A Moment in the Life of a Standup Comic

Jessica looked out in the audience. Although she’d been a standup comic for a decade, a new crowd still gave her cold feet. A faceless mass, their silence could be terrifying. If an audience could have the brainspace to cough, her jokes were bombing.

She drew a deep breath. A disembodied voice was introducing her. “Jessica Jones, all the way from New York,” he proclaimed to the London audience. She looked at her watch, tapping her foot, as she waited for showtime. Late she thought. Always late.

The sea of applause reassured her. She let it wash over her, smiling, throwing her head back, remembering her first show. Maybe that wasn’t such a good idea. She had bombed then, but made a fast recovery by taking some digs at Dubya. Her controversial comments had been picked up by the newspaper the next day, and landed her another gig. And so it had gone on.

Jessica mentally put her stage face, voice, manner on. She strode out on stage and smiled brightly. “Any moms here?” she asked. Always ask an easy question to open, she remembered, from her improve class.

Nodding at the chorus of yeses, she dived in. “Leaving the playground with a six year old is a lot like trying to lead your drunk friend out of the nightclub.” Jessica wasn’t married, forget about having kids. She exhaled a sigh of relief, as the crowd laughed with her. She had them. Tonight at least.

Standup ComicNote: This is based on the Radhika Vaz performance I watched a few years ago. I wrote this as an assignment for the University of Iowa’s MOOC- Moving the Margins. They have many wonderfully stimulationg MOOCs where you can meet some great, likeminded writers and get some useful constructive criticism. Comedy clearly works- I had the maximum number of comments on this piece.

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