By Martin Fürst
What actually is”letting someone down”. I think I let my schoolmates down, by not committing to the Group SCAB. But they sent it anyway. It’s more about letting yourself down. Not taking your responsibility seriously enough, even though it’s only the Group SCAB.This SCAB is meant to be a punishment, but it’s also a chance to think of something in a different perspective.
The reason I have to write these 1500 words, is I missed the Group SCAB yesterday and I let my schoolmates down. I hope you stay with me. It’s not easy but it’s worth it. You probably also have something to say about this.
It might be lack of commitment or simply a lack of energy.
In fact, I tried to add something to it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t add something, because I wasn’t able to edit the document. I’m not blaming anyone for it. I just have to try harder. And I didn’t.
In all these weeks, we’ve accomplished many tasks, regardless how big or small. I always analyse how important; they are, compared to each other. There might be differences, but what I realised is, you have to do them all. They are all designed to your best. You might not harm the group, but you definitely hurt yourself. It all comes back someday.
I won’t confess everything I missed so far. It’s not for the public interest; it should interest me. But I still use this chance to tell you a true story, which made me think differently.
Last Sunday was the final show from the Comedy School course.
It took me six weeks of preparation to finally perform a 5 min Stand-Up comedy show. I signed up for the course because I was never able to tell jokes, or even remember them. I’m also not very good at presenting. The thought of being on stage still freaks me out. After a few weeks on the course, I started feeling confident, and I enjoyed it. People told me I’m funny, which at first I didn’t believe. But somehow it worked and hopefully still does.
On Sunday, we arrived almost two hours before the show. Believe it or not, I looked forward to it. I felt confident about it. But it all came differently.
We played a little table tennis session; it helped to think about something different. I smoked a few cigarettes. People finished their lunches. And then we had the last go-through. We, at total 16 amateur comedians, went in the actual room, we would perform in. And shit got serious.
We got used to the environment. How the event will be structured and where to sit and so on, was explained. At first, we all had a go to see how the lights will influence you on stage. They are incredibly bright, and you can’t see anyone in the audience. You literally speak into the dark. Going up and say hello wasn’t the problem. Next, we had to perform for 5 minutes in front of our schoolmates. Nick went on, did his show, sat down. Everybody clapped. Then the next one: ME.
I went up started, and after the first 15 sec, I was frozen. There was nothing in my head. Everything I learned and trained for six weeks was gone. I looked at my colleagues and couldn’t see them everything beyond one meter was laid in darkness. I looked at the stage floor.
Still, the lines didn’t come up. Instead of trying harder or make a random joke, I got angry. In my frustration, my brain tried to remove itself from its body. At least it felt so. Like saying to me this is your fault, you are now on your own here.
Finally, there was only one option, start again. I tried, first joke, the second joke. Nothing. I got stuck.
I couldn’t believe myself. It worked so well before. I wanted to do it, but there was a wall I couldn’t overcome.
After that Mr Cee, our comedy mentor gave me an exercise to do.
I went outside to sit in a quiet corner and went through my material over and over again. Made notes, smoked a cigarette and went to the toilet. In there was a huge mirror, I tried to smile and force myself into a happy mode. Started my performance, and failed again.
After trying for half an hour, I started to think about what’s going to happen if I don’t do it. Answering this question wasn’t easy. I knew I would hate myself because I got so far. But on the other side, I already achieved more than I thought. People told me I’m funny.
I got way more confident speaking in front of an audience, even if it’s only in the school environment.
I had to think, so I ordered I pint, sat there and visualised the whole evening. What would happen if; I go up and fail, I don’t go up and have to tell everybody, or I just run away. I chose the second one. Joined the others, told Mr Cee I’m not able to do it. Set down in the audience and watched my mates training for their performance.
I gave up. I let myself down and told myself it’s not the worst because I already achieved something. I’m a terrible liar, especially to myself, so my inner rollercoaster was still going. At 14:45 everybody had a chance to go through their performance.
Mr Cee asked me once again if I want to try. My brain tried to keep calm, and I replied: No, thanks, it’s fine.
There it was the decision, which settled everything. For me, the evening was already over. I had nothing more to do than watch my mates delivering their amazing shows.
I’m not sure when exactly, but between my blackout on stage and the beginning of the real show, I met Pietro outdoors and smoked with him a cigarette. Of course, he asked me if I am nervous. I told him it’s not helpful in this situation. I didn’t lie, but I also couldn’t tell him what happened. Again I took the easy way out.
The first half of the show went on. I took place right in the middle, watched my mates up on stage delivering one joke after the other. The audience laughed, they enjoyed it, they drank, me too. During the break, I spoke with some people outdoors and Pietro joined, whom I couldn’t tell I was chickening out. People told me they understand it, and it’s okay to do so. Except for the Italian guy of course. He made the point clear he didn’t expect that from me, and that I miss a tremendous opportunity. I knew he was right, but it was too late.
The second half started. I took the same place as before. Sat down and enjoyed the evening, but not the same time as in the first half.
I realised how big my mistake was. I chose the easy way. I let myself down. And even made excuses for myself. But don’t get me wrong, I was fine. I excepted it.
Martin Furst. What? That’s me.
The host of the evening announced my name. In those two or three seconds, I had the chance to correct everything, and I did so. Usually, you are supposed to come from the backstage area on to the stage. But I was right in the middle of the audience. Still with my jacket on.
The following seconds, literally seconds will remain forever in my memory. I stood up. Put my jacket on my chair. Made my way through all the chairs. Took a look at the stage. Saw my mates signal to the host I’m not coming. Went even faster. I had to be on stage before him. Then people freaked out. Many already knew I dropped out. So they must be stunned. Clapping and shouting filled the room. Adrenaline pumped through my veins.
The light made me shine. Not like when I was training, standing alone, speaking into the darkness. I was finally on stage. People wanted to hear what I had to say.
The performance itself was going great, but I can not really remember details. I only knew it’s going alright.
So how again is this related to “letting classmates down”?
Ah, yeah if I get a second chance to deliver the things I missed, because of choosing the easy way. I would do the same.
And for the future. I try my best not to need a second chance. Because there isn’t always a Mr Cee around.
I know what you did there.