Try New Things: Stand Up Comedy

Last night I stood up in front of a group of strangers, and two close friends, and performed a comedy sketch. When I woke up yesterday morning, I had no idea that my night would end with applause and me fulfilling a dream.

I love comedy. I’ve actually been working on a piece all about my love of comedy, and in that piece, I was going to reveal my secret dream to one day perform something on a stage. About a month ago, I wrote a comedy sketch with no plans to let anyone hear it anytime soon; but as life would have it, my planned sequence of events got derailed.

Last night, my good friend invited me to open mic night at my favorite coffee shop here in Fort Lauderdale- Brew Urban Cafe. I had never been to an open mic night before and it’s something I’ve been wanting to do, so I went for it. In the back of my mind, a tiny voice was reminding me that I had written some material and that maybe I could perform it. The trouble was that I hadn’t really practiced it. I didn’t know the sketch by heart– far from it. In the big lake of all the projects I’d like to do and am doing, I had decided that working on my comedy routine would have to wait its turn. I’m getting better at doing fewer things at a time. I’m down to about 20.

In addition, my printer was out of ink so I couldn’t print it out to read either. I consoled myself with the thought that there was probably a pre-registration anyhow. I relaxed into my comfort. I had every reason to expect not to perform this half-baked skit that was mostly sitting in my Google Docs and getting glanced at occasionally.

When I walked into the coffee shop last night, my friends hadn’t yet arrived and neither had most of the performers or audience. It was pretty quiet. I walked up to the counter for a drink and the lovely woman behind the bar asked me if I would be performing.

I didn’t say no. I didn’t say yes either. I needed coaxing. I mentioned that I had something that might, maybe, sort of work, and they coaxed me until I wrote my name down on a little piece of paper. As the minutes ticked by, more and more people started showing up, and by the time my turn had come, the place was standing room only. I died a little death, and not the French kind.

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I would be performing this comedy sketch that I had never fully rehearsed. Why would I do this to myself? Because I want to take chances and not just talk about it. Because who knows what tomorrow brings (that old cliché) and I don’t want to live with regret. Because the opportunity was right there in front of me and my friends were coming, and what the fuck did I have to lose?

My dignity. My self-esteem. My confidence. My comfort. My pride. My imaginary daydreams of being great at stand up.

What did I have to gain?

Confidence.

Points for my “Reasons I’m a Badass” section of my personality (we all could use some points there).

Pushing myself and going after my dreams. This is one of them. It’s still scary to say this out loud.

Being comfortable gets me nowhere.

Finding out if I’ve actually got any talent.

I’m a writer. If for nothing else, it’ll give me something to write about (see the post you are currently reading).

What you all really want to know is how it went. I started off telling the audience that this was last minute and that I’d be reading from my phone primarily. Lord knows that I think all kinds of stuff is funny that other people blank stare at. That would include the very first joke I told. It was far too subtle and no one got it. Talk about yikes. I thought, “this is the torture that comedians talk about. This is going to be a doozy.” But I kept going, my brain somehow working on max and totally shut down simultaneously.

After about my third sentence, I slid my phone into my back pocket for reasons that I still can’t explain. Remember how I mentioned that I didn’t have the sketch memorized? Yeah. But I pressed on, floundering my way through, using every laugh and chuckle as a flotation device. Some jokes that I thought would really work fell flat while others were spot on. We can’t live in theories– experience is where real revelation happens.

I forgot about 70 percent of the material I was supposed to say but I tried to weave the parts I did remember into some sort of cohesive whole. When my mind began to go completely blank and I could tell that I’d be on a downward spiral of filler words and fumbling, I thanked my audience and got the hell off the stage. Better to leave while I’m still holding chips.

My initial internal reaction was to beat myself up. I knew that I could do much better. I have it in me, but here’s the thing: there were more laughs than awkward silences. It was my first time. It was last minute. I put my script away at the start of my performance. And most importantly, I made people laugh. I’d be a fool and a masochist to be mad at that.

