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First Times

I remember everything about my first time. The bar where we met. The 8 beers it took to go through with it. The knots in my stomach and how my legs shook the whole time. Everyone has their story about their first time on stage and soon Paolo will have one too, on this blog, for the ten of us to read.

My first time was a misunderstanding.

I started going to open mic nights at the St. Louis Funny Bone because I had no friends and I liked watching other people fail. I always liked stand-up comedy. I didn’t lie awake at night reading How to Be a Comedian books but I did own a VHS tape of Bill Hicks and can name a handful of Evening at the Improv favorites. (Emo Phillips, Drake Sather, and some other guy that I thought was Jake Johansson until a few months ago)

I never intended on actually going up and doing it.

I went to three open mic nights before the bouncer (Jeff) approached me and asked why he had seen me three weeks in a row at the show by myself. Thinking there could be no other reasonable explanation he asked if I wanted to go up and try it myself. It’s as if he knew I would say yes.

That’s when it happened.

I said yes and found myself in a hallway surrounded by other hopefuls and a few of the most famous people I had ever met up until that point. After a few short announcements the group dispersed to notebooks and half/priced Bud Lights while I scribbled on a napkin and took full advantage of the employee pricing of domestic beer.

Opened with a low-road-line about how I didn’t have a dick so it was a whole new show. I made it through. People laughed. Although it was only three minutes about Husky Jeans and tattoos, if you had seen me in my car swerving the way home you would’ve guessed I just headlined Carnegie Hall.

For a minute inside my Hyundai I thought I had comedy figured out. Until the next Tuesday night when I learned how to fail … like everyone else. Miserably.

Weeks later, after more failed attempts and some little glimmers of hope, Jeff told me that he never thought I would’ve gone on stage that night and he was actually just hitting on me.

Welcome Paolo and good luck,


Comment from Chase Roper
Time: June 14, 2008, 11:43 am

I’ve been dying to get up on stage for my first official stand-up set but I keep finding reasons not to drive to Seattle from where I live in Washignton State (only about 45 minute drive.)

If Paolo or anyone else from Rooftop finds themselves gigging anywhere near Seattle though, I’ll be there!

Comment from Paolo
Time: June 17, 2008, 7:41 am

@ Chase,
Hey Chase, do you know of any local comedy clubs over in Seattle? The reason I’m asking is because I’m thinking of heading over to the Penny Arcade Expo in late August, would be rad to maybe flex some comedy muscle over there. Or if gods permit, there might even be a nerd-centric stand-up thing at PAX (I know there were murmurs about how rad it would be to have one last year).

I think all you need is that first step, and you’re in!