Finding Comfort In The Pain Of Others

I did my second open mic in two weeks! Not bad for a guy who was without mic for a year.

I had some fun tonight, which is a big deal because that’s one of my goals. I’ve made the decision that I don’t want to be so wrapped up in having a good performance that I take things too seriously and fail to enjoy being a stand-up. Why pursue a passion if you do it in a way that sucks all of the fun out of the process?

Most of the time, I don’t enjoy open mics. Why was tonight different? I saw some legitimate pro’s have mediocre sets.

Let me explain.

I’ll Bomb If You Bomb

misery loves company comedians bomb on stage

When I got to the bar, I saw some comics doing well, and I thought,

comedian bombing on stage how to handle bombing

But then, guys started struggling (it gets tougher and tougher to do well past 11:30pm on a Thursday night) and – this is gonna sound weird – I almost felt liberated. “Worst case scenario is that I do as poorly as everyone else, so at least I won’t be the WORST person who went on stage today.”

That’s a fucked up way to look at things. Does that mean that I need others to perform poorly in order to be myself and have fun on stage? Huh.

Maybe that’s just where I am as a person. But it does show that my willingness to experiment on stage is tied in some way to the willingness of others to experiment and have fun.

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About Michael Jagdeo

My name's Michael Jagdeo, and I refuse to write about myself in the third person. I'm a Comedian from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In addition to honing my stand-up comedy act, I maintain this blog and write the weekly comedy article for blogTO.com.
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2 Responses to Finding Comfort In The Pain Of Others

  1. Keith says:

    I’ve been struggling with that lately, too – even if I do well, if everybody does well, it feels like it doesn’t mean that much. If I do well on an night where a lot of people bomb, it’s much, much more rewarding. I feel like on some level it’s a pretty shitty attitude and not necessarily healthy, but I also kind of wonder if it’s possible to get over that. I don’t wish a bad set on anybody, but at the same time, we all know that the majority of us are not going to get anywhere super exciting with our comedy. Being able to perform better than others matters.

    Anyway, good luck to you man. I’d advice not over-thinking it too much and just forcing yourself to keep getting up more.

    • Hey Keith,

      Phew! At least I’m not the only one.

      It’s funny – your thoughts make me consider the issue of competition in a Darwinian sense. From that perspective, it makes total sense that there’s part of me that would want to see others to, well, not do as well as I do. We live in a world of competition, a world that seems like a zero-sum game. If that guy gets laughs, the instinct is that he’s taking something away from me.

      Yeah, that’s good advice. I recently finished a book by John Selk, who was the Director of Mental Discipline for the St. Louis Cards when they won the World Series. He talks about a Relentless Solution Focus (RSF), whereby you displace unhealthy thoughts by asking yourself, ‘What’s one thing that I can do right now to improve this situation?’ That, and his idea of the 100-Second Mental Toughness Exercise, are really helping me focus on what needs to be done.

      Thanks for the comment! It really does help to know I’m not the only one having these thoughts.

      Jagdeo

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