What would possess me to try stand-up at my age?
1 – I’m not dead yet.
2 – I like being on stage.
3 – I forget what 3 is.
My biggest fear was, could I remember my lines?
True fact: Every time you give birth you lose a pinky-sized portion of your brain. Yeah, somehow it comes out with the baby, not sure how, but it’s why we’re so forgetful and talk to ourselves. I’ve watched some very funny moments as a comic tries to cover forgetting their next joke. Being able to improvise and do crowd work is a huge help til you get back on track. I’m a parent, you don’t think I can improvise and do crowd work!!!???
And how hard could it be to come up with 3-5 minutes of comic material? I’ve parented 3 daughters for 22 years, the problem is more like – where do I start?
I’m a full-time Realtor with a stressful job but before kids I was always involved in theater, just never comedy. Given the fact that some parts of adulthood aren’t fun, and the world can be scary, I needed to find a creative outlet. Taking risks and being vulnerable are always great for personal growth so it’s a twofer.
You may be thinking, this is something I want to try (because I’m crazy too) but how do I find an open mic and where can I get help getting started?
Here are some answers:
Join Facebook groups for comics, open mics, comedy clubs, etc. Here in Boston, I would highly recommend ImprovBoston (IB) in Cambridge. They offer classes in Stand-Up/Comedy/Improv and even have a scholarship for people over 50 called The Michael Martin “New Tricks” Scholarship. IB has multiple shows on 2 stages every week.
Attend local comedy shows / open mics to see what it’s like before you try it.
Experienced comics offer one-on-one sessions. If you see someone you like, ask them if they would ‘tutor’ you. I paid someone I admire $30 to sit with me for an hour and it was very helpful.
Keep a small notebook or use an app on your phone to jot ideas down when they come to you. (Believe me, you’ll forget them if you don’t).
There are organized workshops where a group of comics (of all levels) gather together and then split up into small groups and get feedback from each other on material. Once you dip into your local stand-up community, ask around and find out about who has one coming up.
Turns out there’s not one way to do it. Everyone has their own method, some never write down a word, others use precise, librarian-style systems to hone their sets to a fine art. Some comics get on stage and just riff on a topic or do all crowd work based on who happens to be sitting in the audience. Whatever you’re comfortable with and works for you, that’s the right way to do it. Everyone has a point of view and no one else has that same point of view so each person brings that to their material and performance. Some people take on a persona or alter ego.
There’s a consensus amongst comics that standup is a cheap form of therapy (sometimes you even get paid!). I would have to agree. I’m a better mate, mom, friend since I started getting back on stage and making people laugh. Beware – the high you get from it can be habit-forming.
After 3 years I now have my own brand – Boston Comedy Project. I produce, curate, book and host women-focused comedy shows.
In fact, my next show is at ImprovBoston, on Thursday, September 29 at 9:30pm and I want you to come! (OMG, is that a typo? 9:30 on a THURSDAY? I can’t possibly be in Cambridge at 9:30 on a Thursday, that’s my night to iron all my shirts! And if I’m not ironing, I’ll be getting ready for bed!)
Really? I’m going to make it easy! There’s parking!!! There’s dinner!!! It’s not expensive!!! Grab some friends, drive to Cambridge at 7:30 PM and park in Green St garage (it’s cheap and very close to IB), eat dinner at one of a million restaurants nearby, walk over to ImrovBoston and watch a hilarious line up of women comics. (Use discount code BA50 when ordering tix, they end up being $7.50!) Here’s the link – http://www.eventbrite.com/e/boston-comedy-project-presents-tickets-26583859038
Thank you and goodnight! I need an ending!
Join Ronna and Felice and other BA50 women for a night of women comics! Let’s fill the theatre with BA50 Women!!! Sign up here and use discount code BA50 for the discount!