Let me tell you about last Friday night.
It's 9:50 p.m. and the Laugh Factory is filling up, I'm sitting upstairs in the green room with the other comedians and I'm as terrified as I have ever ever been in my life. All I can think about is that there is a crowd downstairs, a very large crowd I might add, who have paid money at one of the best comedy clubs in the city on a Friday night to watch comedians make them laugh. And it makes me want to throw up.
But let's rewind to about 9:30 p.m. when I show up at The Laugh Factory with my parents and I proceed to wait in line with them until the general manager finds me and says "Taylor, you and your parents don't need to wait in line, what are you doing? You're a performer! You guys can hang out upstairs if you want or grab a drink at the bar." So I left my parents down at the bar while the manager led me upstairs to the green room, a room in which I imagine has held all of the greats before me, a room with probably more secrets than any other room, a room that is currently holding a few of my favorite comedians from around the city. They're drinking and chilling like it's no big deal, because to them it isn't. They do this every single night. But to me, it's a big deal. They look at me like, oh hey are you here to get us a drink?
"I'm Taylor" I say and I stick out my hand to shake theirs and I can barely hold it still. I've never felt more uncertain or nervous in my life. Before they even say hello I blurt, "I'm good, thanks." You know, because I imagined they just asked "how are you?" But they didn't. Don't mind me I just have tourettes, I like to blurt out responses to salutations that never happened.
"Wait, you're the other comedian?" One of the guy's asked, he happens to be someone who is really good and really big in the comedy scene in Chicago. I've caught his act numerous times and he always kills it.
"Uh yeah," I say and he smiles at me kindly. I'm sure he's thinking, "that's cute, this must be her make-a-wish."
When it's my turn to take the stage the house manager has warned me it's a bit of a rowdy crowd. I'm not necessarily worried about hecklers, I'm worried about being thrown off. My biggest fear before going on stage is that I will forget everything I want to say and will crumble in front of a real crowd, not just an open mic crowd, this is a real crowd. Right before I step on stage I take a deep breath and think to myself, you have no one to blame but yourself for being here right now, normal people don't torture themselves with situations like this. If I would have followed the "normal path" I could have been sitting at home on a cozy couch with a nice glass of wine and maybe a baby or something in my arms. Who am I kidding let's not get carried away, what I meant is I could have been at home with my two Vizsla pups by my side. But no, I choose to be at a comedy club with six other dudes telling dick jokes trying to hold my own to a crowd full of drunk people. And at that moment I was hating myself for it.
I grabbed the mic and looked into the first row faces and saw that look. That look of the audience that says make us laugh, circus monkey. So it was now or never. When I started talking and realized that my brain was indeed still working I started to relax just a tiny bit and begged myself to slow down. This is crazy I remember thinking as I looked out into a dark crowd of people and could actually hear laughter at the things I was saying. At one point I had a really surreal moment where it felt like I was watching myself and I couldn't help but think you are a total weirdo but this is so awesome. I need more of this.
And just like that my time was over. It was truly one of the best feelings I've ever had. (But I imagine making it to girls state high school basketball in 2004 would have been a close second.) I faked as much confidence on stage as I possibly could have at the moment, but obviously I've still got a very long way to go. I want what the other comedians had, that confidence that they own the stage. They own their jokes and you're going to laugh whether you like it or not. That's what I want.
I suppose if I want that I should probably stop taking photos of myself with the set list in the green room... But it's for the blog, I had to. Guess the other comedians don't have lifestyle blogs? This face right here you guys, this is the face of fear.
But I survived the night. And now I want to do it again. And again and again and again.
Thank you so much to everyone who came out to support me! I was able to meet a few blog readers after the show and that was so fun for me. The fact that you would come out on a cold Friday night to watch me tell jokes is just about the coolest thing ever, so thank you again to everyone.
Let's do this, March. I've got big expectations for you. Things are starting to get fun.