The definition of panic and anxiety: you start to feel a bit faint. Your knees are weak and begin to buckle slowly. Your breathing is shallow and feeble. The room reels as you enter the dangerous dizzy zone. Your mind goes black and takes your best jokes along with it. Your body temperature soars as you sweat droplets of dew that falls into your eyes from your forehead. Your pupils sting with surprise and widen. You scramble to get ahold of yourself and reach for a cool glass of water. You could be taking a final exam, sitting before a trial judge, getting married in front of 200 people, giving a speech at work, or performing at a local comedy club.
If you are still alive and are a comic, you sidle over to the stage turbo fan – something like the best floor fans featured here. It’s no prop, but a rescue machine for those in distress. (Tip of the week: turn it on before your act.) Comedy club newbies are prone to wander over a little too fast and too soon. Above all don’t give yourself away. Get a grip on yourself. (Let’s stop here a minute. Don’t let me scare you. Comedy is a challenge but ever so rewarding. There is nothing like it in the entertainment field. My story is here to let you know that you get can through the worst of times to face the best. Just get out the mental fan and use it when you feel stressed.)
Panic (terror for some) doesn’t happen to everyone, especially the old pros, but it can afflict first timers and the timid. If you don’t fear it, it won’t cripple your show. Comedy is a tough row to hoe, even with the best of original material. Keeping your cool takes strength of character and a good plug-in fan. Michael Richards lost his verbal cool before an unforgiving audience and it hurt his career. Hopefully you will only lose your normal body temperature at best. It is par for the course and nothing to be ashamed of. When you are down, get up fast and furiously. Act like nothing has happened and march on.
If you have good jokes and funny or witty lines, your audience will respond and your fears will fly away. Somehow, you are somewhere else altogether, on a cloud called “a roll.” Once you have experienced the heights, there is no going back. This is why we do it. It is a high better than any, a legal drug you can have whenever you like. Who goes into comedy? Every personality type from introverts to extroverts, wits to clowns, mockers to zingers. Men and women love it alike. So many styles, methods, approaches and ways to incite laughter abound. The joy is in finding your own voice and believing in yourself. Confidence is the key. I can’t say enough, and I encourage those who aspire to this profoundly exciting art form to push forward and meet your success head on with gusto.