Every time I’ve taken the stage, I’ve had a plan. I knew exactly what jokes I wanted to tell and the order I wanted to do them in. Until a recent show that is…
I did an open mic and when I arrived, I was told I was going first. Going first is great because you get to set the rhythm of the show and get people ready to laugh the rest of the evening.
However, on this particular night, it was spring break in a college town. Which means, the crowd was scarce. When I took the stage, the only people I saw were other comedians who had seen and heard all of my material before.
So instead of doing the same old song and dance, I decided it was a good time to go through my notebook and try some new material. No order. No preparation. Just going for it.
It was weird. 6 months ago, if you asked me to do 5 minutes without any preparation or structure, I would have been a nervous wreck and probably would have passed out.
But that night, I didn’t care what anyone thought. I didn’t worry that my set wasn’t perfect. I was just got up there to have fun. And it worked out pretty well.
I got some laughs and now I have some great new jokes to add to my original set.
So sometimes getting thrown in the deep end is a good thing. You have to adapt. You have to struggle to float. But when it’s all said and done, you survive. You grow. You get better, and next time, the stage is a less scary place.
So don’t do the panic. It’s just comedy. It’s just jokes. And they are just people.