I’m so grateful to my friends who sat directly in front of me and cheered me on and recorded my very first performance. When she sent me the video, I was terrified to watch it, dreading that maybe it had gone worse than I had imagined. When I finally watched it, I was pleasantly surprised. Everything that I felt was true. There were too many umms and words to fill the space, but there were also genuine laughs. I was a girl taking a chance and being vulnerable and the beautiful audience was supportive and good-humored.

Now I get to study the film and study my sketch and work to make it better.

I have to include that the environment was nothing but loving and supportive. I got encouragement before, during and after my performance. The crowd was a mix of other people waiting to perform and those just there for a good time. Those who wanted to support local artists. It made a world of difference in the outcome of my performance, and I’m grateful to everyone that was there last night.

I hate to end on a cliche, but do the thing that makes you uncomfortable. Even a baby step is a step in the right direction. There’s no failure but letting a dream rot in a corner of your life. Do it. Your happiness is worth it. I know it’s scary out there, but so is living with regret. Take a step or take a plunge. You’ll have a great time or a great story to tell, or maybe both.


And don’t forget to find me on the other side! Instagram I Twitter I Pinterest

My name is Lyz-Stephanie and I want to inspire you to be more connected to yourself and the world, to find beauty in simple pleasures, and to have more adventures. Every day we can do something to make our lives happier and richer, make our minds more active and engaged. I’m on the journey. Will you join me?

69 thoughts on “Try New Things: Stand Up Comedy

  1. That is so awesome that you went for it!!! Way to go!! I’m working on pushing past fear this year, too, so you’ve inspired me. This also made me think of one of my favorite books – The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. It’s a fabulous and inspiring read if you haven’t read it. In fact, I should re-visit it as I could use a little push to be bolder these days. I loved reading this and can’t wait to hear more about how you’re pushing yourself this year. ~ Viv

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the book suggestion, Viv. I’ve heard of that book but haven’t read it yet. We can all use an extra push, and why not have it come from multiple directions, right? Is there something in particular you’re trying to work up the nerve to do this year?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Congrats! I am glad you pushed yourself, you are right, it is good for us to step out of our comfort zones, how else do we grow? Seeing another person face their challenges AND being honest about their fears is an excellent motivator for others afraid of taking the leap. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it’s important for people to know that it’s not always a pretty picture. I don’t want anyone thinking that they’re one of the few feeling the fear of taking chances. I’m really glad I went for it. I would’ve been feeling lousy today if I hadn’t!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Going to an open mic night has been something I’ve always wanted to do but was afraid to as well. I’m still afraid but I feel as though I’ll gain the confidence soon enough. I’d want to perform poetry or maybe a monologue. I’m glad you took that chance and was able to make this post about it. It gives me more motivation to know I can do it as well. If you hadn’t faced those fears you would never know how it could have went, if you want to continue it or what to practice on so that’s the great thing about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness, you totally need to do! It’s funny you mention poetry or a monologue because a poet went up right after me and it made me crave wanting to do a poetry reading as well- even the classic To be- or not to be would have been great. There was a little of everything, and lots of people nervous awaiting their turn. But the atmosphere was so warm and welcoming, everyone there to support and encourage. (I should’ve mentioned this stuff in my post. I’ll have to edit 🙂 )

      You should check out the upcoming dates of some stuff in your area, give yourself a deadline and go ready or not. I know you love to inspire people. You’re going to love it.

