t think you need to put in the work to get your teacher’s results.”
That really struck me – since apparently I’m one of those people who are like “Well I tried this and I’m obviously terrible at it – time to give up and do something else with my life.” When I started sketch or improv, or even stand-up I would say or do something that I immediately felt was a stupid idea and say something like “Ah never mind – that was really dumb, sorry. Forget I said anything,” and then shrink into my chair feel bad about myself. Now I try not to berate myself for trying something different or stupid. In the words of my former UCB teacher, “Never apologize in Improv, if you take a shit on stage you say ‘You’re welcome!” Which might be a little extreme but you get the gist, which is ‘If you’re a beginner, BE a beginner! It’s gonna take a while for you to find your groove. Don’t beat yourself up for having super high expectations! Lower your expectations. Now. Do it. You’re welcome.”
Now you’re all caught up! I can get back to writing about what really matters. My cat.