The Bookish Fox

My Biggest Takeaway from Stand-Up Comedians

I have been on a HUGE stand-up kick lately. (No, I am not doing it. My stage fright definitely won’t allow that.) I have been watching everything from those stand-up specials on HBO to devouringThe Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

My favorite part of my stand-up binge so far is reading Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy by Judd Apatow. The book is a compilation of his interviews with various comedians, and it is not only hilarious, but it has proved to be a fresh perspective that I desperately needed.

I am going to keep it real with you. I have been kind of sick of books on writing. To be honest, many of them offer the same advice in a different package. There is nothing wrong with this…if you haven’t read a million writing books already.

It was so refreshing to read about a new craft that is sort of related to mine (comedy is in books, after all). It was fascinating to read about the different debates in the community (for example, should you do the same show over every year or make new material) and who are considered the greats (Chris Rock is a popular choice). 

My biggest takeaway occurred when the comics would talk about their early days of doing stand-up. All of them bombed. Multiple timesThe strangest part is they talk about this with a kind of nostalgia. None of them viewed this as a bad thing that made them horrible comedians. It was just a fact. Something that happens to everyone. They were just really grateful for the honest, real-time feedback (something you can’t get the higher up you go). They either adjusted the show or chalked it up to a bad crowd and moved on to the next act/show.

This approach seems so healthy to me. I am not going to lie; it is hard for me to share my writing with other people because I am afraid of “bombing.” Hearing the comedians talk about bombing gave me freedom to share my own work. Even if I do “bomb,” it is not my last show. I will just improve it. No big deal. It happens to everyone.

How about you? Are you afraid to show your work because you are afraid of “bombing”? Tell me in the comments below!

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