So here I am in New York, minding my own business when what to my wondering eyes should appear? A comedy Dojo workshop in my little town, led by none other than Chili Challis at the Syracuse Funny Bone.
Chili was one of the judges for a comedy contest way back when. He’d seen me once, maybe twice on stage and I am fairly certain I stunk both times.
Most of you guys remember that story. Little old still struggling with stage fright, had only played open mics at bars up until this point ME,drove her shaking butt 15 hours to Indiana to put it all out there in front of the pros. If you guys recall, that was the show where I was told to never EVER do comedy again. Give it up, find something else – go do movies or something. And that was just my first night. I had to do TWO more sets after that. Good Golly Miss Molly.
That was also the time when my car got stolen upon returning home and learned if you are a comic, no one including the local police will ever believe your car was actually stolen and not repossessed.
Saving Grace to that whole week was one lone comic from NY who called bullshit on my entire set. I’d bought into this “I’m nobody special” lie and it really came through on stage. He saw it. He also saw a funny, beautiful woman behind the fear as well as potential and told me to go home, reevaluate not only my set, but my belief system. And I did.
I spent 14 months with a broken leg and took my entire set and beliefs about myself back to the studs and started over.
I remembered Chili from the contest. One because he looks like Jerry Garcia and is funny as heck and two his words were far more kind and I took them to heart.
“We all have bad nights, do this as long as you want to, whether you go pro or wind up with a really cool story for your grand-kids, it doesn’t matter. This is one of the scariest jobs on the planet. The fact that you got up there, says a lot.”
I’m back performing in Tulsa between trips to NY and my new voice feels more right than ever. When the notice for a dojo led by Chili came across my Facebook feed, I jumped on it. Tuesday night close to a dozen want to be comics met at the Funny Bone, we shared parts of our sets, worked out kinks, gave each other advice and got to know each other.
On Wednesday night we ALL came back for a show case, including three people who’d never done a live show before. Their courage fueled mine. Chili hosted the night and Thaddeus Challis headlined. They were hilarious and they made it fun for us, which translated to us having fun on stage and made an enjoyable evening for the crowd.
That’s how it’s supposed to work, and most of the time it does.
While it’s true the world is full of egos, there are those who reach out, reach back, and give a hand up. Comics are some of the most generous people you will meet. They are generous with praise, encouragement, and laughter.
You don’t have to be a comic to be generous and kind, you can do that in your every day life.
What dreams do you have?
They don’t have to be something as scary as public speaking, they can be anything. Why not try. You may succeed, or you may wind up with a really cool story to tell your grand kids.
Either way is a win.
You got this, now go for it!