I had a thought tonight as I left a comedy writing workshop tonight, and went to get a boneless chicken roti from one of my favourite spots in the city… I was thinking of how lucky I am. Here I was, at 9pm at night, walking up Bathurst with a roti in hand and feeling good about some new jokes I tried out tonight. Kelly from a year ago was anxious to put her toes in the stand-up comedy waters but it would take three months to get the lady-balls to actually do it.
Okay, talking about myself in the third person is weird. I’ll stop.
But yeah, in January of this year, I convinced friends to put me in their show and with my brother and a couple of friends in the audience up I went. 37 years old and no-longer a stand-up comedy virgin!! Huzzah! (Though I’d never been so convinced I could possibly pass-out in front of people as I was that night, oh my god was I scared.) Now, I’m not someone who feels like I’m an adult most of the time; I’m 38 but I think I’m still 23. But I know that I’m older than a good lot of the comics I’ve come across so far, and I had a moment tonight where I thought “Why the hell didn’t I start doing this 10 years ago? I CAN do this damnit! Why didn’t I know I could do this when I was younger??!! AAUUUGGHH!”
The thing is, I wasn’t ready to do this at 28. The timing wasn’t right.
Yes, I spent countless nights as a teen watching An Evening at the Improv on A & E, or sneaking in a late night David Letterman episode on a school night. But there was no thought that EVER came into my head that said “You should try stand-up comedy!” I did tech for improv and sketch troupes, though and THEN I got on stage myself and it was fun but it never felt… right. I was trying to fit into a pair of pants that fit but… if I sat down I couldn’t breathe. And I don’t know about you, but I like to be able to breathe in any position I’m in. It’s, as the French say, really fucking important. (Read that last bit in a French accent for the full effect.)
I morphed into background stuff, and I still love background stuff … but when I was 24 I started writing again and that became my first play. I think that’s when the proverbial penny dropped, and slooooowly I found my confidence. And then fast forward to tonight, I am 38 and I’m heading home with a roti that I should NOT be eating at 9pm at my age but fuck it. I’m heading home having told some jokes that made some cool people laugh and I’ll do it again in a night or two. As I ride the TTC and listen to my music, I daydream about submitting a package to Late Night with Seth Meyers of my material… because, why not try?! I can try that! What’s the worst that could happen?
It’s all about timing. It’s all about the timing when I’m up on stage with that mic and a spotlight on me, thinking to myself why I didn’t try this sooner.
I wasn’t ready to do the thing. But now… I am doing the thing.
Cue late night dance part to work off late night roti!!!!