I've been giving some thought lately to stand-up comedy.
I mean I've been reading books on humor/comedy writing. I've tried to lighten up my generally serious tone of writing with something, well, lighter. But I started watching stand up on Comedy Central. And Last Comic Standing. So, I've been thinking a lot about Stand-up.
Not in doing it. God no, that is simply too terrifying.
I've done some scary crap in my life, lone back packing in the mountains, lone SCUBA diving, sky diving, being a body guard, once I was even an armed body guard for a murder witness, 24/7 for a week.
But doing stand-up? Now that, is scary.
Look, they don't like you carrying a gun on stage. Yes, they want you to go out there with NO protection. And wear a flak jacket? No good, no use, it can't stop those non materiel slings and arrows of outrageous drunkards, when you're bombing. Its useless.
Yet, they do tell you to "Go out there and Kill that audience!"
But then when you do, its all police and red barrier tape and hand cuffs and getting knocked about by the local constabulary.
Anyway, not that I could do it stand-up. I mean seriously? Get in front of people where they are waiting on you to do something professionally entertaining?
Right. I don't think so.
Back in 10th grade English one day, I was sitting in my usual front desk, central as usual. You see, Teachers liked to have me up front and central. I don't know why, I think they liked to see where my hands were. I just found it...annoying. I mean, they were and always have been, hanging loose there at the end of my wrists; so like what gives?
Class was about to start that day and I made some comment and the class simply lost it. They were laughing pretty hard. I was pretty pleased.
The teacher, and she was a great teacher, liked me; for some reason. She's the one who tried to get me to work on the school newspaper, but gave me the oddest look when I responded with such comments as, "how much does it pay?" and "I don't work for free."
So she tried to gain control of the class, but mistakenly left an opening for me to make yet another comment. The class cracked up again.
We went through several more iterations of this routine. I think she was enjoying it, too. I could kind of tell because she was trying hard not to laugh along with the class. It was hard to miss because she was standing right there in front of me.
Lucky for me, she realized she had a sit down comic in her class and was as entertained as the rest of the room. I had received many "hacks" in my school career prior to High School, those pummeling whack paddles that did so much damage to my backside, so there had been plenty of teachers in my past who didn't appreciate my cleverness so much.
Now its obviously a compliment if you can be a class clown and crack up the other students. But when you can entertain the teacher too, and when she doesn't just put a stop to it, and she is laughing too, through even several gags, well, that's pretty talented, I would say.
So finally she said, "Okay, OK, its obvious now that you can keep the class in fits of laughter, but we really need to get to work, we have a schedule to follow."
I thought that was so nice and such a compliment, that I relented and gave her control of her class back. And she KNEW that I had voluntarily done so. It was hard to sit through class after that for the rest of the hour; but I was so in awe of her for being so entertained by me, and so respectful of my talents, that I gave her my full and rapt attention for the rest of the class and also for the rest of the semester.
Getting back to my getting in front of a crowd as a stand-up, doing it cold, with people I've never met, who are having thoughts of wanting to kill me, if not for two possible eventualities; such as my being funny and such as their drinking heavily enough; well, as I said before, I just don't see it happening.
Not in this lifetime anyway.
In closing I would just like to say that Jr. High School Teachers and stand up comics, both have my intense and deep respect for putting themselves on the line as they do, on a regular basis.
Cheers one and all!