You Can do Anything: That Time I Tried Stand-up Comedy [Video]

A three minute stand up set at a comedy club in Los Angeles.

Two years ago I decided to give it a shot.

I was playing poker professionally at the time.

I was only “working” a few days a week so I had time for other things.

On my off days I would go to open mics around town.

Santa Monica, Hollywood, Westwood, Silver Lake.

It was cool because there was a different place hosting a mic every single night.

Sometimes I would do a set and then drive to another part of the city and do another one.

I first became interested in comedy watching Seinfeld on TV as a kid.

I liked the short stand up sets at the beginning of every episode.

I was something of a jokester growing up.

In school I was always playing the role of class clown.

I would do anything for a laugh.

There’s something so energizing to me about making someone else laugh.

So for about six months I was going to these open mics in LA.

It wasn’t glamorous.

Sometimes there were only four people in the audience.

I did sets where literally the entire five minutes was dead silence.

Nobody laughed at any of my jokes.

I didn’t feel great about that, but it wasn’t crushing to my self esteem either.

I was, in a sense, detached from the whole thing.

I didn’t need it for my career.

I didn’t need to “make it”.

I was just doing it for me.

I wanted to challenge myself.

I remember being backstage before my first time picking up the mic.

My heart was beating so fast.

I was literally sweating.

I was trying to go over my jokes.

When I got up there I forgot everything I was going to say.

I started riffing with a guy in the audience.

Sometimes you gotta go with the flow.

After about a minute of that I remembered the little story I had practiced.

I said that one joke and peaced out.

I don’t even remember if anyone laughed.

It didn’t matter to me.

I was so high afterward.

On the drive home I was just thinking, wow, I actually just did that.

After that I would still get nervous before going on, but not as much.

The first time we do something is always the hardest.

So why did I stop?

The stand up comedy open mic scene isn’t such a happy-go-lucky place.

It attracts a lot of depressed people and “dark energy”, so to speak.

Some people would get up there and talk about some seriously heavy and graphic stuff.

It wasn’t even close to funny it was just offensive.

One man specifically sticks out in my mind.

He was massively overweight.

Probably 400lbs.

His set wasn’t graphic though, it was just sad.

He told a 5 minute story about a woman he went on one date with over five years ago.

He was regretting the last thing he said to her at the end of the date.

There wasn’t even a punchline.

This poor guy had been thinking about this woman for five years and they went on one date.

I have never heard a room so silent after that story…

So guess who had to get on stage next…

Needless to say, I bombed.

Eventually I decided not to continue going to open mics and spending time in dark smokey bars with a bunch of guys talking about their penises.

Seriously, in at least one set at every open mic, there is a man talking about his penis.

It must be an unwritten law of open mic comedy clubs.

It’s gross.

I’m recounting this experience now as I’ve begun stepping back into comedy in a different context.

I’ll be launching a company within the next month and I’ve been doing a lot of content writing for the project.

It’s been really fun creating this brand.

I’ve been laughing my ass off writing these silly posts for our Instagram campaign.

You never know how your story is going to play out and how all the little moments in your life are going to come together like the pieces of a puzzle.

Sometimes in life you gotta say fuck it.

Try stuff.

Try what you like.

Who cares what happens.

Failure is epic.

Go for it.

The harder you fail, the better.

Failure doesn’t even really exist.

Calling something a failure is a judgement based on our limited perspective.

So go for it.

You literally can’t fail.

Think about that thing you really want to do.

Maybe it’s something you’ve been telling yourself you can’t do for a long time.

Maybe there’s even other people in your life telling you that you could never do it.

Fuck it.

Just do it.

Nike style.

You can do it.

You can do anything.

I believe in You.

Peace & Love,

John