Open Mics and Meeting Friends

Where am I? What is happening? Whose chair is that? What a whirlwind of a week it has been. I tell you what, I tell you whatttttt.

I went to four open mics last week in three days and totally burned myself out. That and having too much caffeine. I’m super sensitive to caffeine and I was really tired one day, so I indulged in some of that energetic goodness. Somehow, one day turned into five days in a row, which is a terrible idea for me. Part of it is that I’ve just been going straight to the cafe every morning to get work done and I feel obligated to order something, so I wind up getting green teas.

The point is, I totally elevated my heart rate way too frequently and burned myself out and paid the price for it. Since I’m not in comedy shape, I was getting pretty worked up for my sets. I felt fine after the first two nights. Both sets went fine. I was rusty, for sure, but I learned a ton and got some good laughs. The third night I was feeling pretty anxious but I went out anyway. I signed up at 7:30 for a slot that wasn’t going to be until at least midnight.

So, I hung around there for a bit and watched a few of the comics. There was an actual audience, so that was nice to see. Then, I went to another open mic and got on stage there. I didn’t have a good set at all. Some of my jokes landed well but my delivery was terrible. I was stuck trying to memorize instead of be natural and it all just came off very stiff and rehearsed. I even forgot one of jokes mid-way through. And that’s precisely the problem with memorizing jokes word for word. You get thrown off a bit and the previous word that was supposed to trigger the next word isn’t there and now you’re here, in this room…

Overall, it was honestly a pretty good night. I met several friends, had a few really good conversations with comics about comedy, and came to a bunch of really important insights. It’s easy to get caught up in results and focus on that, but I’m trying to stick to focusing on the process and just learning each time I go up on stage.

What pushed me over the edge anxiety wise was all of the waiting. I came back to the first open mic, anticipating that I was going to go on stage. The anticipation is the most anxious part of comedy, because you have no idea what’s going to happen. Once I’m up there I’m usually fine, because I’m in the moment. Afterwords, I almost always feel a sense of relief whether I do well or not. Sure, I feel better when I do well, but even if I do poorly it only affects me for maybe twenty minutes or so.

This night turned into hours and hours of anticipation and no actual resolution. I kept getting bumped, and I never actually got on stage, so I was just working myself up for three hours. I felt bad for the guy hosting. I had a long conversation with him and he talked about how people come in and say “I’m so in so” or “I open for Joe Rogan blah blah blah,” and he has to put them up on stage because he wants to get booked for shows in the future and must play the politics of comedy networking. He says he hates that part, and I know I will, too. It’s a bit weird that it happens at an open mic, honestly. I get it if someone who is a big name walks into a club one night for a paid show and another comic gets bumped, but bumping people at an open mic doesn’t really seem necessary. I get that people who have established careers want to work on their material, too, but it’s just an open mic…

I took away a wealth of knowledge form the night, but I woke up the next morning feeling exhausted beyond belief. I ended up sleeping until 1 pm. I usually can’t sleep for more than seven hours, but I slept for twelve and I was still tired all day. And the next day. And the next day. I realized that I had been in a constant state of high-stress and it all came crashing down on me at once.

Anyways, I did a bunch of meditating and yoga and I’m starting to feel much better. Life is all about that sweet sweet balance. I’ve started to settle into a routine and am getting used to my new life. I had this picture in my head of going on stage every single night, and that’s still what I envision, but I don’t need to jump into it right away and overwhelm myself. Success will come when it comes, and I don’t need to force it. I want to enjoy the process anyway, and I know I’ll look back at these times one day and wish I could revisit them.

This past weekend, I told myself to just try and relax and actually have some fun. That’s one thing I learned in regards to performance as well. Comedy is supposed to be fun, and I was taking it too seriously. So, this weekend I let go, and I had an amazing time. I met up with a new friend, Heather, who was nice enough to invite me to her birthday picnic at Zilker park. I played Spike Ball with some people, had some nice conversations, and really enjoyed the day. A woman there told me about a gathering every Saturday morning where a bunch of writers get together and invited me for next weekend, so that will be an awesome opportunity.

Heather then invited me to roast marshmellows later in the night at her friends house, and I said hell yeah! It was a much smaller gathering, which was actually really nice. It was so good to just hang out with new people. It’s been such an isolating year. I had great conversations and am so happy to have made new friends.

Sunday was an adventure in its own right. I packed a back pack with a few White Claws, hopped on a scooter and rode down towards the river to rent a paddle board. It was super busy, but I was lucky enough to get one just in time. And wow, what an experience. I paddled on out there all by my lonesome and just floated on into the giant crowd of people. I made some friends pretty quickly. They were nice, but I could tell they weren’t quite my type of people, so I slowly floated away.

I ran into a couple of girls who asked me if I had any drinks, so I talked to them for a few minutes and gave them one of my White Claws, but I knew they were only talking to me for my booze, so I moved on from that as well.

A few minutes later, I turn around and see this guy with a life-jacket on, and he yells “I’ve got my life-jacket baby!” and he just starts laughing. He was the only one on the water actually wearing one. I said something back to him and then he said “It really brings out my eyes!” I could tell this guy and I were about to be freinds. And I was totally right. I made friends with Daniel and his cousin and her husband, and we had a fucking hoot of a time.

Daniel and I floated around the river talking to girls and making terrible jokes. He was absolutely hammered, and must have fallen off his paddle-board at least five times. The funniest one was when these two girls floated by, one of whom was maybe the hottest girl I’ve ever seen in my life, and he said something to them and then just flew straight off his board and into the water. I watched the whole thing happen and I still can’t stop laughing about it. That girl was so hot. Daniel was so hammered. It was a recipe for a disaster.

I was out on the lake for about five hours, and it was one of the best times of my life. I can’t wait to get my own board and head out there every weekend. Everyone is so happy and friendly. This place really is magical.

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