Well I've never done THAT before.
In a nutshell, last night I did a 15(ish) minute stand up comedy set at the People's Improv Theatre in Manhattan.
Here's roughly how that came about.
I became Facebook friends with Peter Michael Marino, a comedy performer who had a show in Edinburgh this year. Yes he knows Ben - I found out after the show last night. Peter posted on Facebook about Solocom and he wrote 'just submit, write the show afterwards' so I did just that, thinking 'I won't be accepted because I don't have any past material or an improv background or anything else they're asking for'.
I submitted about 3 months ago, they accepted me about 2 months ago and about 2 days ago I ran my routine for the first time. I spent the 2 months since being accepted thinking 'I really need to write some material', occasionally writing some but not using it and answering the question 'what are you going to do?' with 'no idea, seriously none'.
You'd think that by 6pm yesterday an hour before the show I would've been FREAKING OUT. Lack of preparation, never done anything remotely like this before plus I was, through some clerical error, in a show of 15 minute solo shows which were all character comedy pieces. I didn't do a lot of planning but I do know that I never planned to do a character show. So I was the odd one out on top of everything else.
It's the damndest thing - not once in the past several weeks have I had a moment of 'oh God I can't do this'. I also never thought oh yeah I'm all over this, I know exactly what I'm doing. I can't explain - I kept waiting to be nervous yesterday before the show and the nerves didn't come. I did, once, say to myself 'what have I done?' But more in a funny way than a panicked way.
The girl before me, Sharon, was doing some crazy stuff with costumes and wigs and sound cues and music and really got the audience going (I was after her so I couldn't see her show but I watched her set up). And the evening's host Marshall York did his interstitial bit and he introduced me, I heard my name and walked onto the stage...it was like an out of body experience.
I'm so delighted that the audience was on board, they laughed a lot and in places I really wasn't expecting a laugh. I was really only expecting a couple and that was me being optimistic. So an amazing reaction but more than that I'm so happy that I've never felt more comfortable on a stage in my life.
I know, right? I've been on stage a lot, doing all different things and I don't get stage fright or anything but there are always pre-show butterflies and the clutch of fight or flight adrenaline. This - nothing. Not once. I can't understand it or believe it really because it doesn't make any sense to be that relaxed about something I've never done and barely prepared for.
And I was comfortable enough to riff some things on the spot - again, can't explain it don't know how it happened but they popped into my head and I said them and the audience LAUGHED...man.
Out of body experience.
Peter came into the dressing room afterwards and congratulated me and then said 'is Ben your brother?'
Yup, you got me - I'm trying to start a transatlantic Fairey solo show comedy monopoly.
The whole thing actually comes down to Ben cos if he hadn't done his show in Edinburgh he wouldn't have met Peter and become Facebook friends and he wouldn't have shared an article that Peter posted so I wouldn't have seen it and also shared it which is what led to Peter adding me on Facebook and me seeing the call for Solocom submissions PLUS if I hadn't just seen my brother perform a solo show in Edinburgh then no way would it have crossed my mind to submit. So thanks Ben!
Really glad I took a leap and put myself in a position to sink or swim, relying 100% on just me no props no costume no director no choreography. I hope I swam. I at least floated.