Beginnings, comedy

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!"
"What language?"
"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!"
Top top
"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."

"Still looking."

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.


Merci ! For all of you, in French and English

Thanks ! For all who loved me

For all who had loved me
For a day or for years
All who had desired me, and I desired,
For years, month or a few hours 
Or imagining that he loved or wanted me
A day,  months,  or many years;
Or even for a wonderful night:

I have not forgotten
I have not regretted
I have not forgotten

Neither my years long teenage flame
Disappeared even before we touched;
Nor my first kisses on the street or a bench
In the almost closed park;
Or swimming midnight naked into the lake
And the tender chaste cuddling near a wood fire

I have not forgotten
I have not regretted
I have not forgotten.

Becoming woman at 25: it was not too late!
Our children were conceived with fervent kisses
I have not forgotten!

Deceptions, betrayal and sorrow followed,
Bitter ashes covered too often the great times
But I learned, even if later : one evening
Can make me happy for a whole year
I have not forgotten any of you !

Betrayed or neglected: I have not regretted.
I cried, then later told myself "it is I who imagined"
"It was me who lured myself he loved as I loved
That he wanted as I wanted and desired "

Yes, I desired, I loved
And even it not for all life
Was desired, was loved
I have not regretted
I have not forgotten

I loved some  and strongly desired others
I have loved and lived, and I do remember.
Thank you all for those moments, 
Those years  or moments of happiness:
I do not forget!

And here is the French original

A tous qui m'ont aimée ou désirée

Pour tous  qui m’ont aimée
Pour un jour ou des années
Pour tous qui m’ont désirée et j’ai désiré,
Ne serait-ce que des heures

Ou imaginant qu’il m’aimaient ou désiraient
Pendant des mois, des années; 
Ou une merveilleuse soirée.

Je n’ai pas oubliée
Je n’ai pas regrettée
Je n’ai pas oubliée!

Ni mon flamme d’adolescente
Disparue dans la fumée;
Ni mes premiers baisais
Dans le park presque fermée;
Ni la plongée deminuit nu dans le lac 
Ou la tendresse davant un feu de bois

Je n’ai pas oubliée
Je n’ai pas regrettée
Je ne vous ai oubliée!

Femme, tard dans la vie: jamais trop tard
Nos enfants conçus de nos fervents baisers
Je n’ai pas oubliée!

Deceptions , trahisons et blessures entassés
Cendres amères ont couvert nos bon moments

J’ai apprise alors, qu’une seule soirée
Peut apporter de la joie pour toute une année
Je n'ai pas oubliée!

Deçue ou délaissée, je n’ai pas regerttée
J’en ai pleurée,et puis dit “c’est toi qui a imaginée”
"C”est toi qui t’est leurrée qu’il t’aimais comme tu aimais
Qu’il te désirait comme tu le désirais"

J’ai désirée, j’ai aimée
Je n’ai pas regrettée
Je ne vous ai oubliée

J’ai aimée ou je vous ai fortement désirée: j’ai vécu
Merci pour ces moments, ces années de bonheur:
Je ne vous est oubilée!