Back in the previous century, I made my living as a standup comic. I had risen to the level of featuring at “A” rooms like the Funny Bone, Punchline, Catch a Rising Star, et al, and headlining “B” rooms and one-nighters. To the uninitiated, this means that I had enough experience to be taken seriously, so to speak.
However, the Universe had other ideas and threw an endless series of obstacles in my path. Rather than battle with an unstoppable force, I eventually cried “Uncle” and quit the biz.
Now, over 25 years later (goddess, has it been that long???) the Big U is nudging me back on stage. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why. I’m not interested in getting involved in showbiz again. I detested the ‘biz’ end of it. It’s just as bad as you’ve heard … possibly worse. One of these days, I’ll tell you some stories.
Plus, after all this time, I’ve carved out a comfortable niche as a published author and program host for the Shift Network. I’m obsessively working on a new novel, while I’m also focusing on getting a series of metaphysical comedy novels published.
The grueling process of succeeding at standup comedy doesn’t fit into my current plans. It takes a tremendous amount of deliberate effort to do it right. Truly, comedy is not pretty.
But, if I’ve learned nothing else in this lifetime, I’ve learned that the only way to survive the Big U’s nudges is to not fight them. Go with the flow. And the flow is pushing me back on stage … at least once in a while, for five minutes at a time. (Five minutes is the standard amount of time given at most open mic and showcase shows … you only do more time if you’re part of a standard show, with three comics: opening act, feature act and headliner.)
This means a lot of things. First, what am I going to say? Five minutes may not seem like a long time, but you try standing on a stage, with a microphone in your hand and a spotlight in your eyes, in front of a room full of possibly hostile strangers and make them laugh, consistently, for five whole minutes.
So, I decided to cheat and dust off some of my old act. I watched my ancient recordings and chose some material that translates well to modern times. I threw in a few new jokes, and put together a solid five minutes.
Now, I have to rehearse. That means tracking down local open mic shows to polish my skills after getting so rusty, in preparation for a showcase I have already booked at the Tempe Improv, in a few weeks. I’ve already done two open mics and am heading out again tonight.
I’ll keep you posted!
Meantime, here’s you a dog, with a microphone:
Lisa Bonnice is an award-winning, best-selling author. Her current passion-project is a series of metaphysical comedy novels. The first in the series is Be Careful What You Witch For!, a modern-day fairy tale about Lola Garnett, a bored housewife and office drone who wakes up with unexpected psychic abilities, and no instruction manual, and Twink, the reluctant, sarcastic faery assigned to assist and educate her. Its sequel, Patterns in the Chaos, is in the works.
- Best seller—Fear of Our Father—#1 True Crime
- Two Excellence Awards—MSNBC.com
- eLit Silver Award—The Menhattan Project—Humor
- Includes foreword by Neale Donald Walsch—Shape Shifting
- Featured on Investigation Discovery’s TV program Catch My Killer