I’ve wanted to be a comedian my whole life.
When I was in primary school, we had a “Night of the Notables” where we all had to dress up as, and do a presentation on, our idol. I chose Eric Idle from Monty Python fame. I like to think that I chose him because of how much of an inspiration Monty Python was on me and not because his name is similar to “Idol”. I was also the only child in drag, which probably says something about who I am as a person.
After high school, I lost all of my creativity and wasn’t feeling fulfilled. That’s when my friend signed me up for a stand up comedy night. At first, I loved it. Getting a laugh is such a huge rush and I wanted to chase that feeling.
However, life got in the way and I forgot about stand up for a few years.
When I got back into it, it was for all the wrong reasons. I had a crush on an open mic comedian and so I used to go to gigs in case I bumped into him. I started performing again so that he would be impressed and fall in like with me. And it worked. He became my boyfriend and during our time together, I spent a huge amount of time in the comedy world. But at the end of the relationship, I lost my love for stand up. Suddenly, I was doing gigs half assed and whenever I would hang out with comedians, I would feel completely out of place and alone. I started crying in my car on the way home from every gig and I just felt myself slowly drifting. I tried so hard to cling to it, but eventually, I had to completely cut myself off from the comedy world so that I could be happy.
A couple of months later, I decided to make my come back. At first, it was amazing. I reconnected with people that I hadn’t spoken to in ages and I had some great gigs; but as time went on, I fully realised that stand up wasn’t for me.
When you spend enough time on the stand up circuit, you begin to feel like stand up comedy is the only type of comedy in the world.
People are always giving you unsolicited advice that slowly chips away at who you want to be.
Sometimes, it feels like everyone’s trying to out joke each other. I spent so much time not saying anything because I knew if I made a joke that didn’t land, then someone would jump on the opportunity to slam me down. People I never spoke to thought that it was ok to make jokes at my expense and be rude and cruel because it was “funny”.
During comedy festival, I saw a show by a comedian called Zoe Coombs-Marr. She ended up winning both the Barry and the Golden Gibbo; which is an amazing feat. She really deserved those awards, too. I saw her show twice and would’ve seen it every night of the festival if I could’ve. Her show was such a smart piece of satire, and it really shone a light on the negative aspects of the comedy circuit.
I sat and watched this extremely talented, bright woman do this show and for the first time, I thought that maybe I did belong on the circuit. Maybe I just needed to trust my instincts and push myself and see what I could do. Maybe if I just forgot about impressing people, then I could fulfil my life’s dream of being a comedian.
I’m so far away from being good enough to be successful, but at least right now, I have hope. I can forge my own destiny and create work that is relevant and important. At least that’s what I plan to do.
For once, I don’t have a solid game plan on who I’m going to be, and I cannot be more excited.