How Stand-up Comedy Changed My Life

It all started back in October 2017, when my boss at The Second City told me about their one free class pass for staff members. I briefly mentioned I was interested in trying my hand in stand up. Less than 20 minutes later, I get an email saying I was signed up for Stand Up 101 for the following eight weeks.. All I could think about was, "Well...I can't back out now..." and "Think about how much money you're saving." After months of hitting up open mics and being in comedy shows, I can comfortably say that I am not a stand up comedian. BUT, I can say that I've blossomed into a new butterfly from all the things getting behind a mic has taught me...

Stand up helped me accept failure infinitely better.

We had a graduation show after the 8 week course where we got the chance to perform a 5 minute set at de Maat Theater at The Second City. To get practice, a group of us hit up open mics a few times a week leading up to the show. Imagine. It's a dim bar...usually around 10-30 people in their mid 20's to 30's...and there's a single mic in the spotlight...You have 5 minutes to make people laugh, or not. As a big people pleaser, my urge to make people laugh was strong. As someone whose always had stage fright, the desire to shrink back into my chair was paralyzing. As conflicting as it was and with the help of supporting friends, I got up to try some jokes at various bars. I loved the incredibly bittersweet process; the nervous energy before a set, the adrenaline in front of the mic, and the excitement at the end when you realized your own jokes made some people laugh.

The first time I bombed, when I only got a few chuckles, it honestly felt like I was hit with a tidal wave with embarrassment and failure. And I bombed a lot. Those feelings only lasted a few hours after a set, and the more I went to open mics, that time frame of humiliation only got smaller. Eventually, I used the whole open mic experience to help me practice my delivery, stage presence, and content creation. Being vulnerable and repeatedly "failing" in front of groups of strangers helped me "suck it up" and stop to enjoy the process in my personal life of struggles.

Doing stand up instilled more confidence in all aspects of my life.