My First Stand Up Show and What I Learned from it

I love stand-up comedy. Here are some of my favorite comedians:

I watch them all the time on Netflix and I love going to open mic nights at the M-Shop to see some of my comedy friends test out their sets.

I’ve been such a fan of it for years that I’m thinking about giving it a try for the first time. And by the first time I mean where a stage is involved.

See, people are generally afraid to get on a stage and speak their mind, let alone attempt to make it funny for an audience of strangers.

So a few months ago on November 18, some friends and I from the ISU Stand Up Comedy Club held a stand up show in Nevada, Iowa.

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After my first official stand-up set, I figured that I would be perfect to answer any questions anyone looking to join the club/attempt to try comedy for themselves. So here is exactly what I learned from my first stand-up comedy outing.

  1. The spotlight is on you.

You are the star of the show and just like being in college, you are out to showcase your talents, thoughts and abilities. We had impressionists, musicians and your standard comics performing that night. It is all about you being able to make the stage your own so don’t be afraid of the big light on you.

  1. You won’t be funny your first time and that’s okay!

A lot of people try to go for the quick and easy punchlines or shock humor when performing for the first time because they feel it is the only way to make others laugh. Do things your way. It can take a bit to find your niche. In the ISU Stand-up Comedy Club, we workshop all our jokes among ourselves and give notes so that we can all benefit.

  1. Everyone is a part of the show!

The audience may be there to watch you, but treat them like your friends. Hecklers exist, but they are far and few. The audience wants to laugh with you, so why not get them engaged in the jokes. During my set, I had two jokes that made the audience get involved with the show. That way, you know that they are paying attention and can participate if necessary. The more the merrier, right?

  1. Stage fright is real AND beatable.

Oh, it is very real. My heart was racing when I first walked onto the stage. One would even say my knees were weak and my arms were heavy…


But in all seriousness, stage fright happens to the best of them and if you haven’t been on a stage before, it can happen. My piece of advice: calm yourself down, take some deep breaths, look at your notes if you have them and most important, smile. Smiling gets rid of all your nerves.

  1. Anyone can do it!

When the lineup was made for the show, I looked around the room and saw people of different backgrounds, all with a similar goal in their mind: to make people laugh and have a good time. Some of us had done open mic nights, others had done full sets. Yet no one had the same major and only two people in the whole club were from the same place. We all just want to have a good time. And in the end, that’s what college life should be all about.

Honestly, I would recommend trying out stand-up for everyone. It is a great stress reliever and it allows you to convey your true feelings in a welcoming setting. You can best believe that I will be performing a lot more. I might even start hosting my own comedy show one day.

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