Toronto Comedian gets Nervous before a set
I was talking to the host, Brian Coughlin, about 30 minutes before the show started. I was scheduled for a 3-minute set.
And while he was talking, the pussy in the back of my mind was brainstorming how to get out of the set. I was nervous. I saw the other comics and thought, ‘Man, what seemed funny at home seems pretty lame right now…’
I always get that feeling. I don’t know why.
I reminded myself that as long as I got through the first minute, I’d be ok. To help with that, I typed out the first minute again on my phone right before the set:
The Set (Video)
Context: We had an Occupy Wallstreet movement where I live called Occupy Toronto. Earlier in the month they were evicted from the street that they were protesting in and had to move their demonstration to a park.
Yep, that’s right: in Canada, protests happen in parks. 0:00 – 1:56 is Occupy Wallstreet, 1:56 – end is white people with cottages.
Getting comfortable with the uncomfortable
That phrase never made sense to me. If I’m comfortable with something, it’s not longer uncomfortable to me. A phrase much less catchy – but much more accurate – would be, ‘Accepting that discomfort (in this case getting nervous before going on stage) is natural.’
Getting nervous before going on stage just means I’m human. Tons of people are always telling me, ‘I’d never go on stage. It’s too scary. You’re nuts.’
But what’s the worst that could happen? They don’t laugh. And that’s happened before. Many a time. Many…many a time…
But that’s not why I’m nervous.
My Real Fear: Not Getting on again
My real fear of bombing is no longer people not laughing. It’s much more serious: the real fear is doing so badly that the booker no longer wants me on his/her show.
And that’d kill my career.
But, like most stress-inducing mental constructs (see Dr. Brown’s Feeling Good) , this fear of mine has been exaggerated and blown out of proportion. I’ve seen comedians do poorly on stage, and they’ve always been rebooked on open mics.
And the bookers are sympathetic because, like me, they sucked in the beginning too. We all suck in the beginning.
So don’t worry, Mike. Just do what Chris Locke said, ‘Work what you think is funny in every room.’