Here’s a potential for my bucket list: I’ve always wanted to do stand up comedy. Hasn’t everybody? But when do you decide that you have become so fearless that you can get in front of strangers and make a fool out of yourself? Probably just thinking about it gives you the willies. Well, there is always the bucket list scenario. Defer gratification and place stand up on a list that your may or may not do. Stand up lodged somewhere in the psyche of the actress inside of me.
The first time I took a comedy class – it was stand up – I was using it as a way to gage if the humorous material I was writing in my memoir, 60, Sex & Tango, Confessions of a Beatnik Boomer, was really, actually funny. Could I talk about female masterbation and be funny? Could I make internet dating hilarious and absurd? Yep, I did and it was cool.
I wanted to do more, but I had to write the memoir and then something else got in my way like making a choice to become a keynote speaker on health, wellness and work/life balance and pursuing another challenge went out the window. I used teaching as an excuse, too, as in I’m too tired to do anything after a long day of teaching yoga. And then my teaching schedule by design decreased and my speaking strategy took me into another direction and it seemed that I was in stall mode. The idea was that stand up could be a way to inspire, excite and challenge me not just personally but also as a speaker.
A few weeks ago, my yoga client told me that as part of her personal growth area in her course on spiritual psychology she was taking an improv class. I leaped all over her.
“Where? Tell me where?” I prodded her.
“Westside Comedy Theater. They also give classes in stand up. You already know all about improv. What’s up?”
“Stand up,” I mused. “Stand up. Can you send me the info?”
The Bucket List Fulfilled
Last night was my first stand up comedy class. It was deja vu all over again. It felt like an old time acting class back in the day. Thirteen people from all different areas of life with so completely different personalities that it was like standing outside myself and watching a reality show. Damn! People are really screwed up. And I was one of them. I fit in perfectly in the group, even if I was old enough to be one or two of their grandmothers. I did the intro quick bio; I told an inspiring story that happened in the last 365 days; I was a superhero with a mantra (full physicality in force); I did a riff on a complaint that I carry with me daily with such vengeance that I scared myself. The class loved it, clapped, we all knew that we had the same bonding thoughts about my complaint.
Behold! I wasn’t nervous, scared, frightened, intimidated or bored. Sure, I was vulnerable, open and wanting to do the exercise but I was inside the stand up moment. I forgot about the audience and only focused on my riff. And when this funny little teacher said “stand up is all about the strong emotion, the feeling in the moment,” I came back to a place in my life that I had forgotten – a place that an eager child once lived for the love of theater, for the stage – a place where a 69 year old adult who (totally feels 19) found once again those natural and funny instincts and braved coming home.
I hope you find the same kind of bliss in your life – bucket list or not.