Updated: Sep 15, 2022
What makes you... you?
Now, you might identify with many things. 'What', 'how' and 'who you think you are' may be easy; you're a sister, mother, brother, your job, your house, the other half of your spouse (the better half of course). But really you are made of many parts, and roles and contexts - you are a puzzle, a mosaic, a Rubik's Cube to play with.
What makes you, you is in constant negotiation so...
You should learn to play with yourself, *ahem*
"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts"
Ol' Bill Wonky-Speare
The fact is you are made of many parts: a person, a personality and a persona. Now you can take some time to stare out a window, stroke your beard (or borrow one from a friend) and think on this. OR you can take action and look through the looking glass at yourself...there's a lot we simply can't know without doing, so get up stop thinking and start doing yourself....(ok last one).
Do yourself a favour, Stand-up & start doing yourself
There are some things in life that you can only learn by taking action and Stand-up Comedy is the perfect crash course in learning who you are because:
"When you put a person in front of a room of people, [they] are going to perform, when in this situation bits of [their] personality are no longer necessary and will be dropped, whereas other parts of their personality will aid the situation."
(Tony Allen, 2014)
Stand-up reveals what it is about you, that engages other people - your 'persona'
Persona - it's You, but You +
One of the biggest misconceptions is that Stand-up Comedy is an act, but at its best it's not about acting, it's about interacting. Your 'persona' is the tool you use to interact and engage the people around you. Stand-up comedy is about finding this part of you and turning it up to 11.
What you don't know about Stand-up Comedy
On face value it can look like Stand-up Comedy is just the ultimate act of extraversion, 'look at me, look at me!' but no it's not - well sort of - it's more of a 'yes-but-no-but' situation.
Stand up comedy is like an act, but it actually requires
a constant act of introspection.
Welcome to the window looking into yourself
This is you, you are a window 'Joharis Window' in fact - congratulations!
How it works:
In short there's a you...
that you know and others know too (open self)
that you don't know, but others do (blind self)
that you know, but others don't (hidden self)
a you that even you don't know and others don't know either (unknown self)
If you're any sort of creative you've probably heard this advice
“Write [about] what you know.”
This is where you start with Stand-up Comedy, you share the 'open self' & 'hidden self' but by doing it, you tackle the hardest questions and open up
the 'blind self' & 'unknown self'.
When you start Stand-up, you really have no idea how an audience will react - one joke/story/bit will fit one comedian and not another - this is why back stage you'll often here comedians say:
"look I've got this bit, that doesn't work for me, but will definitely work for you"
('you' here meaning 'persona').
This basically means that an audience knows something about you, that you don't know (yet). So the only way to fill in the blanks it is to experiment & keep doing it!
This is the big one and frankly what makes doing Stand-up Comedy worth doing.
Have you thought to yourself
'why did that work, but not this?'
Have you ever worked on something for hours, days, weeks, months & it 'sort of' works, but then one day pulled something out in the moment, off the top of your head & it's the best thing you've ever done?
Congratulations! this is the frustrating thing that Stand-up Comedians deal with every night they stand-up. BUT this is really a blessing in disguise, you've just taken a sneak peak into the 'Hidden Self'.
THIS, this is why Stand-ups do it, night after night, this is the proverbial white rabbit we chase.
Deeper down the rabbit hole.
This is why comedians grind away at the joke mill, edit, rework, tweak, adapt, pull ourselves inside out and upside-down to keep chasing what works & why.
Whatever it is that worked - a turn of phrase, an inflection, a stress, a gesture, an image - is the nuts and bolts, the wheels and cogs but we spend a life time trying to understand how the machine actually works and frankly, no one really knows AND
it's different for everyone who tries.
This is what makes Stand-up Comedy special, no one else can do what you do and no one else can begin the journey to understand:
Who you are is in your hands and your hands alone
But it's only through interacting with others, learning and listening that you can truly discover who you are,
Stand up & Speak
The purpose is to find 'YOUR' voice
Want to find out more?
This is part of a series called: 'So I studied Stand-up Comedy:
and don't forget to...