Cry On Stage! Yet Another Motivational Post

Hey-ho Hey-ho It’s BLOG DAAYYYY (which is arbitrarily decided by me based on how many episodes of Friends on Netflix I can watch before I start thinking about what I’m contributing to the world)

Speaking of Friends, I just need to say something. Growing up it was my all-time favorite forever for-realzies show and even though watching it in 2015 is a little rough, it still holds a special place in my tiny heart. But watching Friends as a 25 year old in 2015 is getting on my nerves a bit. I just watched the episode where Joey tells Rachel about a job at Fortunata Fashion and she’s like “Great! my dreams of being in fashion are finally coming true!” And then she spends ONE day doing standard shitty intern work and then complains near Mark at Monica’s restaurant and he’s like “It sounds like you don’t have much of a work ethic in a really competitive field – come work for meeeee at Bloomingdale’s!”

When I was younger I remember being like “Yay! Dreams! You go Rachel You’re so pretty and nice you deserve everything!” Now I watch it and I’m like, what th-?? Quick question: What about everyone ELSE who worked really hard at their annoying fashion internships for years and years and didn’t get jobs handed to them by strangers drinking coffee alone at cheesy diners? I guess they should all just start complaining loudly too in case someone from Versace is on that public city bus with them.

Onto the next totally unrelated topic of conversation: me wanting to be amazing right away at comedy and that not happening the way I was conditioned to believe it would!

Last week, I found out what’s even worse than the case of the crickets onstage. Not going up at all. Not even when they call your name. I had decided to go to the open mic at the PIT and was just not feeling too hot about it. As the comics got up and for the most part flawlessly delivered jokes without reading their notes, I started to panic. Like a full on panic attack. It felt hot and crowded. I went over to the woman running the show and was like “Okay, so I know I’m next but instead of going up…I’m just gonna go.” And then I literally ran away.

And it felt worse than bombing. It felt like hot disappointment. It felt like the bad kind of quitting. But it also made me mad that I didn’t have the confidence to go up or the guts to wing it. It wasn’t my first time sniffling on the subway (that belongs to 2007 Aviva thinking her 11th grade crush liked her best friend, and crying into her The Fray hoodie as she listened to Red Jumpsuit Apparatus on her iPod mini – oh God 2007! Take me back!).

The next night was my internship at UCB and I knew it was the 5th Thursday of the month and that means the Open Michelle (UCB’s Ladies’ Only Open Mic). I had practiced and sharpened my stuff. I told all my coworkers that I had to go up so they would pressure me in case I backed out. I was working in the bar waiting for my name to be called, doing stretches and breathing exercises to get pumped up. Two talented UCB comedians and bartenders, were discussing comedy and trying not to stare at me doing some relaxing yoga poses I made up. I interrupted them to ask Brandon how long he had been doing stand-up for.

Brandon: About 6 years

Me: This is my 10th open mic

Brandon: Oh…that’s cool

Me: I’m really nervous. I didn’t do so well at the open mic last night. And by not so well I mean I started crying from pressure and so I left as they called my name.

Brandon: You left?! You should’ve gone on stage!

Me: But I was crying…

Brandon: Then you cry on stage! You do four minutes of crying but you never ever leave!

I don’t know why that advice/chastising resonated with me. Maybe it was the hilarious thought of someone just doing a set of crying for 4 minutes or the fact that everyone everyone everyone has some bad experiences when starting new things.

Either way, “Then you cry on stage but you never ever leave,” has become my new mantra. Feel free to borrow it. It’s almost as good as David Woolf’s 2011 inspiring quote of “Always know that I have confidence in you. And if you feel like you don’t have enough confidence in yourself you can borrow some from me.” Or Paulette Woolf’s 2005 classic gem, “Being scared is not a good enough reason not to do something.”

So I got on that stage. And I didn’t cry. I tried out new material that I had practiced and believed in. And it was all right! Enough to keep me back in the game. And enough to know that anything is better than leaving. But you know what? Sometimes it’s OK to leave and get perspective and then try again. One step back and all that. Even though that kind of negates all the advice I just laid out. Fuck it. Aviva Woolf 2015: You shouldn’t leave when you’re scared but that’s advice you can only give others when you’ve left and then felt bad about it and cry into your boring, plain H&M hoodie. So I’m giving that wisdom to you to ignore and then you can learn from your own mistakes and write your own pep-talk blog, I don’t know your life.

That’s all the motivation I can dish out today.

I need to get back to loudly complaining at this Starbucks about how I really need a high-paying job in comedy. Mark where are you???


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