Try a new hobby or conquer a fear or two, like our digital editor did performing at an open-mic night.
Okay, seriously, mamas, what did I get myself into? I’m terrified of speaking in front of an audience, and I allowed myself to be bullied into doing stand-up comedy at an open-mic night, hosted by Comedy HK. I definitely enjoy spectating and observing the ease with which some people have on stage, but struggled to imagine myself doing the same.
In the interest of trying something new (and fighting those public speaking fears), I took it in stride and agreed to do it, under the guidance of my friend Dannie. Don’t get me wrong, my cool and calm exterior masked a big fat bag of nerves. Dannie’s a pro at this, having hosted many of the open-mic nights, as well as the Varietea Party shows on Saturday evenings, so I was in good hands.
If you’ve never done stand-up comedy before, I strongly recommend going to some of the writing and performance workshops, run by the team at Comedy HK. I managed to get to two, and they were both equal parts useful and different. Chris Wong, who ran the first one, had us going up on stage and throwing jokes out into the audience for one minute, even if they weren’t that funny or if we didn’t have enough material. Standing up here in front of the other comics is when I realised my punch lines needed major work!
I had been hesitant to stray too far away from recounting a “true” story, but doing stand-up gives you creative licence to embellish to the tee. It took me a hot minute to get to grips with this concept. Where the initial punch line of my story to going shopping for a sports bra was a broken nail, really, it was funnier if I hammed it up and physically demonstrated how dangerous it was… no, I didn’t strip on stage, I simply acted it out my #shoppingfail.
The second workshop had me thinking about my favourite famous comedians and how they performed – from the eye contact to the physicality of commanding the stage and everything in between. I also learned some of the basics, such as what to do if the mic gives feedback and to move the mic stand away so it doesn’t block you. If you’re going to be on stage, own it, and don’t hide behind the mic stand!
The dreaded big day approached, and after rehearsing a little less than I’d intended, I went on stage and did my time. The three minutes flew by so quickly, and thank goodness there were a few laughs! The girls at Sassy HQ are pestering me for an in-office experience of The Shaneli Show, but I’m in two minds if I’d ever do it again. One thing’s for sure: it helped me get over my nerves and showed me that, like a certain sportswear brand with uncomfortable athletic gear, I just had to do it.
Check out the Comedy HK Facebook page for upcoming open-mic nights at Hong Kong Brew House in LKF and Bar 109 in Wan Chai.