One Year As a Comic!

At Big Ben
I made it!  For one year now I've been going on stage and trying to make people laugh.  It's been such a fun journey thus far.  I remember that first night like it was just yesterday.  Some American comedians were trying out material for their tour called "Team Amerika".  Cool!  My now friend Yemi called me onstage for my first set.  I was terrified.  I said my jokes and felt like the funniest man ever.

This comedy thing was going to be a piece of cake!  I was on cloud 9.  I blogged about the experience.  I called it "My Next Chapter".  I was sure that I was on the road to realizing my calling... Never mind the fact that I loaded the crowd with friends and family.  I had a dozen or so people there supporting me.  Of course I got laughs!

Guess what I didn't blog about... My very next standup set.  I went up the next week and asked Yemi for a spot.  I'm sure he could see the desperation and hunger in my eyes.  He asked if I minded going first.  I knew that was the toughest spot to perform at, but I didn't mind.  Um, I was a natural.  Had he seen me the week before?  He gave me five minutes.  I was going to kill!

I had practiced my routine some more, but now I had included pauses so the audience could laugh like they did the first time.  I said my first joke and paused.  No laughter.  I got flustered immediately.  My head got hot.  I began to stutter and say too many words.  Maybe I wasn't a natural.  My friend Peter was there filming me (so I could possibly send the video to Last Comic Standing or something).  I looked to him for help.  I felt myself sinking lower and lower after my third supposed punchline.  How was this happening?  These were the same jokes as before.  This would probably have been my last time ever doing standup if I wouldn't have heard Yemi chuckle at a joke that I said.  That little chuckle of his made me think, "Maybe I am funny."  My confidence shot back up and I got through my routine.  I got a couple of laughs, but now that didn't matter.  I took it as a challenge.  I was going to get a room full of strangers laughing one day.  I knew I could do it.

A couple I knew was at that show.  They sat in the back and watched me get through suicidal thoughts in front of a silent group of Swedes.  I had a drink with them after the show.  It felt like we had just come from a funeral.

       - So... How do you feel?
       - Good, great!  Um... I've got a lot to learn.  Can't wait to get back at it.
       - Oh, you're going to do it again?

Of course I was!  I had made a very funny comedian chuckle.  Hadn't they heard that?  My last joke got some people to laugh.  Never mind the silence and generally awkward feeling in the room, I was ready!

One night after what I thought was a good set, a comedian asked me where else do I perform.  Um, where else is there?  She told me to try contacting the owner of a club called Maffia.  I did.  He told me to come by and he'd see what I had.  I got there and he watched me tell jokes for seven minutes.  I got a lot of laughs.  My set didn't really have anything from my first night anymore.  These jokes were better and they were working!  He invited me back to do ten minutes.  Ten minutes?!  I had a good night then as well.  I didn't have ten strong minutes, though.  I had to use my first jokes in order to fill the time, but it worked.  Wow!  He invited me to Super Weekend to open up.  That's when I had my first blackout.  I got past that and rode into the summer with some good sets.

Stockholm comedy is pretty much nonexistent in the summer.  The only place I knew to go was Big Ben.  Guess where all the comics were going.  Yeah, I wasn't getting any time at all.  I started signing up for Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Nothing.  I hung on international nights trying to get a spot.  It was tough.  I didn't get on stage for a month.  It felt like I would be starting all over again whenever I got on.  This would be a good time to give up.  

I kept trying until I finally got on.  There was no rust as I got my first applause break.  The host that night told me afterwards to keep at it and to come out whenever he's host and he'd give me a spot.  Awesome.  He may have thought that I was special, but I found out later that he was just a very generous comedian in the Stockholm comedy community.  He gave me that shot and I'm grateful to him for that.

The ball has been rolling since.  I still perform at least twice a week, and now I'm the host of the same club that I started at.  Check me out on Thursdays at Big Ben!  Now I bring on new comics that have just taken a 20 pound shit and nervously drink glass after glass of water.  Being MC has helped me improve my improvisation and work on small jokes.  I try to stay away from doing parts of my routine as a challenge to myself.  It makes me stay in the moment and deal with the crowd.  I'm more confident than ever and it's really helped me whenever I do get some stage time.  I've been able to open for established comics on Super Weekends and I'm glad to say that I haven't blacked out since that first time.

I feel like a comedian.  I was scared to say it for a long time out of respect for comics before me, but I am a comedian.  I get on stage and I make people laugh.  I've worked hard at it and in the past year I've gotten a hell of a lot better.  I dare say that I'm good.  I can't watch that first video up there because I've grown so much and it makes me awkward to see the false confidence and hear the nervousness.  I'm a different comedian now.  I can watch this set from last weekend with pride.

That's ten minutes of my material.  I edited the video so I can send it to clubs in the US that I want to perform at in June when we take vacation.  I can't wait to try out my stuff stateside!

This fall I'll be performing as a part of that same Team Amerika group from my first performance.  It's me and some of my funny American friends Ryan Bussell, David Weaver and Yemi Afolabi.  I'm on a freaking poster!  We'll be at the Lund Comedy Festival the first weekend of September.  Check us out.  It's been going great so far.  I can confidently say that I have 30 minutes of material now on my quest to an hour.  The grind will continue.  I will meet my goal.  I want to get so funny that I'm embarrassed about the ten minutes I did at Super Weekend in the video above.  Watch out for this comedian.  Who knows, maybe you'll see me live one day.  Until next time...


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