Part 3 (continued): My Year in Comedy from Standing Up to Lying the fetal position

When we left Pam talking to Pam, she was in the dark at the Idiot Box for her first open mic...
surrounded by 20-something males who were scribbling on scraps of paper.

When you go to an open mic, you sign a list as soon as you walk in.  This determines the order the "comedians" perform.  I say comedians in quotes, because there is no filtering process.  If you show up, you will not be turned away based on your ability...and thank God for that.

Each person gets about 5 minutes on stage.  A guy in the back shines a light briefly at the 4 minute mark, so the person knows to wrap it up quickly.

These are simple rules, right?  You understand them?  Good.  You are 100% ahead of where I was that night.

Pam to Pam:

This second beer is even better than the first.
I can't remember when I had time to finish two beers without the kids bothering me.
What number guy are we on?  4?  What number was I again... 27?
Whoa.  I could be drunk by then.
Drunk on one and a half beers.  I need some food.
They only sell Skittles.
That won't help.

Hey, that guy brought his scrap of paper with him on stage.
Ahhhh, I get it.  Notes.  His jokes.  Everyone was studying their jokes beforehand.
Well, I guess they weren't as prepared as I am.
I have a 4-page entry from my mommy-blog to read aloud.
It's going to KILL.
(That may have been the beer talking).

So, we wait.  We drink.  We listen. like to talk about their bodies more than I thought.
Like a lot more.
Like that's almost ALL they're talking about.
Plus porn.
And women...they think THAT about us?
Is this what men think?
Does my husband think this?
Will my son think this someday?
Oh crap.  I just remembered I have a daughter.
Please God let her be gay.  Give her a gentle journal-sketching aforementioned lesbian.

[Guy after guy goes up on stage...all similar discussion topics]
What the heck?
This is terrifying.
I'm sure no males in High Point think like this.  Maybe only in the "urban setting."  This big city. 
Maybe only in this one club.  Please God let this group of men be an anomaly. 
Let me have stumbled into some sort of social experiment.

I have been hanging out in ladies' bible study too darn much.
I know nothing about the real world.
I like knowing nothing.
I want to un-know this.

Uh-oh.  It's my turn. 
I don't think they're going to like my blog entry as much as I thought.
But I don't have anything else to say...let me find it in my giant mom tote. is completely wrapped around my adhesive full-sized lint brush!
These pages are not coming off ever.
I got NO scraps and NO notes.
I'm on my own.

[I climb onto the stage.
The light is BLINDING.  I had no idea.
I'm just squinting and babbling...
at some point I walk into the back of the crowd with the mic,
which seems gutsy even to me,
but once I'm there, I don't really have any jokes to tell.
Reading the blog entry doesn't fit.
I explain in some small way that they have shocked and terrified me,
made me consider sending my daughter to be raised by the nuns.
At some point a light flashes repeatedly in my face...
I wonder why they're taking my picture--hey, maybe I'm doing better than I thought!--
nope, it was the flashlight.
I forgot all of the guidelines about the time limit,
the light cues...
We're all on this ridiculous ride together now,
and I'm taking everyone down with me.
At some point, they have to almost snatch the mic from my hands.
For someone who has no jokes or notes,
I sure am using the mic a long time.
F-word or guy-with-artsy-afro wrestle it from my white-knuckled-death grip on it.
I can't remember which.

Eventually I am back in my seat.
I'm sweaty.  I can't remember anything I said.
But I learned the most important lesson a person can ever learn about an open mic:
no matter how horrid or painful,
for the speaker OR the audience,
blessedly, it can only last 5 minutes.

(although that night, and every night since, I've managed to get almost a full extra minute out of the light guy...the key is to never make eye contact with him).