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Using Mindfulness to do Stand Up Comedy

It’s been on my list for some time – to try doing Stand Up Comedy – and today’s the day. I’ve taken a course, I’ve written my jokes, and tonight I go on stage in front of paying customers for the first time with my 6-minute set at an amateur night at a local comedy club.
As a yoga teacher, I noticed that I liked to interrupt my classes poses with some fun directions, “in the full expression of the pose, bring the corners of your mouth up towards the ceiling,” you might hear me say, and it occurred to me some time ago that it might be fun to drop the yoga poses and just do the funny stuff.
It’s been a while since I’ve done something this scary and new. I’m a grown-up. I have a daily routine with work, I have my friends and social activities, and it’s not very often that I put myself in a position on purpose that will require all of my breathing techniques and skills in doing a quick body scan. Sure, I get to practice breathing during a traffic jam, or a dental procedure, but putting myself into full nausea/butterflies brings back a lot of childhood memories of recitals and school plays.
I don’t have my jokes memorized word for word for tonight. What I have is a sense of the joke and my plan is to be present and tell my little stories. It worked in rehearsal last night. Just get up there in front of everyone and be present and let the rehearsed joke unfold. Keep breathing, feel my feet, look people in the eye, notice the tension in my shoulders, and just be where I am, making people laugh with my jokes.
I’m not sure how tonight’s going to go, but I do know that taking a few moments regularly throughout the day to do some abdominal breathing and relax my jaw has already served me to make it through the previews and get me ready for the actual crowd tonight. Although my fingers are a bit sweaty as I type, I recognize that as a sign that I’m excited and I’m facing something I’ve chosen for myself, something I’m looking forward to doing, and I can relax into it. I want to make sure I don’t miss tonight – I don’t want it to be a blur. I want to be present for the whole thing! Wish me luck!
Update Thursday morning: it went well. I was able to stand there and be totally in my body while I did my jokes. Turned out the yoga jokes didn’t exactly “kill” in the regular off-the-street crowd, but I have more “relatable” material to share so I think in the end it worked out. I will do again. Namaste.

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