This five minutes was years in the making and one of the major adventures I needed to tick off my list. Actually it was the biggest adventure I had on my list. Yes, even bigger than Europe. All Europe required me to do was have money and get on a plane. This was bigger than that. I had become smitten with comedy when a friend got me a job working the Trades Hall bar at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. It opened my eyes to a whole new world and I fell in love and haven’t looked back. Yes I was only serving drinks at the festival but I got to hangout with some of the comedians and I realised, these are my people, I have a lot in common with them, they’re really fun to be around. It got me to thinking, maybe just maybe I could do that, I could potentially get up there and make people laugh. I have always been a story teller and one of those people that won’t let the truth get in the way of a good tale and I was always willing to make fun of myself first and foremost, I still am. This was all the way back in 2005, I think, I am not great with dates. It put the idea at the back of my mind but I had life to get to. I had just started my first ‘real’ job I was going to be a scientist, I was all ready to cure something and solve the worlds problems through critical thinking, analysis and some cool, crazy experiments. I would occasionally make passing comments to my then boyfriend that I could do stand up. That I could get up there and make people laugh. It was always in a joking way but part of me was serious, part of me really did believe it. He would always say back ‘they would be laughing at you you’re silly not actually funny’. I would even invent whole routines for him that would involve me presenting my week to him through interpretive dance, create entire skits that would have him laughing but still the same, ‘You’re silly not funny you could never do that.’ So I believed him. Then he broke my heart and I wanted to break his face or his crotch (I’m not even sure what that means but hell you get the idea I hated him). So I vowed to myself: I will do stand up. I will get up there and even if its only one show I will prove him god damn wrong. Even if people only think I am silly and laugh at me at least they freakin laughed, isn’t that the point? From that moment though it still took 3 or so years to build up enough courage to get up there. I originally was going to go over to the open mic night at the Dan O’Connel. The local pub that my housemates and I would frequent, particularly on open mic night as it was always a laugh even when the acts where meant to be serious. It didn’t get the greatest people sometimes, though in retrospect good on them for getting up there and trying.
Finally something snapped inside me and I went Fuck it! This is my time and I am going to give it a go. I had been talking about it long enough and it was like he was still there on my shoulder telling me I wasn’t good enough. So I dubbed this the year of adventure and got to putting my name down for Triple J RAW comedy. Hell if I was going to do it I may as well go large and enter a national comedy competition. I was originally not going to tell anybody and just invite a few select people to the Evelyn that day then all of a sudden BAM on stage being funny. Then it looked like one of my closest friends couldn’t be there so I told her and also I am really bad at secret keeping about myself, steal trap when it comes to others people secrets though. I also realised I wanted them there, I wanted my friends to see me. I wanted them to share this with me to tell me I was funny even when/if I wasn’t.
The day rolled around February 26th 2012. My God that day was hot, it was scorching outside. The gig wasn’t until the afternoon so I had all morning to freak the fuck out, I tried practicing my material but standing in my kitchen talking to myself just wasn’t really working for me. I had it all written out in my head, I had practiced it so many times over the years, it was all in there. I didn’t know if i had five minutes worth but it was there, I just needed the stage and microphone. After carefully selecting my outfit and doing my hair and make up I slowly walked down to the Evelyn trying not to sweat to much and desperately wishing I still smoked, just to give me something else to do for at least 5 seconds other than thinking about what I was going to do. To some how subdue the terror that was flooding through me. All the questions of self doubt, that voice in my head ‘ You’re not funny’ on repeat. I could see his face in every person I walked past, spoke to and then defiance started to build and I knew I could do this. This could also have been the 3 GnTs I smashed before my name was called. The moments leading up to walking onto the stage are a blur the other acts a blur. I could tell you some people were funny, some bombed and I had to go to the toilet about 400 times. My name was called I walked through the crowd, up those stairs. I turned and faced the crowd and just saw lights. I was shaking, every cell in my body was jiggling like a junkie waiting for their next hit. Then I spoke and everything melted away. Words flowed. I heard the gasps from my opening line, I had expected that. I heard some giggles but then the light was flashing I had 30 seconds left I wasn’t going to hit my final punch line. I wrapped up the joke I was doing and walked off stage. It didn’t matter that I didn’t finish properly. It didn’t matter at all. I had done it. I had achieved everything I set out to do that day. I had proven to myself that I could do it. I was on such a high, I had never felt that good before. It was the biggest rush I have ever felt i was giddy, light headed and couldn’t stop smiling. I knew at that moment that I wanted to feel that again. I wanted to chase the dragon. I might have cried afterwards I don’t know the rest of the event went by in a rush. I didn’t win the heat, I wouldn’t be getting up again in a week or so I wouldn’t be in the Melbourne town hall at the end of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival but I had done it, my friends had seen me and damn it I was funny. I realised what’s wrong even if I was and am just silly, it still makes people laugh which is the point, right.
So now I am here in Berlin and I the desire to get back up on stage grows every day and if I fail who cares at least I tried and stopped listening to his voice. Please don’t think I thank him for any of this or even give him credit for getting up on stage. I would have done it by myself at some point with or without his lack of encouragement. I just needed to stop thinking that his or anyone else’s opinion mattered when it came down to giving something a go.
Thank you to everyone who supported me and came on the day it meant so much to have you there