About a month ago the call went out that SiriusXM was looking for comedians to compete in this year’s Top Comic Competition. Hundreds of hopeful comics send in their tapes.
Last year I sent in mine and didn’t hear a thing. But this year I heard back, they wanted me to audition! While winning the whole thing, walking away with a truck load of cash and a guaranteed gala performance at Just For Laughs in 2016 is a huge carrot for any comedian, for me it was really cool to just be included in the auditions. I haven’t been in the stand up game for long, so it’s always really amazing for me when folks give me a chance. We were told that we would be doing five minute sets along with 11 other folks at a comedy club in Vancouver and from there only three would go on to the finals. I’m more of a story teller comedian so five minutes isn’t very much.
I picked what I was going to do and practiced it until I got a relaxed and easy delivery down to about four-and-a-half minutes. Stress can kill a performance, so you try to be prepared. The night came. I flew to Vancouver in the afternoon, did a bit of shopping, saw a movie and tried to not think about the contest. At 7pm I went and drew a number for when I would go on stage. Number 10. I liked it. After nervously eating a bit of dinner, I made my way back to the club. The back stage, filled with nervous comedians, was uncomfortably hot with no air conditioning. The host was funny and friendly and started bringing up comedians. The first comedian was funny. Stupidly funny. Confident, easy, and hilarious. Now, you might think that would make you nervous, but it kinda pulls you out of it for a moment. When that guy started getting huge laughs, my brain just said: “Well if that guy doesn’t win, then this whole thing is rigged!” I knew that he would make it into the final three the moment he walked off stage (and he did!) Comedian after comedian went up to try and impress the crowd.
Behind the audience was the panel of judges. Two producers from SiriusXM and Zoe, the head talent scout from Just For Laughs. I don’t know if she knows how intimidating the power she wields is, but she is so kind and honest, and very generous with her time and puts you at ease so quickly you forget about it almost instantly. When you’re on stage you don’t think about any of this though. You think: “Don’t flub the setup, Don’t stumble over any words, and DON’T BOMB!” I’ve had shows where I bombed, but I did pretty well at this audition. The audience liked me and so did the judges. At the end of the night – I didn’t win.
The moment that they call the last name and it’s not yours: I had this moment where I filled with anger, sadness, frustration and then it all went away in the blink of an eye. The reality is, I had fun and I enjoyed myself. In the world of stand up I am a relative nobody, so I was happy to be considered at all for the show. I love making people laugh, and for some strange turn of fate, I have been able to make it my full time profession for the last three years.
I didn’t win this year – but there is always next year