I distinctly remember the moment in 2nd grade when I was asked to join a magician onstage at Sea Island. However, beyond that initial inquiry, I swear to goodness, I entirely blacked out. I barely remember walking, zombie-like, to the front of the room, shaking the magician’s hand, and participating in whatever trick he performed with me. I know that when I finally did return to my seat, my younger sister whispered, “You were SO red, Avery!” (Thank you, Haley. Never one to mince words. Ever.) I felt sweaty, and a bit dizzy. That had been exhilarating in a terrible way, and I did not want to ever repeat it. On another embarrassing Carmichael note, my father is equally averse to audience participation, and was once called to the center of the Big Apple Circus Ring to do tricks with ‘Grandma.’
Still, I always seem to put myself in positions where audience participation is not only encouraged, but demanded. From interactive murder-mysteries, to strange, one-woman shows, I can’t escape this form of entertainment! So what to do? Ideally, avoid all audience participation-oriented experiences. Unfortunately, as my boyfriend is probably the most eager audience-participant to have lived, this is not the case. (And by the way, I really mean this. He grins so widely when he gets picked— I can see every last tooth. In those moments, I swear Garrett feels like the chosen one, or Simba. Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba!)
Two weekends ago, Garrett and I, plus a few good friends, checked out the Greenwich Village Comedy Club. It was my second time going with Garrett, and I was actually pretty excited. While the first time had scared the heck out of me, because Garrett and I were only two weeks into seeing each other, and I still wanted to appear like I was a ‘total fun-time gal’, I felt a newfound strength in numbers. A five person buffer versus a two person buffer makes a significant difference. (Or so I thought. Dun dun dun!)
Garrett led the crew to Alphabet City, a fact that he is very proud of. So in honor of him, I’ll tell you, faithful reader (Mom?): Garett did it all by himself. And then, we rushed into the pitch black, with the exception of a spotlight on the stage, basement of the club. It had been raining really hard, and I was eager to get their on time so that we could have our pick of the tables. Well, guess what? Lucky me! We were left with front. And. Center. Garrett’s leg was on the stage. If you can’t fathom how distressing this was to me, think about your worst nightmare ever, make it real, and multiply it. Our table was addressed by every comedian in each set! I was addressed solo, three times! I have never sweat so much, or
blushed so red before.
But you know what? I still had a great time, and I’m proud of myself for attempting to play it cool and go along with it all. I’m so bad with humorous banter, particularly under pressure, and my voice rises three octaves, but so what? We’re all there to have a good laugh, to enjoy ourselves. Hopefully next time, with this newly developed sense of confidence, I’ll be able to go into a Comedy Club without nerves. (After all, I’m not the one performing!) Really looking forward to checking out the Comedy Cellar and Upright Citizens Brigade. Any other recommendations from comedy aficionados?