The second time Sara took the open mic, she died a painful, painful death. She was twenty-seven years old and had always been told by her friends that she was hilarious and should try stand-up, but it had only been the night after Maree’s hen’s night, when two pots had been all it took to get her legless again, that she took the plunge. Standing in the spotlight now, sweating, frozen, and trying desperately for a witty response to “Get your tits out!” she wondered if she had been even slightly successful last time.
She looked at her watch – she wasn’t even halfway through her ten minute spot. She had got a laugh when she tripped on the mic cable as she entered the stage. Perhaps it hadn’t been the best response to tell the audience to fuck off? She had a flash of brilliance now – she’d apologise, and they’d all like her!
“Um, look, I think we got off to a bad start….”
“A bad start? And middle and end!” shouted some bloke up the back.
“…er, well, perhaps middle, but I hope I’ll get better!”
“I just wanted to say I’m sorry I told you to fuck off. Not individually, but, you know, as a group.”
“I, um, I’m new to this, and, um, I… I just… I just thought…”
“You just suck, that’s what.”
Sara squinted and tried to look past the light.
“Perhaps if I just, um, keep going, but if you could all forget all this stuff?”
More and more people in the audience started shouting get off, and then booing, and then more personal insults. Sara stood, frozen. Thank god the MC came on to save her.
“Ok, ok folks, how about a big hand for this brave young lass?”
A few people in the crowd clapped weakly. Sara nodded at him and walked off. She could hear his voice continue as she made her way to the tiny backstage room where four other comics lounged.
“I won’t tell you her name and hopefully everyone can forget this ever happened! Ah, we all have tough nights… let’s welcome someone on stage who should be able to turn your night around!”
One of the comics gave her a grin as he passed to go onstage. “Thanks for warming them up for me!”
He squeezed her shoulder and she tried to smile.
“Oh, that was fucked.”
“Hey, don’t worry about it. My third gig I had someone come onstage and punch me!” She couldn’t believe that this was the case with such a veteran comic. “How many spots you done?”
“This is my second.”
“Ah, well, you’ve got a punch in the face to look forward to!” He handed her a beer and pushed a stool her way. “Seriously, you’ve just got to keep going. You’ll have bad nights, and good nights, but if you’re any good, you’ll have more good nights than bad.”
Sara took a swig from the bottle and sighed. Another gig? You’ve got to be kidding.