Thursday, September 29, 2011

Even MORE great advice from me!

I've really been enjoying doing comedy lately.  Hello, it's about time--it's been almost eight years since I first took the stage at Boomers and after all, hobbies are meant to be enjoyed, no? 

Sunday night I did a set at the open mic at Big Al's Comedy Club in the Orleans, which was a blast.  My BFF Julie of 47 and Starting Over fame was there with her boyfriend, Michael, who's also a comic and who also performed, and another couple who are Julie's good friends and are now mine as well.  Julie taped my set--I'll have to see if I can post that.  I know--promises, promises. 

Big Al's is a great room and John Barnes, who runs the stage, does a fantastic job keeping the comics moving.   If you're ever visiting, or are just looking for something to do on a Sunday night, check out Big Al's.  The show starts promptly at 9:00 and it's free.  Of course, open mics are always a crap shoot since they're open to all levels of performers, but that just adds to the fun.

Then Tuesday night I did the Las Vegas Comedy Show in my buddy Joe Lowers' showroom at Alexis Park.  It was the first time I performed there since I had my show last year and I swear, I don't think I'll ever get used to the stage lighting in that room--so bright!  I can't see a goddamn thing and it it's like Helen Keller comedy, but the room is awesome.  A couple of my friends from the old Boomers days were hanging out backstage and we remarked about how long it's been since we all met.  Eight years--Jesus H.  As my grandmother used to say, where does the time go?

At one point as we were shooting the shit, I was overcome with a feeling so warm I almost feel like a sap telling you about it.  But it's true.  I love all my comic friends; they're "my people."  If you read Bastard Husband, you know how much they meant to me when I first came to Vegas and hardly knew anyone in town.  As I wrote in my book, they never made me feel like an old bat; they've always been very warm and kind to me, and that still holds true for the young kids I'm meeting now.  I recently got a Facebook friend request from a kid born in 1990!

So things have never been better in the comedy area.  I'm having fun with it, now that I'm no longer blotching up with stage fright. I don't think I'll ever lick it entirely, but as Dale Carnegie says, a certain amount of stage fright is useful.
"It is nature's way of preparing us to meet unusual challenges in our environment.  So, when you notice your pulse beating faster and your respiration speeding up, don't become alarmed.  Your body, ever alert to external stimuli, is getting ready to go into action. If these physiological preparations are held within limits, you will be capable of thinking faster, talking more fluently, and generally speaking with more intensity than under normal circumstances."
He goes on to say that many professional speakers never completely lose stage fright.
"It is always present just before they speak, and it may persist through the first few sentences of their talk. This is the price these men and women pay for being race horses and not like draft horses."
Who wants to be a draft horse, huh? 

I love the Dale Carnegie stuff.  You have to read through a lot of anecdotal material to get to his point sometimes, but the takeaways are worth it.  Like when he encourages you to talk as confidently as if every person in the audience owes you money and they have assembled there to beg you for an extension of credit.  Cool stuff.

I share my experiences doing comedy in case one of you, my beloved readers, is allowing fear to prevent you from doing something you really, really want to do. Whether you're afraid to go out on the town by yourself, talk to a stranger in line at the grocery store, give a presentation at work, post an profile on an online dating site, or pursue a hobby as crazy as stand-up comedy... I have two simple words of advice:  "Fuck fear."

Just like Dale Carnegie's books, this blog is full of tons of anecdotal crap. So I'll save you the trouble of sifting through the more than 600 posts in the past three years and I'll tell you the three most important takeaways.  If you learn nothing else from my so-called life, let it be this:
  1. Stand up straight.
  2. Smile.
  3. Fuck fear.
Got it?


JeannetteLS said...

Yup. And I am one of your readers who has been inspired by your book and by a whole lot of what you say right here in your blog. Thank you. May I please stand up crooked?

Julie D said...

I'm gonna try emailing that video to you. Let me know if you get it.

So great to see you last week. I miss you already! How fun was it to have you, me, Darlene and Penny altogether??? I just now posted a blog about the trip...

Mimi said...

love the 3 last pieces.
And, actually, I'm going to use this tonight when I play with a new band.
My musical experiences are a mirror of your comedy when it comes to wonderful people, no matter age!