Conquering fear through comedy

Stand-up comedy has become quite popular in India in the last few years. Comedians have millions of subscribers on YouTube and hour-long specials on online streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime; some even have become brand ambassadors of popular products. Clearly, the time to pursue a career in comedy is now. The only thing you need is confidence; the jokes will come by themselves.

Attempting to do stand-up

So, when you’re watching videos of these stars performing on stage you think to yourself, “Hey, maybe I can do that. My friends think I’m funny maybe other people will find me funny, too.” But then the thought of speaking before an audience can make you so nervous that you almost give up on the idea of becoming a stand-up comedian.

If you were to read about these comedians and their struggles you would realize that most of them have one thing in common: They too suffered from stage fright when they were starting out. So, this gives you enough motivation to actually attempt to do stand-up comedy. Thankfully, you don’t have to wait too long for an opportunity to test yourself as your college is organizing a stand-up comedy competition in five days.

Writing your first set

The rulebook for the competition says, “Points will be deducted if the content is not original.” So, you are left with two days to write a 10-minute set which has to be completely original. You start getting frustrated; you curse yourself for procrastinating for three days, you curse the rulebook for having such dumb rules.

You are not able to write a single word and a whole day is gone, but then at night, five minutes before you are about to enter the dream world, an idea pops into your head, “Why not make fun of the rulebook itself!”

Like milk in a glass, ideas for jokes start pouring into your head. The rulebook says, “No unnecessary swearing.” Well, then you’ll just use excessive swearing to make fun of the rules. After dismantling all rules one by one, your set is ready.

Performing for the first time

It’s the day of the competition. You have practiced your set in front of your friends and they laughed out loud at every joke. Five minutes before your turn stage fright starts attacking your nervous system. But then you think to yourself, “If I’m terrible and I stutter they’ll laugh at me and if I’m good they will laugh with me. Anyway I’ll make them laugh, so who cares.” With this thought, you get on the stage.

You struggle with the first joke but as soon as you hear the first chuckle from the audience all the anxiety is gone. You are able to complete your set. Almost all the jokes worked. It does not matter whether you have won the competition or not, you have conquered one of your greatest fears and by doing so you have become a winner.

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