Adventures in Stand-Up Comedy

I’ve always wanted to try stand-up comedy. I just never thought about it seriously. It was at the back of my consciousness for years, but I took no solid steps to get there. It seemed like something only super talented comedy geniuses did. It definitely did not seem like something I could do.

But as I get into my 30s, I’m starting to see very clearly, why NOT me? In lots of different contexts. But specifically in this case, why can’t I be one of those up and coming comedians? Because I know I’m going to see more and more female comics breaking through in the next five years, and maybe some of them will have started when I did.

And why can’t one of them be me? How often do we talk ourselves out of doing things because we don’t think we’ll succeed at them? Or for just a host of other reasons (‘I don’t have time,’ ‘Sounds fun but what’s the point?’).

So, after my breakup last summer, I felt emotionally raw and a little more courageous. I started asking a few friends who had taken stand-up classes about their experiences. I gathered teachers names and more information, but still, couldn’t bring myself to actually sign up.

But a few months ago, I finally signed up for a class. I’m not sure what exactly the tipping point was, but I knew I had amassed enough bits and pieces of ideas to possibly form a stand-up set (they are normally about 7-10 minutes).

The class started in early July and I have my stand-up debut on Sunday.


What have you always wanted to try but put off? Perhaps taking a writing class, learning a new language, taking an improv class. Ask yourself why you put it off? And why can’t you try whatever ‘it’ is now?

Trying Something Crazy and Unexpected in Your 30s

What are your hobbies? For awhile, whenever I was asked that question (not often, admittedly), my answers would be very internal activities like reading, writing, watching movies. I realized that my hobbies are mostly ways to retreat from the world – not engage in it. There’s nothing wrong with having internal hobbies, but lately I’ve wanted hobbies that connected me to other people and the world at large.

So, after hearing from friends for years that improv is a fun way to meet people and help with my writing, I signed up for a improv 101 class at UCB (Upright Citizens Brigade) here in Los Angeles. I’m five classes in, and I love it so far. Since you have to come up with comedic bits and scenes on the fly, you have no choice but to be completely present and living in the moment. In a way, it’s like meditation. What’s cool about it is that you constantly surprise yourself. I love that about improv.

Since I’m a comedy screenwriter primarily, the class has helped me become more free in my own writing. The exercises we did last week were especially helpful – they were the “monologues” part of the course. We basically do 1-2 minute comedic monologues on a subject that is suggested to us by the audience. I found that I was really good at the monologues and could make people laugh. I left the class feeling somewhat elated.

More than that, the class is making me curious about adding a new component to my writing career…stand-up comedy. Is the idea of me doing stand-up comedy crazy? Maybe. Maybe not. The thing is, people don’t immediately meet me and think I’m “funny.” They’d say I’m “down to earth” and “genuine.” And I know that I’m perceived as shy – especially when I meet people in groups. In fact, my UCLA classmate and friend who I’m taking the improv class with told me after class that he was really surprised how funny I was, because he always thought of me as “shy” and “quiet.” Kind of a back-handed compliment, but hearing that kind of thing always motivates me, to essentially “show them wrong.”

So that’s that. I’m going to try stand-up comedy in the next few moments. I’ve already started writing a few jokes down. I’ll start checking out some shows and then maybe try doing an open mic.

If you had asked me in my 20s if I’d ever do stand-up comedy, I’d have said no way. I’d have told you it was way too scary and miles and miles out of my comfort zone. But now, in my 30s, I feel more fearless than ever.

I’m Pimping Out the Amy Schumer Show

Have you watched The Amy Schumer Show on Comedy Central? It’s amaze-balls. It’s a sketch comedy show created by and starring comedian Amy Schumer. What I love most about the show is that Amy tackles really big issues (rape, wage inequality, female body issues) in hilarious ways.

For women in our age bracket, 20s and 30s, her sketches are really resonant. She’s got one sketch about how hard it is for women to accept compliments from other women, as in, we always downplay the compliment. Or, another great sketch is about a girl who’s dating a loser wannabe rapper bad boy, and how she always ditches her best friend for him though clearly he is like the WORST BOYFRIEND EVER.

Want a get a taste of her humor? Check out her speech from three days ago at The Glamour Awards 2015.

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