Justin Grace at Pine Box Rock Shop - 6.9.12
Realistically, I don’t think I’ll ever be a great improviser.
I’ve been studying it for seven years, and pursuing it seriously for three, and while I have my moments, it’s clear to me when I watch certain people of my “level” that the peace and trust that allows them to do it is not something that exists within myself.
So six months ago, after getting my heart broke and my home destroyed, I started doing stand-up. And I loved it.
Strangely enough, the things that make me bad as an improvisor (constant negative hyper-analysis of the moment, lazy reliance on manic energy and interesting diction) are exactly what make me compelling as a stand-up.
I’m not saying I’m great at it. I still bomb with a frequency that’s uncomfortable (ask me about what happened at a work event this week). And I’m too dark and too loud, and I get the feeling that if I watched myself, I’d think I was trying too hard.
But for the first time in a long time, I have something to share that I’m proud of, without any reservations. I never leave an improv stage feeling like I’ve done well. Even after good shows, I’m just hating myself for all the moments I think the audience saw through me, or the opportunities I missed. Stand-up doesn’t feel that way. It’s more personal, more me. I rise and fall on my own merits, and I draw my own connection with a crowd. And it’s wonderful.
This is not the world’s best stand-up set. Far from it. But I do not think I could have done any better on this night.
And that is a beautiful feeling.
So, enjoy, if you’d like to.