I have been trying to be more consistent with this, but I just haven’t sat down and done it. So here I am. The past couple of weeks have been so good to me and I’m feeling like things are falling into place and I’m not in such a weird spot.
If you haven’t already, you need to read Amy Poehler’s, Yes Please. Seriously. I read Tina Fey’s book, Bossypants, two years ago and loved it. I loved her snarky writing and messages about being a woman in comedy, so I was excited to see what Amy could bring to the table. When I’d see these women on TV, I often thought I could relate more to Tina’s characters, (Liz Lemon mostly) but then Leslie Knope showed up and I kind of thought I was like her. I’d like to think of myself as Liz Lemon and Leslie Knope’s lovechild. You know, someone who loves to eat cheese in sweatpants but is a little spastic and loves her friends in an almost worrisome way.
Yes Please is amazing. I couldn’t put it down and I cried when I finished it. I cried because of the advice she unknowingly gave me, I cried because of her wittiness and I cried because I hadn’t read a book that spoke to me like that in a long time. It was crazy reading it because I found many similarities in our writing styles. For instance, earlier that day, I had posted a blog entry about having a squishy heart (which has since been made private because it was a little winded) and began reading her book that night. The first chapter, she talks about having a squishy heart and saying yes to people too often. THAT’S LIKE WHAT I SAID, AMY. I SAID I HAVE A SQUISHY HEART. I was seriously on Cloud 9 after I read that. Her writing style is like if she was sitting right in front of you and talking and she rambles but then finds a way to connect all of her words so they make sense. I’d like to think I do that with “Tighe-ing it together.” See what I did there? Ehh? Ehh?
To pick one of my favorite quotes from her book was difficult, but I found this one got me right in the feels.
“You do it because the doing of it is the thing. The doing is the thing. The talking and worrying and thinking is not the thing.”
I read this over and over and I had to put down the book. This has been similar to my mantra all year! Just doing my things. This is my year to do the things I’ve said I wanted to do, and I’ve been doing them and the feeling is amazing. AMAZING.
I reflected on Amy’s words and thought to myself, “The difference between Amy and me, besides the fact she’s famous and has millions, is that she has done the things.” She had a huge impact on the improv world with being one of the founders of Upright Citizens Brigade, an improv program, and she has successfully written and directed episodes of Parks and Recreation. She did it.
This year, a friend sent me a bangle that said “She believed she could, so she did” with sweet words of encouragement of following my heart and dreams and finding myself. She said she’s a blog reader (what’s up, mama? J ) so she must have put together that I’m definitely in my soul searching phase. I wear the bangle every day and I think about the things I believe I could do, but don’t.
With my bangle on my arm and Amy’s words in my brain, I thought about something that I have wanted to do, but haven’t done.
All I’ve been doing at work is listening to stand up and I’m constantly stifling my laughter with snorts or fake coughing, but everyone knows I’m laughing. I have become obsessed. I actually emailed one of my favorite comedians, Mike Birbiglia, to tell him I’m a huge fan and I asked for advice, (still waiting on that response, Birbigs. Ball’s in your court…) and I have just thought, “Man, it’d be awesome to do it.”
So I did it.
I emailed my improv coach and told him I was interested and he hooked me up with the dude who runs the open mic night. I met with him, padfolio in hand, and asked questions. His advice?
Be funny and then be funnier.
Oh, okay. Done.
WHAT?! How do I? Wait, what? Like. Just all of the questions, here.
While my brain ran around in circles trying to figure out what I should do, I finally just said, “Hey, brain. Knock it off. Just write.”
So I did.
Pen to paper, I thought of a funny theme and just went with it. I wrote down every word and then I read every word with a timer. I cut out stuff I didn’t want and by the third time reading it, I had it down.
I told some friends I was doing it and I was honestly really surprised to hear the support. I didn’t know if it would be like, “Oh, man. Hannah thinks she’s funny and is going to embarrass herself,” but it was all so incredibly supportive. They didn’t think they needed the tomatoes or the long cane that would yank me off the stage by the neck like in the old timey cartoons.
The day of my stand up, I was a wreck. I was shaking. I couldn’t sit still. I was like a border collie. I had to go run just to calm the f down. I ran and ran and then got ready. I was so excited and terrified and felt like I could vomit, but I was ready.
I drove to my improv club, put my name in and waited. My gaggle of friends came and they were so excited.
When my name was called, I about tripped out of my chair and walked up stage. I did my thing. I told the story and I paused for my jokes and the laughter, which actually happened a lot. Like, a lot. And that was so cool! They laughed when I wanted them to and laughed when I didn’t think they would.
I walked off stage with a crazy feeling. I felt amazing and I didn’t know where my body was. I was shaking so much after and had a smile glued to my face. Even if it was a small open mic night and there were about 40 people, I was over the moon.
I DID THE THING.
The thing was amazing. The thing was everything I hoped it would be and more. The thing made me happy and I knew that I wanted the thing more.
I got some nice texts from friends who came to the show and one who was kind of out of the blue was really excited for me and sweet. I was so happy.
I couldn’t sleep. I woke up at 2 am with a huge smile and just recalled the night over and over. I couldn’t wait to do it again.
Finally, all of my years of being the class clown and funny girl of the group had paid off. I could tell the Class of 2007 that I lived up to their expectations of Best Comedian and actually went for it. Is it cool to recall what your high school voted you for eight years after you graduate? No, not cool? Oh. Huh. Well SUCK IT. I’m going to do it.
Without reading Yes Please, I probably wouldn’t have done the thing. I would have thought about doing the thing, but wouldn’t have done it. I’d like to dedicate this blog post and my first stand up to Amy Poehler for getting me to do the thing. She doesn’t know her book totally encouraged some 26 year old chick in Iowa to get out of her sweatpants and go up and do her thing, but I’d like to think she’d give me a fist bump.
So, first off. Read Yes Please then go do your thing. 🙂