August 20th, 2012 By Mike Kane

    I’ve grown as a performer.

    The irony of this is that it was a failure, not a monster success, which allowed me to realize this.

    Let me bury the lead no longer: I bombed.

    Maybe “bomb” is not an accurate description, but I was super disappointed with my performance.

    I should set this up so I don’t sound like a wackadoo (oh, who are we kidding?).

    I told a story the other night at SpeakeasyDC’s Second Tuesday.  If you read any of my previous entries, you know I wasn’t feeling good about it.  I found out that morning that I would be going first after the host’s story.  I always like going first.  Get it out of the way and hopefully you can actually recognize that there’s a show going on afterward.

    The show began and the host introduced me the same way she always does (“does anyone here read the Speakeasy blog?”  I wait for the deafening roar of chirping crickets to fade before launching into my story) and then I began.

    Less than 45 seconds in, I went for my first big joke.  I nailed it… and I got nothing.  And yet, because of the way I rehearsed it and the cadence of the story, I paused and waited for the non-existent laughter to settle.  And it threw me.  Bad.

    I don’t feel like I ever really got it back after that.  I finished the story, but not in the Speakeasy 7.  At seven minutes they dinged the timer bell telling me to wrap this thing up.  I finished just at the 7:30 mark (the bell rang again right on my last line).

    I hadn’t even gotten off stage and I was instantly depressed.  Instantly.  Before the host even got up to introduce the next storyteller, I already knew I would be spending Wednesday in my bathrobe eating cool whip from the tub.  Seriously, think Bridget Jones with a beard and no diary; that’s my Hump-Day, readers.

    Then the emcee actually did get up there (I’m making a beeline for the bar at this point) and she said something about my performance.  Something playful and innocuous, I’m sure, but in my head I hear, “Hey guys, sorry about that.  But listen, we’ve got some great storytellers tonight; don’t give up on us yet.”

    I had one drink.  Even though I went first, I still missed the following storytellers’ stories because I was obsessively replaying my failure in my head.  I left at intermission (which I never do), went home and watched the video of my performance approximately 246 times in a row, scrutinizing over each second of it.

    Right now, you’re like, “so, this all sounds like the opposite of growing.”

    Yeah, it does. But as I was lying in bed, thinking about the night, the disappointment suddenly disappeared.  Literally vanished.  And listen, it wasn’t replaced by happiness, or satisfaction, or even contentment. But I was overcome with a sense of ease.  A feeling void of worry.   I was able to shrug the whole night off before I went to bed.  I actually had that thought, “hey, we’ll get the next one.”

    How grown up is that??!!

    The last time I had a truly horrible performance, I didn’t get back on stage for almost eight months.

    I didn’t stay home from work on Wednesday like I thought I would.  I did treat myself to some Fro-Yo because I will always be the dude-version of Bridget Jones, but at least it was out in public with clothes on.

    But best of all, I went back out Wednesday night, got back on stage, and told another story…

    Like a grown-ass man.

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