Step Away From The Comfort Zone

Comfort zone magic

You might know that I’ve recently started to have a go (that’s the best way to describe it) at performing stand up comedy.

It’s something that I’ve always wondered if I could do and, even though it scared the living heck out of me, I thought it was time to get up there and have a go (it really is the best way to describe it).

I started last year by doing a comedy course in Liverpool and I enjoyed it. I did about 20 gigs between May and December and then fell out of the loop a bit (December is the busiest month for magicians and, while I would have loved to have done more comedy, I was far too busy entertaining drunk corporate types!).

Like most habits, once I’d stopped thinking about and performing comedy, I just…well…stopped.

I only realised last month that it was 6 months since my last gig, so I quickly booked myself another. Being out of the loop for so long made it feel new (and nerve-wracking) again!

I’m still very new in comedy; at the stage where, every time I step on stage, I’m stepping out of my comfort zone.

A lot of people presume that, because I’m a corporate and wedding magician that I’ll be super confident on a stage. I do see their reasoning, but it’s not true. It’s a strange environment and, rather than performing for small groups at a time, I’m in the spotlight of the entire room!

Trust me, I feel as “super confident” as you would in that situation!

There is another element that I have always battled in stand up comedy as well – whether to add magic to the act.

I am very keen NOT to do magic at comedy events. VERY keen, though it’s a battle I’m struggling with.

When I decided I wanted to have a go at stand up, it was to find out if I was funny. Could I genuinely write, and then perform, ten minutes of material that would make a bunch of strangers laugh? It’s a skill and I genuinely wanted to learn it and improve*.

The trouble is that I know magic has the ability to make people laugh, usually as a emotional release at the end/surprise of the trick. In fact, it’s pretty easy to make people smile with magic. I could buy a couple of tricks from a magic store, learn the script that comes with it and have a pretty decent act, but that’s too easy. I wouldn’t be stepping out of my comfort zone; I wouldn’t really be achieving anything of worth.

Another option would be to perform a totally original magic act. I’m still toying with this idea, even though it still feels like an easy way out (although not quite as easy as buying magic).

I guess that, for me, I wanted to do stand up to learn if I could make people laugh. I. Not magic. Not gimmicks. Not props. I.

I would love for people to think that I was hilarious. Not “hilarious…for a magician.”

That’s what really pushes me out of the comfort zone. Can I start with nothing, and create something that would make people laugh?

It turns out that, yes, sometimes I can.

It may take me a lot longer to reach the dazzling heights of the comedy world and it may be a far more difficult journey, but, by forcing myself out of my comfort zone, I’m learning far more about comedy. And, if I ever do get round to adding magic to the act, I’ll have an even better foundation to work from.

The further you step out of your comfort zone, the more you’ll learn!

* You can see exactly how “funny” I am, and how much I’ve “improved” by wasting 13 minutes of your life watching this video from a gig last week.

WARNING: The following clip contains a grown man talking about dogs, sex (please note the comma) and one mention of the word “vagina”. Viewer discretion is advised. 🙂