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    1. I think I killed it for shooting from the hip. I’ll give myself that, lol. Yes, actually! They have it once a month, so I’m giving myself one month to prepare for the next one. I’d like to see how well I can do with practice and extra effort. So you’ll be getting an update in the future. And if I don’t do it, please don’t let me off the hook, haha.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Go Lyz!! That’s incredible! It’s cool that you friends encouraged you and even taped it. Now you have video of your first ever stand up performance, and like you say, you can watch it and study it. Hopefully it encourages you to keep going 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Everyone was so great and rooting me along when I was shaking inside. They kept forcing me out of my head. Thankfully I had my friends and the other people I met before to talk to and take my mind off of my turn coming up (at least to some degree). I kept thinking maybe I should be practicing instead of talking. but I made an executive decision to just try to relax instead. I’ve had a couple of nightmarish karaoke events in my life lol. I’d love to keep going with it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What an inspiring and interesting blog post! I’ve always admired people who are capable of doing any form of stand up comedy and making an audience laugh, because being put on the spot is always a scary experience even if ends up turning into something positive. Well done for seizing this opportunity and doing so well with your performance – I am sure there will be many more to come in the future 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Maria, thanks so much. It was definitely nerve-wracking, but I felt pretty alive afterwards. Mostly my heart racing, lol. The times when I didn’t get the reaction I was hoping for was like falling into a deep pit, and the moments they laughed a good laugh was like a sending to Cloud 9. I’d love to do it again in the future. Thanks for the encouragement darling!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your kindness! I’m trying to walk the walk and take some chances. When one of my jokes inevitably fails terribly and I hear crickets, I’ll try and remember your bravos, my good man. I thank you with a curtsy.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You have no idea how much I admire you right now!! You let go of fear and did something so courageous, I am in utter awe! GOOD FOR YOU!!!! My dream is to become a paid writer, and you have reminded me that the only way to make that happen is to take a chance and put myself out there, despite looming rejections. You are my goddamn hero, and I am just so incredibly happy for you!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This means so much to me! Your dream totally deserves a fighting chance and you’ve been given the charge of giving it life. I’ve spent a lot of years being terrible, horrible at putting myself out there where it really counts. Most of my ideas never left my head or my paper, and it gets so tiring, it sucks. Thanks so much for your encouragement, girlie. What type of writing would you like to make a living from? Like, what type of writing are you passionate about?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, right back! You have really inspired me. I love writing, have since I was a little girl, but I sabotaged myself for so many years with that ugly inner voice that said I wasn’t good enough. I try not to listen to that voice anymore and am fighting hard for my dream. Currently, I am working on a memoir, like everyone else, I know, but damn do I have some stories to tell from the dysfunction of my life. And of course I write my blog, but I don’t write on it very often. It helps though, being vulnerable and opening myself up to criticism. Got to get used to that. You have encouraged me, and I can’t thank you enough. I think you are a total badass and I admire the hell out of you for getting up on that stage!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Everyone else is also wearing clothes, but you aren’t considering an alternative (I don’t think). No one can tell your story but you. I think that nasty voice has been really busy because he’s spoken to me as well. I’m glad you’ve been shoving him aside. I can’t wait to read your work! 💜

          Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear you dropping hints, lol. I actually made a practice recording from what I had written, but it just doesn’t sound the same as my live performance which was more animated. I’ll keep working at it. I’d like to keep you all on the blog in the loop of things. Y’all are my biggest support group and help keep me motivated. 🙂 xo

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You’ll have to do another gig and record it 🙂
    You could actually make a bit out of it. Tell the audience that this is a very special show tonight because your production team (point to friend with cellphone) is recording it for your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness I love this idea. I’ll tell them they’d better laugh real good for my bit, or else. I’ve heard that stand up comedians often practice dozens or more times before they feel like they’ve got it down well enough to show off, so we’ll see how it goes. But I’d love to see a progression in video.

      It’s crazy you say production team (hehe) as I’m actually working on building one! 😀 I think we must’ve been friends in another dimension.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Massive well done – I haven’t read your blog before, this is the first post of yours I found. To say that the #1 fear people in America have is public speaking (feared more than death, lolz) it sounds like you totally nailed it. I want to have a bash at stand up before my next birthday, I will try channel some of your confidence! Keep going!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Frances, I thought I had responded but I don’t know what happened! I think it’s great you’d like to do stand up, how exciting. How much longer do you have until your birthday? And have you got any ideas about what you’d like to talk about? I’d love to hear about it!

