Along the way though, I stopped. I fell subject to the same judgement that all folks who do something creative feel. It starts from a very young age. We all want to fit in and creativity has a way of making you stick out. I didn't think I was good enough at it to keep doing it, so I stopped.
Two decades later, after taking some improv classes, binge watching Netflix comedy specials and Speakeasy with Paul F. Tompkins, I got the guts to start doing stand up. I thought for the longest time that stand up had a specific formula to which you had to adhere. I never thought of myself as a funny person. I don't tell jokes. Punchlines stress me out. This anxiety subsided a bit after hearing Paul F Tompkins shoot the shit with so many different comedy folks. I had seen the work all of these talented people produced but hearing them talk about their struggle and learning process I had a deeper understanding and appreciation of what the comedic creative process could look like.
I've been an artist my whole life, I been a student of art for about 15 years. After I got to college, I started my far more rigorous academic education in theatrical art. This education has made a wonderful framework for learning new skills and trades. I have a greater insight on how I learn. I know the kind of frustration I felt in my body when I was learning something that was challenging to me at school. Now I know when I feel the same frustration in the same way in my body, it is a good indicator of where I am in my creative learning process with improv and storytelling. I know it's normal and productive.
When I started stand up, I gravitated towards a storytelling style. I love the style of Hasan Minhaj's Homecoming King, John Mulaney's and Jen Kirkman's stand up specials on Netflix. I saw much of what I've been doing at parties for years for audiences of 3-6 at any point in time. Loved telling stories and the tension and release I was guiding my very tiny audience through. It took me getting up on stage with my improv team to realize that I could tell my party stories to bigger audiences.
So now I am at a point where I am collecting all of my stories on paper so I can refine and streamline them. I've never been to a proper open mic night but now that my schedule is a bit more open I will have more time to devote to polishing my presentation skills.
If you want to see me tell one of my stories, come by on November 30th at 10:30 pm as I open for Girl Gang at iO!