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The one where I take a stand-up comedy class

The Improv Orlando

Monday night I joined 13 other people at The Improv Orlando to start an 8-week class on stand-up comedy. I’ve been searching for a way to push some boundaries and step out of my comfort zone, and comedy seemed to be the perfect choice. Many of my posts are written in such a way that you can almost see them being bits, and the few times I’ve stood in front of a crowd, I’ve succeeded in making them laugh.

The obstacle in my way is that I’m terrified of failing, and since every comedian says that you can’t succeed without bombing, it’s hard for me to consider doing stand-up. I know that I need to fail and be okay with it if I’m actually going to succeed. That’s probably why I don’t hit on girls in bars, as well.

As an anal-retentive person, I arrived 30 minutes early for the class and went to a bar next door to wait. I thought having a drink before might calm me down a little, since I was extremely nervous.

Pre-class jitter-calming drink

The bartender brought me my drink (Grey Goose and cranberry), and as I was reaching for it, my phone buzzed, which startled me, and my hand clipped the edge of the cup, knocking the entire contents of my drink directly onto my crotch.

I grabbed handfuls of cocktail napkins and immediately started wiping down my soaking wet crotch. I didn’t think I had any hope of drying it completely but thought if I could just improve it from “Pissed Himself” to “Didn’t shake enough before he zipped up”, I could survive.

I’m sure to any guests who arrived at the restaurant, it appeared that there was a man sitting at the far side of the bar who was furiously masturbating with both hands while grimacing and concentrating, but I was determined not to walk into my first class looking like that kid from Billy Madison. I received a second drink gratis (thank you hot bartender at Adobe Gila’s!) and since I now only had fifteen minutes before class started, I drank it quickly while monitoring the crotch-stain situation.

Satisfied that it was dry enough that you couldn’t tell unless you licked my crotch and tasted the cranberry, I headed over to class, where we spent an hour doing exercises and learning about the basics of stand-up comedy. The class meets every Monday for two hours and culminates in a live show. It’s a diverse group of people – black and white, women and men, happily unemployed and unhappily employed, pot-smoking and law-abiding, young and not-quite-old. I’m looking forward to getting to know them better over the next two months, and finally facing my fears.

75 thoughts on “The one where I take a stand-up comedy class”

  1. Like I said, standup is about the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done… and the three times I did it will undoubtedly be my last because I just can’t handle the pressure. AND I DID OKAY! I cannot fathom the sheer terror I would have experienced if I would have bombed. So if that’s truly what it takes to be good at it, I’m happy not knowing! Skydiving and SCUBA diving with sharks never scared me as much as stand-up, so you are a far braver man than I am. I wish you the best of luck, sir!

  2. If it was my need to bitch & complain that made you pee your pants and then furiously masturbate in public, I owe you several drinks the next time I see you.

    Also…. I have no doubt you will succeed.

  3. I also think you’ll do well, judging by this blog.

    One of the only regrets I have about leaving creative advertising school is that I was about to take an improv/stand-up comedy class, which would have been pretty cool.
    About six weeks ago, out of nowhere, I got inspired and wrote out some little bits. Strangely, I never really thought about it again after I wrote it. Guess I wasn’t that serious about the idea of actually DOING the stand-up. It certainly is an intimidating idea.

    Good luck! I’ll be interested to hear how it goes.

  4. I feel like I should say ‘You go, girl!’ in a Ricki Lake tone, but I won’t be that patronizing. Instead, I’ll suggest that the next time you spill a drink on your crotch, you duck into the washroom and furiously masturbate under a hand dryer. Just don’t get too close to the vent.

  5. Trust me, it gets better. Having taken many improv classes, trust me when I say that if you have the bug, you will be excited as hell by the time that show hits for graduation. Don’t worry. You’re damn funny and, basically, you already have a joke to add to the routine: Cranberry Crotch.

  6. You never mentioned if anyone tried to licked your pants??

    Kudos for you new endeavor! I did some stand up in college. Mostly just “My home town is so small….” jokes, but I did ok. It was still REALLY scary! I admire your courage! Good luck, and keep the Cranberry & Goose in the cup!

  7. Awesome! So glad to see you do this.
    I wanted to do improv badly in my 20s and never mustered up the courage, cash, or time to take classes that are offered at the theater I loved visiting so much (called “Whole World Theater” … we should go next time you’re here). I’m looking forward to reading about how it goes in future weeks.

  8. Good luck! I find it awesome to see people challenging themselves, especially when it comea to fear of failure. I am the same way. Definitely will be looking for when you do your show.

  9. I think it’s great that everybody is being so supportive.
    I also think it’s great that in 8 weeks you may be able to make people laugh at more than just your balls.

  10. From the short time I’ve been reading your blog, I think you’ll be great at it!

    I was art major and quit art altogether almost 10 years ago. Finally went back to a painting class last night. I was very anxious about it, but it felt great to do something I am good at and enjoy and I’m definitely going back whenever I can. Hopefully it will start something because I’m pretty sure I wasn’t meant to do medical transcription forever.

    Good luck!!

  11. I have this mental picture…walking into a restaurant, casually glancing around and my eyes coming to rest on a man with his back to me, his arms pumping furiously in the crotchal area…oh shit. Excuse me while I retrieve a washcloth to clean the partial chewed food off my iMac.
    Good luck to you sir. If you get a gig in the Seattle area, I’m so there!

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