Being Funny is Terrifying

I think I’m funny. But like, mostly unintentionally funny with a dash of I can tell a good story and a hefty helping of I say dumb things in a chemical state and people laugh sometimes. I’m taking this comedy class called Feminine Comique. It’s so good and it’s so scary. It’s a few beyond scary. It’s fucking terrifying.

It’s raw and weird and it’s the best part of my week, except for the last Wednesday of the month (see you next week? I promise my stories are better than that half-joke).

The first day I felt like an unpeeled grape. Oh my God, everyone is so much younger and cuter than me, I thought, quickly followed by Oh my God, everyone is so much older and cuter than me. Fuck. I should just go home. I want a drink. I have no theater or improv experience hurrghhhh – But that’s kind of why I did this, because I know I need help being on stage. I can be a little stiff. I talk too fast. I rely on my notes – I never go off book. I never did improv or theater because I never wanted to, and thought they weren’t something indoor kids like myself did. But I want to be a good storyteller, and storytelling is all about performance. Plus my therapist tells me being uncomfortable is good for me, and yeah I’m real uncomfortable actually trying to be funny. Being funny means looking at yourself, then trying to sell it in a way that’s loose and hilarious. I kind of want to throw up just writing that out.

But I keep coming back. Because it’s awesome. Kelsie is a great teacher. One part summer camp counselor, one part cheerleader, and two parts professor, she’s great at honing in on parts of your content and style that work while constructively criticizing what doesn’t. She pulls out parts of your personality and delivery and explains how they could be funnier, cleaner, tighter. It’s really helpful and great to watch, because everyone in the class makes you laugh in their own way. I sound obnoxiously positive because that’s how I feel: from the sex kitten drawling you guyyyssss to the arty older lady shrugging off breast cancer to the sleek professional rolling out with “So I’m a frequent 911 caller” – all of this punching the idea that girls aren’t funny right in the dick.

My hand does this weird thing when I do a rant.

I bumble and bluster. I make kinda racist jokes about my dude being part-Chinese, me being kinda Jewish, my family being dysfunctional, how I used to be a Live Action Roleplayer, and okay that last one’s comedy gold. I am so not great, but the tiny little bit of great I am for 13 seconds makes me feel like a baller. I am Kanye West, I am Amy Poehler, I am Ilana and Abbi. I am amazing because said some words about my height or corporate culture or pancakes and someone laughed at it, and that is pretty great. I am ragingly insecure and have the teeniest dram of skill, God knows what I’d be like if I was super-talented and confident. I don’t know if the world’s ready for that much pure, annoying energy.

So uh, come to the class show in February? I’m pretty sure I’m 22% funnier than I used to be.



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