All The World’s A Stage

What’s going on, everyone!

By the time you’re reading this, I would have been about a week removed from my west coast debut stand up comedy appearance at the World Famous Comedy Store! It was a crazy road to get there, that’s for sure.

I was part of a showcase called “Whores On Sunday.” That alone would probably get your attention, right? It was the “final” of a comedy course I had been taking over the summer. Though I had microphone experience, I had to relearn not being afraid of it when performing all over again. The six Wednesdays of prep for the show was intense. I tried to bring new material into class every week in order to “feel it out” or to see how I would like sharing it with others. Students in my class was supportive, and I rarely felt “silly” for throwing up a joke that didn’t work.

Writing jokes is a lot like writing material for the page. It’s essentially storytelling: There has to be a beginning, middle and end. When you think you have it down pat, one read through makes you realize you were way off. However, if you are firing on all cylinders, you feel it. And feel it I did.

Though the stage area was cool, the holding area for the talent was hovering over 90 degrees. Between being nervous of forgetting my material on stage, the heat, and not wanting to sweat through my dress shirt, I was a bit of a wreck. I paced back and forth, reciting my material. I purposefully had about seven minutes of stuff prepared for my three minute showcase (just in case I forgot something.) There were about sixteen (!) of my friends in the audience, and I didn’t want to disappoint.

I watched some of my classmates from the backstage area. Though I was listening, my mind was still on making sure I didn’t bomb my first time out. But something happened. When they called my name, I shot out of the backstage area like a bullet. My mind thought of that scene in “Man On Fire” when Denzel Washington’s character is training Dakota Fanning’s character how to be a better swimmer.

Set me free! Also loves how Denzel says “Trained or Untrained?” Haha, classic!

So anyway, I powerwalk from the backstage area and through a small aisle of table and chairs, a canyon of comedy. I walked on the stage’s red carpet, shook the hand of my comedy instructor and emcee for the night, and grabbed the mic. The spotlights were on me, which made seeing the audience pretty difficult. So I let it rip into the darkness in front of me.

Man, What. A. Rush.

Courtesy: Michael Hsueh
Courtesy: Michael Hsueh

The response was overwhelmingly positive, and I don’t think it was because so many of my friends were in attendance. Something clicked, and that fantasy of being that legendary comic doing a sold out show in the garden seemed that much closer to grasp. I’m trying to tell myself it was “just one show,” it was “beginner’s luck,” and “everyone eventually bombs” but it’s hard not to be proud of myself.

As a writer, they say the best work is the one that’s performed. Today, I had the chance to do. No editors, no thinking by committee, just little ‘ol me and that’s beautiful…

Not sure where I go from here, but I was on a high for days.


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