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  1. Joanne's First Time

    Monday, July 2, 2012

    Friends have always told me I was funny.  Then again, growing up my sister told me there was an alien pod tree in our back yard that was there to take over the bodies of seven year olds. So why I chose to start doing comedy but not move out of my house when I was seven, I don’t know. Live and learn.

    I’ve always been of the opinion that anything worthwhile knowing will have a class out there for it (and sometimes even a tool set you can keep afterward).  As far as stand up comedy goes, I was right.  There are several.  Hundred. Thousand. 

    Being from New Jersey, my first thought was to go to New York City to learn comedy because people there are much funnier; New Jersey is mostly just a punch line.  So I researched and found a class that was twice a week for six weeks, where we learned about writing and delivery.  When it was over, we had a "graduation show" at Caroline’s Comedy Club where we could invite a few hundred of our closest friends and family members. It was exciting to think I could have everyone I’ve ever known watch me make a complete fool of myself in the middle of Times Square, all in just five minutes. I’m big on time management.

    Before this class, I used to say things I thought were funny and not really care if other people agreed with me.  Now it was all I could do to not go over every thing I wrote for the show with every single person I knew to make sure they thought it was hilarious. But I didn't want to do that. That could ruin everything.  What if they thought it was funny when I first told them, but now since they had heard it, it wouldn't be as funny anymore?  But if I didn't check with them, they could think it wasn't funny in the first place and when they heard me tell it on stage, they wouldn't be prepared to even give me a fake laugh to save my dignity! My overly obsessive mind wrestled with this for a week before I got side tracked into making sure all my bath towels were folded the right way. By then it was the day of the show and I had to hope for the best, whether it was mine or my friends. Or my towels.

    We had a varied bunch in our show, ranging from a little old lady schoolteacher, to an Asian woman mistaken for a manicurist, to a big businessman mistaken for a person. I was nervous and excited and most likely smelly from all the sweating.  We had five minutes on stage to determine whether or not we would ever do this again, much less ever discuss it again.  I had a lot of family and friends in the audience, a thought that made me wish I didn't have family and friends. Finally, I got on stage.

    What happened then is somewhat of a blur. I have a copy of it, so if I wanted to I could go watch it and give you a blow by blow.  But I won't because it doesn't matter what happened.  I don't even remember if I did all the material I wrote. (Actually I’m sure I did because I had spent the days and nights leading up to the show memorizing so much that I hardly spoke any words if they weren't in my set.) It only matters what I do remember.  They laughed.  Whether it was because they thought I was funny or they were drunk or they had seen my bath towels, they still laughed.  That's all I needed.

    It would be great to say I was discovered that night. Or even missed when I got stuck in the bathroom for twenty minutes. But it didn’t happen.  The discovering part- the bathroom thing did happen. I’d also like to say that now I know what I’m doing and all that it takes to be a successful stand up comedian. But I don't. Not yet. But that night helped. Of course, I’m sure having an audience made up of everyone you know isn't the best barometer to see if you are actually a good comedian.  And maybe having friends tell you that you’re funny doesn't make you funny.  But it’s a start. It’s my start. Unless, of course, I’m an alien pod person. In which case, at least somebody was right.

  2. 7 comments:

    1. Your comedy really translates well into written word.

    2. Joanne, I've always loved your sense of humor and love it now that you've "graduated" into professional comedy. As always, I wish you the best!

    3. DreaDoll said...

      I fell in love with your comedy instantly and thought you were perfect for my show. Then I fell in love with you. I got the best of both worlds :)

    4. You're okay.

      For a girl.

    5. Lady Ha Ha said...

      I'd like to hear more about the bathroom sticking. Next blog?

    6. Amy said...

      HOLY FUCK ME!! I've gotten stuck in the bathroom at Carolines too! No shit. I made my fingers bleed trying to get the door unstuck. Next blog, I would like to know how your towels are folded these days.

    7. I love DreaDoll's comment.

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