My first comedy open mic in LA, reminded me of the expectations vs reality of a middle school dance. You’re pumped and get all glammed up, but once you’re there, you feel awkward, are afraid to talk to the boys, and forget how to dance.
It all started by finding the location of a LA open mic online. I showed up early to secure a spot on stage. The only other person there was a guy who is the definition of a California surfer bro.
He had bleach blonde hair that looked like it hadn’t been brushed in weeks, a baggy shirt, and talked like Totally Kyle from Nickelodeon. 10 minutes later, another guy showed up saying the open mic was not happening, and we were given the location of another one close by.
I show up to the new location alone, in a sketchy part of town, and asked the first person I saw where the open mic was.
He shrugged and said “Down that alley maybe?”
His response sounded as promising as an intoxicated sorority girl trying to put together a piece of Ikea furniture. I trusted him anyways.
As I turned the corner to proceed down the dark alley, I thought… “Well, if this is where I die, at least I gave this thing called life a pretty good run.”
I saw a small crowed of men outside an open door and instantly felt like I got another 50 to 60 years added back onto my life.
After signing up for a spot, I looked around to start introducing myself and befriend some fellow comedians.
This however, is LA, and apparently the whole socializing thing is different in this part of town. Every time I made eye contact with one of the guys, they would look away as if it was a mistake.
My new surfer friend showed up, and as he approached I said “We made it!”
I’m aware I could have said something cooler, but I was just happy to talk to a person who didn’t seem afraid or too good for me.
Almost instantly, another guy approached surfer dude and asked him how he was while completely ignoring my existence.
“I’m good too, thanks for asking.” I said, playfully.
I then introduced myself. Whatever the opposite of love at first site is, was how I felt about him. Noted: We will not be friends.
I walk into the comedy club. It looked cool esthetically, yet I felt cold. The energy was dense. Although I wasn’t nervous at that point, I was uncomfortable.
No-one seemed mean, but they didn’t seem particularly nice either. I had been warned about the cutthroat entertainment industry in LA, and now I felt it.
Fast forward to me moments before I was called on stage. My breathing started to speed up and I could feel my heart beat under my black, strapless, velvet dress. Was I overdressed? Yes. Did it look cute though? Also yes.
I felt nervous which is unusual for me before a show, but given my current state of being, it made sense. Once I grabbed the mic, I calmed down because the stage is my second home. Yet, twice on stage I forgot what I was going to say, which has almost never happened to me before! I covered it up well, but it left me shook.
Not to my surprise, I didn’t receive the positive response I’m used to getting. It also didn’t help that the guy directly in front of me smiled as much as a Russian man who ran out of alcohol before he got a buzz. I brushed my shoulders off, and went outside shortly after my set.
Here’s where it starts to get good.
I went back into the alley and began talking with a cute model/actor boy. Blonde hair, blue eyes, and a smile that would melt any heart. That said, his personality wasn’t enough to keep him around, even though he asked for my number and tried to see me this weekend. Mild flex, but I’m proud that I still got it at 30 years old.
Here’s where it gets better!
I didn’t let my uncomfortable and underwhelming first open mic prevent me from attending a different open mic the following day. Persevering is powerful!
The next day, I had a successful and well received performance and met much more welcoming comedians.
My first open mic toughened my skin and the second one softened my heart. Your past experiences don’t dictate your future ones. Life will make you stronger if you let it!
Keep trying and put yourself out there.