My 1st standup comedy workshop in 2011 begun with a round robin, the others telling how they see me between others. I was stunned to hear how they see "old" how all the young men with me at the workshop perceived me!
At first, I tried to TELL them how I feel "There is a young kid inside me" showing them at my first 2' even a picture of me as 5 years old standing up on a cube. They stared at me with stunned eyes. Without even a small smile. I understood then what it meant "I died", in comedy terms.
To accept and change their perception, I learned to DEMONSTRATE instead of telling.
At Saint Patricks day the bus did not work I had to walk and my knee begun to hurt.
I decided also to use the language I just learned in the workshop (some of it at least):
"My name is Julie and I am 77
Standup comedy after 77 ?
I can barely stand on my feet!
What the fuck I am doing in this shit?"
Top this with dialogue told in the moment:
My daughter called this morning.
"Mamie, you can't use this language, not you!"
"Those 4 letter words."
Top top: after looking around.
"But she is not here."
Even using words I never used before the f.. S. word.
Many asked themselves sometimes : what am I doing here? So I did voice what they had in their head, and at the same time showed I do not take myself seriously.
Then added what happened indeed, at that time, as I send my daughter my text to correct my English. She called me indeed. All of us had occasions when they did things, after being sure, the one telling them not to do it was not there.
But if I used her call in my first public Standup, we had 120 participants, later on, I used the same as if it happened "this morning". Bringing stories in present is important and allowed even when you tell True Stories from your life, not only in Comedy.
1. Setup. Begin by acknowledging how the others SEE you. Fill in necessary information for the rest to be understood, no more. Instead of telling the truth: that you are a lot more complex and different then they think, pretend at the beginning you are as they imagine using the stereotype in their head.
2. Add to it first even a bit of exaggeration, letting them believe "yes, that is what I thought",
this is called a Misdirection.
3. Then, surprise them, not by telling but by showing: you are just like them. Punch line.
Top it with a second punchline that builds on what you just told: it makes gives your routine an impromptu feel. As if you just invented it in that moment, only for them, there.
Keep all in present as much as possible "in the moment". If needed change time to make it seem it just happened to you, even if it was true the first time told but repeated after a month or years.
Nowadays, it's enough for me to begin with:
"My name is Julie.
I am single (looking around)
Ready to mingle. (With open arms)"
"Never too late!"
"There is always yet another chance in life!"
For me this works, most of the time, because it seems funny to them for an old woman to declare herself "single" and "ready to" even if she does indeed live alone.
In a new toastmaster club I visit, I sometimes tell :
"Do you remember why you come to your first TM meeting?
Well, at age 44, three years after I become single again, I did go to my first club
To find a man."
They see I am an old woman, mostly do not have to tell them any more my age.
And why should I tell them in fact I am now already 82, no more 77 as I was when I begun!
Well a few years here or there, is 'detail".
Of course, each has to find his/her beginning starting with others' perceptions, acknowledging the stereotype, embracing it and using it, before showing (not telling) that there is a lot more to us than they thought.