Socially awkward... but also a comedian!
Like many people in my generation, I have some social awkwardness that psychologists like to call anxiety. Not sure if the label is a good or bad thing but that’s what they call it. So people ask; How can you have social anxiety and be a stand up comedian?
Great question, that I get all the time. And you know what the answer is simple. I know the rules of stand up comedy. My loud voice and talkativeness have a place in stand up comedy. And I’ve already done it.
Many times in my life my talkativeness, loudness and general personality has clashed with other people. And by clash I mean I have been mocked and belittled for who I am as a person. In fact it still happens to this day. And as we all know that shit can leave scars, the kind you can’t see.
Pre and post show chitchat use to scare the shit out of me because I didn’t know the rules for those moments. Now that I’m getting use to it I only mildly feel awkward and overwhelmed. But when I first started, that was scarier then performing itself.
Just because we’re performers doesn’t mean we’re all that confident. In fact I would argue a lot of performers are awkward and weird, even on stage. But it’s a social situation that I’m familiar with and I mainly perform where I know people so not super stressful.
But at the same time I can still get awkward in a new room around new people. And it’s important not to forget that just because someone is comfortable doing one thing, doesn’t mean there comfortable doing everything else that’s similar and related.
A sportsmen who is good at basketball isn’t expected to also feel totally at ease playing golf. Sure there is an underlying set of skills that might theoretically make it easier, but not until they’ve been able to practice the new sport for a bit. Same thing… just swap to talking instead of sport.
Just because I can talk on stage doesn’t mean I can talk to you and not feel nervous. At least, not until I’ve practiced for a bit.