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Ironically, the place I feel the most comfortable these days is on a stage doing stand-up. This is a huge transition from 23 years as a private art advisor, and now instead of selling a Warhol I am selling myself.
I am suspended in a state of semi-anxiety making this huge life change and a microphone suddenly feels like my security blanket! I always thought speaking the bubble over my head was my comedic strength which stand-up allows me to actually get away with!
Btw, my mother always believed I was funny and encouraged me years ago to write a blog. I had no idea what she was talking about but I believe she saw it as a sign from Oprah, who at the time was promoting blogging. And leave it to my twelve-year-old nephew to teach me how to get one up and running. However, crafting comic material and its delivery is a far cry from her thinking I was funny. And what I see in myself and fellow comics is that thinking you are funny and standing up and being funny are two different animals. Scared yet?
The best decision I made, however, in this attempt at comedy, was taking classes in stand-up at Second City in Chicago. I usually think I am the smartest person in the room until I learn I am not! I learned how to craft a story, how a joke evolves, the different kinds of delivery, and weekly practice, practice, practice in class. Most of all, I learned to listen and take criticism from professional funny people. Every great comic looks like they are making the shit up but it is practiced day after day and revised and revised until it looks spontaneous.
I am the most nervous thinking about going to an open mic and grouse that I want to stay home and watch another episode of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel instead. The irony is, when I get there and hear a few people I can't wait for my turn! I always want to go first, although I learned it’s not the best spot so I beg for third. I have to learn to make brisket like Midge Maisel to bribe the host so I secure a good place. I see the genius in the brisket now.
Comedy By Gail
Writer, Comedian, Author of Gonepausal