Journal posts, direct from the mind of Alice. Keep your eyes on this page for the latest hot takes, unsolicited opinions and spicy content.
Putting yourself out there.
I’m a comedian, but nothing scares me more than an open mic comedy night. For those of you who haven’t been to an open mic before, let me set the scene for you. Picture twenty ambitious, sweaty performers fighting for their life (for five minutes at a time) to make a room of four people laugh at their Tinder joke.
My first open mic night was, to put it lightly, a shit show. Don’t be mistaken, I was perfection; a vision in leather overalls with a $50 electric keyboard. What turned my night from great to one of the most scarring nights of my comedic life was the headliner. I’m not going to tell you his name, mainly because I can’t remember who he was. This dude was just as fresh as all of us, but he walked onstage with the bravado and confidence of someone who had just snorted the ashes of the true cross.
The headliner got to the mic and delivered ten minutes of his best wife beating material. I say his best because I assume that there’s plenty more where that came from. And did the audience turn on him? Did the audience even look mildly bemused? NUP. They were living for this. Every time he mimed hitting another fictional woman, the crowd bloody loved it.
I decided that these nights weren’t for people like me. From that experience, I became closed off after gigs and was deeply sceptical of forming friendships with other comics out of fear they thought this would be funny.
And before you say “hey Alice, comedians are progressive, lovely people who don’t do things like that” let me say that most are, yes. But #notallcomedians. If you want further proof, go to www.google.com and type ‘Ricky Gervais fat jokes’. Thank you.
I want to take more. I’ve been watering my garden for far too long, seesol and all, and now it’s time for me to go out there and assert myself in some more space. I want to tell jokes in a room full of people and have a beer with my colleagues after it.
Why can’t I? It’s all easier said than done. Putting yourself out there means facing potential rejections and maybe, possibly, perhaps, people not liking you. I can’t deal with people not liking me. I’m delightful, RIGHT?
I’ve never had a good record with putting myself out there. I feel that myself, and a lot of other women and people with a lived female experience, are hard wired for rejection. We assume the no before we hear it. We’ve put our stuff back in our handbags before the job interview is over and asked if anyone has anything for the dishwasher on the way out.
In high school, I wasn’t particularly cool or uncool, but I had an outsider complex so severe that you would have thought that I was the kid sister of Bender in The Breakfast Club. I thought that the level of rejection that I received was abnormal. I mean other people were on keto diets for formals, while I was sat alone with my jumbo slurpee.
No regrets. Bring your own cup day at 7 Eleven was my Woodstock.
I let rejection stop me from trying to become an active part of the conversation. I was rejected by people that I didn’t even like. Why would that bother me? I once “dated” a guy (I use quotation marks, because I thought we were dating while he was in Europe for three months. He had other plans. Oh well, when in Rome. And Paris. And Berlin…). I have dated many other people, because I’m desirable, but I remember this guy. His friends were thrilled that he was interested in me, because this guy usually dates “Disney Princess types”, and I was more like Princess Fiona. From Shrek.
On reflection, I wasn’t all that romantically interested in this boy. He was perfectly nice, if guys who go to Europe for three months and date other people are your type. But the feeling of acceptance, the praise of his peers, the chance to meet Donkey and visit Far, Far Away, it was addictive. Acceptance is the antidote to rejection, but it is easy to get hooked on that medication.
I am pleased to tell you, dear reader, that in most facets of my life I am a crusty little shit stain who doesn’t let rejection get in the way. I can be frank, fearless and devastating when I want to be. Ask my real estate agent. I’m brutal.
But I still crumble into a ball when asked to go on a bill with other comedians. Some part of me feels like I'm back in high school, sipping my bright pink slurpee and feeling like Fiona from Shrek.
But who wouldn't want to be Fiona? She had a fantastic set of pipes, knew how to appreciate a good rat stew and kicked butt. Sometimes it's hard to put yourself out there, but sometimes, you've gotta push yourself. Take chances you know will be good for you and leave the shitty ones behind.
Ladies and gentlemen, that's my time. Thanks for having me!