Last night I got the chance to perform at Chicago’s oldest and most famous comedy club, Zanies. And I’m kind of ashamed to admit this, but yesterday was actually my first time ever stepping foot in Zanies.
But when I first walked into the iconic club on Wells street I could instantly see why so many comedians from all over the country call this place one of their favorites. There’s a certain feel to it that just can’t be replicated. It’s an intimate little setting with limited seating and the walls are absolutely filled with autographed photos of every great comedian to ever live. For a newbie like myself, it was both overwhelming and exciting to be in a room that has launched so many of the careers of my idols.
I usually get really nervous before a show, but last night was different. Before going on stage I had made the decision that it was probably going to be my last time doing stand-up for a while. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and I’m just not sure I’m cut out for the life of a comic. To be completely honest I’m just not tough enough, and I also think I’m maybe just not fun enough either. Good comedians are out every single night, doing numerous shows and open mics, staying out until the wee hours of the morning.
And then there’s me. Going out even a few nights a week seems like such a stretch. The homebody/introvert inside me hates it.
But then I have a fun night at Zanies like last night and I get addicted to it all over again.
I’m usually nervous how the audience will react to my jokes, or what the other comics will think of me, but because I had already told myself last night was going to be the end of standup for a while, I had the most odd sense of confidence before I went on stage. I say odd only because I had never felt more comfortable in my life. I liked my jokes and that was all that mattered. It was really weird feeling. But it was also pretty great.
I’ve been given some good advice from comedians I admire and one of the things that has always stuck with me is that above anything else, you have to be confident with your jokes- especially the ones the are a little more risky, because if the audience thinks you’re nervous about telling them, it makes them nervous to laugh. So even if I wasn’t confident, I sure as hell pretended I was.
And so I’m back to square one it seems. Last night was supposed to be the end but it feels like the beginning all over again.
Or maybe it’s not. I obviously have no idea. If anyone would like to give me a little direction in life I would really appreciate it right about now. In the meantime I’ll just keep taking photos outside of comedy clubs like the little Nebraska tourist that I am. Hell, if nothing else happens in my comedic life at least I can say I got a chance to perform at Zanies.