I've been wondering about this question for a while now.
I love comedy. It's a large thing in my life. Comedy Central is my favorite station, comedy is my ice breaker, the comics I'm working on are actually comedic and not dramatic or anything like that and it's my defense mechanism.
It's kind of to have defense mechanisms, especially when you do nothing but joke and giggle about completely inappropriate shit, but I can't help it. It's gotten me through life intact.
Besides being a graphic novelist, doing stand up is one of my biggest dreams in life. I love to make people laugh, especially to the point where they're crying. That's my favorite kind of laughter. That side-aching, uncontrollable laughter where you can hardly breathe and you don't care that you're snort-giggling. The kind of bent over laughter where you have completely lost all sense of shame and you don't care what you sound like or what others think of you.
But I can never seem to get myself to go up on stage. I think it stems from my experience in my high school talent show. I had worked for about two weeks on a set with help from my theater arts teacher. I got on stage and completely killed. Because of the lights I couldn't see their faces But I could hear their laughter and it made me so proud and happy to know that it was me eliciting this response.
When I got off stage to take my seat, I was still getting applause and kudos by the people there until I sat down. For about a week people I didn't even know were coming up to me in the hallway to tell me how funny I was.
Now I know you're wondering. How could that discourage someone from trying to do stand up?
About three nights after the talent show I was watching stand up by Kevin James. His performance 'Sweat The Small Stuff'. He got to his piece about waiting in line to order food and that's when i realized that his exact piece and even his actions mirrored the one I did on stage. I had accidentally stolen his material! I was so embarrassed that I started crying right there in my room.
I felt so guilty and so ashamed. I started to wonder if any of my other jokes had been gleaned from anywhere else, or was that bit just an accidental fluke? I am a Kevin James fan and hey, shit happens.
But now I find that when I've come up with a set I like and am ready to take to some amateur night, I begin to doubt and fret. Are these jokes truly original? Are they good enough? What if I bomb? And then instead of manning up, I don't go.
I've been thinking though, and there have been at least two or three separate occasions where I have made a joke about something; a week later I'll be watching a new episode of a show or a new (emphasis on that word there.) special on Comedy Central that a comic is doing and there will be my joke. I'm starting to wonder if some jokes are kind of just cluster fucks to see who is ballsy enough to tell them, or who can get to them first.
Maybe I should just do the exact opposite of Kevin's special and not sweat the small stuff. Besides if I don't try I can't improve, and I'll never learn or know.