Hello, Stand-Up Performers!
Could you please send me a sentence or two about yourself that Wendy Liebman can use when she introduces you?
It was a simple enough email, but left me staring at a blank screen for far too long. It was for me, and I don’t do stand up; I barely do sit down.
I’m headed to the Erma Bombeck Writing Workshop, a biannual (every two years, not twice a year) writing conference for funny writers and those who aspire to be. And this year, I’ll be writing some stand-up material, and performing it. Which is both amazing and makes me throw up a little in my mouth.
Which is nothing new.
I went to Erma two years ago, and spent much of the time alone in a bathroom stall fluctuating between crying and drinking alone. Go ahead, judge away.
But a funny thing happened on the way to Dayton, or really, during and after.
I got a swift kick in the ego, was told by everyone and no one specific, to snap outta it and tell your story. So I did and wrote about it here, and I have Erma and the smart, funny writers who make the pilgrimage to Dayton to thank for it.
And had my hand held the entire time by the kind, gentle and extraordinarily talented emcee, Patty Wynn Brown, but she didn’t know it then.
Get it out, throw your hat in the ring, and if you’re rejected? So be it. Move on. There’s more than one audience, and everyone has a story to tell. Just maybe, somebody will be ready to hear yours.
That’s what I learned last time.
Since then, I’ve joined two writing groups, read my work aloud to real people, attended the biggie BlogHer (workshops so-so, keynotes AWESOME), auditioned for Listen To Your Mother 3x (no, no, and no, but can’t blame a girl for trying to recreate the magic), submitted scores of essays and articles, and have been rejected – and accepted – just enough to think I may, in fact, be a writer.
So I’m going back to Erma, and have been selected* to perform in Attendee Stand-up Night: where novice amateurs give stand-up a whirl to a captive, and hopefully very drunk, audience.
And I need to write an intro for the real comedian to introduce the amateur, yours truly. Moí. I also need to write 4 minutes of material, which I will do. Soon. I hope.
What if they don’t laugh? What if they don’t get me? Rumor has it I’m not very popular with the mid-west crowd.
But what if they do.
So I’m doing it: sink or swim, laugh or awkward silence, accepted or rejected. I’m putting it out there, because if you throw enough spaghetti to the walls, something’s gotta stick.
Knowing I’m amongst friends I haven’t met yet, I will bravely leave the bathroom stall, climb up on the stage, and give it a try. It’s all I can do.
*Full disclosure: selected might be hyperbole: it was completely random. However, there is the Erma Bombeck essay contest which I entered and is judged, anonymously, by real writers with real credentials, which I want to win more than is healthy to admit.