Archive for December, 2011


Stand-up Comedy is for Losers

One decent pic of about 7 where I'm acting full out retardo.

– “What’s this you say?  Comedy, of the stand up variety is for losers?  How so?”

Well it is.  Standup comedy most certainly is for losers.  I’m one of those losers.  About a year ago is when it started – scratch that.  It sounds too generic.  It all started about a year ago – Much better.  Or is it?

See, what I did right there is very typical of a comedian.  Always second guessing one’s self, never sure.  The developing comedian is always making changes to their writing, our “material”.  Always second guessing ourselves, and wondering, “which way is best?”  How can I take this idea, put it into words, and make strangers in a dark, dingy basement, who are probably unknowingly inhaling asbestos, laugh?  Anxiety.  Will it go easier if I picture them all naked?  Not with the crew I see sitting in the front row today.  Why are they staring at me?  Oh, right.  If they were hitchhiking I wouldn’t pick anyone of them up.  Sorry Mom.  Today would have been a good day to be the blind comedian.

When I first decided to hit the stage at Yuk Yuk’s in Kitchener my life was in a downward spiral.  Visions of a flushing toilet come to mind.  I had recently lost my job.  I was a 3d Artist at a video game studio in town.  I was running out of money and eating way  too much Mr. Noodle.  Don’t get me wrong I love Mr. Noodle.  As a kid I called it, “favorite soup”.  Truthfully, I was scared.  I didn’t know where to turn next.  I was losing at life – I was a loser.  My pride was at an all-time low.  Then in a flash, my Mr. Noodle soaked brain cells, firing on not nearly all cylinders, provided me with an “ah ha” moment.  An idea, a vision.  I thought, “I know!  I’ll perform standup comedy!”  My girlfriend was uncertain.  She said she couldn’t imagine seeing me onstage telling jokes.  Anxiety, again.

I went to a bunch of amateur nights at Yuk Yuk’s in town.  Amateur nights were once a month, the last Thursday of every month.  The comedians began to recognize me.  Then the day came where it was my turn to go on stage, and possibly crap my pants – better wear old underwear.  The possibility of bombing was almost unbearable, but believe it or not, it was much more difficult to pick up the phone and call Jack, the club manager who would schedule me to perform, than it was to actually perform.  I sat outside with my girlfriend, (I later found out she was even more nervous than I) thinking of ways to get out of this…messiness. With all the stress and uncertainty going on in my life, why would I put this weight on myself?  This is crazy!  Then in a moment of true clarity, not Mr. Noodle invoked clarity, but true clarity, I realized, “Hey Reid, your losing.  You’re hitting your bottom.  Sure it’s not that bad, but what could be worse?  Go up there and give ‘em what you got.  You’ve got nothing to lose.”

I grew taller that day.  Performing comedy was my version of skydiving.  I told jokes to about twelve perfect strangers, in a dark, dingy room.  How’d I do?  Well I’m still here.  Unfortunately the underwear didn’t make it.  My girlfriend sat in the back and recorded my set with a similar pride a parent would have while recording their child’s first steps.  This experience was indeed my first steps in a way.  I felt amazing during and after the show.  Comedy is a great avenue to vent frustrations, overcome fears and meet new challenges.  The stage welcomes anybody.  I won that day.  Every once in a while a loser wins.

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