A couple of years ago I made a commitment to always have something on my calendar to train for (and something fun to look forward to). To have something on the horizon that will test my limits, push me, and stretch me.
The overwhelming majority of these ‘events’ have been one day experiences aimed primarily to test my physical limits (Last Man Standing Ultramarathon, 26-hour Navy SEAL training simulation, hike from rim-to-rim of the Grand Canyon, Hood to Coast 200-mIle Team Relay, and a 10K Spartan Race).
And while I will continue to sign up for and prepare for these type of experiences, I’ve decided to broaden my approach and tackle something new…
Why on earth would I start standup comedy when I am 4 birthday candles away from my 50th birthday?
Here are 3 reasons I decided to try standup comedy:
- I’ve been a lifelong fan of the genre. I started listening to my dad’s Steve Martin, Bill Cosby, and George Carlin albums (literally, vinyl records played on a record player) in middle school and I was riveted. I would spend hours in our basement laughing… BY MYSELF! Since then, I’ve devoured thousands of hours of standup comedy from just about every notable comic in the past 30 years (I’ve gone from vinyl, to cassette tapes, to CD’s, to iTunes, to Netflix). I consider standup comedians – the really prolific ones like Dave Chappelle, Louis CK, and Bill Burr – to be modern day philosophers. I want to try to do what they do in small way. I have unparalleled respect and reverence for standup comedians and I want to join their club (in the same way that I have so much respect and reverence for authors and I wanted to join their club too!).
- While I’ve learned to be comfortable and confident on the keynote stage, the thought of doing standup scares me! It intimidates me. It makes me nervous. But THAT uneasiness makes me feel alive! I did my first standup set, a 3-minute segment called “Bright New Faces” at a local comedy show, this past Saturday… and it was equal parts terrifying and exhilarating! My goal is to develop the same level of confidence as a comedian that I have as a keynote speaker. Plus, there will be crossover. The reps, the process, and the approach I take to standup comedy will help me ‘raise my game’ as a keynote speaker.
- I love the idea of trying something new (that I’m not very good at), embracing the process, and making the personal commitment to do what it takes to consistently make improvement. It feels liberating to be a rookie again. To clarify, I view this as simply a new hobby. Something to dive into and have fun with. Some men my age learn to surf and others learn to play the guitar. I want to learn to be a standup comedian. I can already tell that one of the most challenging aspects of this new endeavor, will be finding my unique, authentic comedic voice and coming up with truly original material… but that inspires me! And it’s exactly what I had to do has a keynote speaker. When I first started professionally speaking, both my content and my delivery unconsciously mimicked and imitated my favorite speakers. It took time for me to find my lane, find my rhythm, and find my voice. And I will do the same with standup comedy!
I’ll make sure to keep you all updated on my journey!