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  9. You lived what I’ve been afraid to do my entire life. Congratulations for having such courage. I would love to hear that you did it more, and became successful. I write everyday observational humor, and just published my first book. I enjoy writing, and making people laugh. I guess iIll stick to writing. My worst nightmare is to tells stories and jokes in front of people, and hear nothing but crickets, and chairs moving as people leave. You should be proud of yourself. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Patrick, thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. The very first joke I told was far too subtle and no one got it. I’m pretty sure all the hairs on my arm stood up. But then I made some jokes that got some good genuine laughs and it felt amazing.

      I can totally understand your fears, though. I’d like to try it again at the end of this month and I’m more nervous now because I can’t stand behind the excuse that it’s my first time and I didn’t prepare. So I’m just trying to prepare as much as possible and remember that even Seinfeld had some bad shows. I love observational humor. I think that if you deep down want to try stand up than you should just start by going to some open mics and getting a feel for the crowd. Mingle and gain some supporters. I was so glad that I had gotten there early and connected with a couple people. Then tell everyone that it’s your first time and keep it super short. When I felt like my mind was starting to go blank, I said thank you and goodbye! Baby steps. 🙂 Thanks again for your encouragement.

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      1. You will get there…and I for one, believe that perseverance and disciple are far more important than innate talent. Push yourself and be a better version of yourself. That’s the way to do it. I look forward to more of your heartfelt posts. All the best !

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Loved this. And I got as much inspiration from the comments and your replies as I did the actual post 😉 Some very insightful words here. Well done you and thank you for being our guinea pig and going out there to test the water 😉 Good luck for the next one! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally thought that I had responded to this comment, but alas! You make me want to go back and read the comments. 🙂 It’s tough out here for a guinea pig, but having the encouragement of all you fine people makes it so much better! Thank you so much. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Fair play to you! I did it once and it went well but I never felt the need to do it ever ever again! The nerves were brutal. Much preferred the writing process. But getting laughs was a rush – I can see why people stick at it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Conan! I did it a second time after this one, and as you say, getting laughs was a rush, but I still enjoy the writing process more. It’s fraught full of nerves. I think it’s nice that we’ve got the tiny experince under our belt. Kuddos to all those doing it on a regular basis. Btw, you may really like the HBO show Crashing. I’m loving it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

          1. “The power of comedy is to make people laugh, and when they have their mouths open and they least expect it– you slip in the truth.” – George Bernard Shaw 🙂 It’s good, right?
            Bonus: “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.” George Bernard Shaw

            Liked by 1 person

  12. Well done, it must’ve been so hard to get up on stage! But now you’ve done it! I think a lot can be said for stepping out of your comfort zone! We grow with discomfort.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! believe me, my body was shaking in places I didn’t know could shake, lol. I really do feel so much better for having done it. The discomfort zone has lots of fertile soil for growth 🙂 I appreciate your supportive comment.

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  13. I’m doing my first open mic in July, I know moat of the script but I felt awkward doing it in front of my Mrs at home.. Got to be better in front of a few people? Well done for having the guts! Pure bravery.. Especially without memorizing everything! Bless you.. Are you still doing it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey James! Good for you going for it. I would’ve been a nervous wreck to perform in from of my family. I’ve done it twice and each time I only invited one friend for support.

      They say that it takes a ton of practice with different audiences to really hone in on what works, so performing for the family should give you a head start (so long as they’re good with honesty, I’d imagine 🙂 ) I’ve been tiptoeing about stepping back on stage. I feel in my heart that I should, but I need more commitment. One joke at a time, and best of luck to you!

      Also, one of my lovely readers recommended the Amazon Prime show The Marvelous Mrs. Marple to me, and it’s so stinking good. I think you’d like it.

      Like

      1. Thanks for your comment! I’m really excited to get started with it. I hope you give it another go if it’s your calling and much respect for giving it a go first time round! I’ll have a look at the series hopefully. I’ve got so much too watch!! Hahaha

        Liked by 1 person

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