In my last post, I talked about how rewarding my first newbie set at Comedy Works was, how it felt to get positive feedback from bringing joy to people. This post is a bit different.
When I started this draft, it was the night after I went up after a touring professional comedian.
I got to the mic and signed up, waited for my turn and was told I was up in two, so I start getting into my headspace while waiting for the next two to go. I'm one person away and the host says, Hey, I'm gonna bump you one more, and while irritated, I wanted to be agreeable. I thought, well, what's one more comedian before me? It gives me a bit more time to prep and I don't have anywhere to be, there's not another mic after this anyway. I didn't notice there was a professional in the room until the host introduced the comic right before me.
Introducing your next comedian... Ty Barnett!
Ahhhhhhh, fuck. Immediately, I recognized his name and my heart sank and rose at the same time! I was excited to see him work, but terrified that I, as a newcomer to the mic, had to go up immediately after him. He absolutely CRUSHED the room, and then it was my turn. The host went up and said, " I was gonna give you a fucked up intro but I'll be nice." and I waved him down to just do it, cause I think I'm tough was up for a little razzing, just to see what he'd say about me, so he goes,
"Introducing... the lesser Ty.... Ty Sells!"
I'll be honest, it hurt a little bit, and threw me off a tad, but it was true, so I shouldn't complain, but here's why I am: The comment was supposed to be funny for the audience to show juxtaposition between a professional and a newcomer, and I get that completely, but that gave the audience (and myself) an expectation that I was going to be terrible, and it became a self-fulfilling prophesy. I thought he was just gonna make fun of my hair or stupid shirt, but it felt like an attack on my person.
In that moment I really felt like the lesser Ty. I know I'm not the greatest, but I'm working towards that, and in one swift comment I felt completely undercut. I knew I still had to try to prove myself, so I gave it my all, and I got a few laughs, but I think most of the jokes fell flat because I let that comment phase me more than it should have. I knew I was up after a pro, and wanted to do as well as he did, but at that point believed, much like the swayed room, that I wasn't going to be as good, and it reflected.
I never thought I could let something as small as that bother me, but I failed to realize I'm an emotional person who sometimes takes things to heart, and because I did, I failed myself.
What I learned is that I can't keep worrying about what somebody else has to say about me. I struggle with self-esteem, but what I keep forgetting is the prefix to that word. Confidence comes from the self. Until then, I'm just getting by with this knockoff self-esteem. Just faking it til I'm making it. What I do know is:
I might have less experience, and less notoriety, but I am not the lesser Ty.