My Comedy Career Told Through The Lens of ‘Center Stage’

Ginny arrived at the Creek and the Cave on the first day of September. She didn’t know how she’d gotten there — she was straight off the bus from Indiana, and she knew it was SO competitive to get in the free bucket at the 6pm open mic. Ginny was nervous.

Her first night in New York, she met her new roommates, Maureen and Eva. Eva was cool and provided the racial diversity the comedy community needed. Maureen had been telling fart jokes since she was 3. Ginny was intimidated. She didn’t tell her first fart joke til she was 6. How would she ever catch up?

Ginny learned they’d be booked on a bringer show at the end of the year, and this show would determine her whole fate as a comic. Or, at least, determine if she could do the same show again in 6 months without bringing 10 people (bringing 5 instead). She wasn’t sure she was up to the task — everyone had more penis jokes than her. Ginny had never even seen a penis IRL.

But Ginny had nothing to worry about. Because even though she didn’t have the sense of humor, she had the heart. And Cooper Nielson, an experienced comic (one who’d been on NIGHT TRAIN), believed in her. But did he really believe in her, or did he just want to fuck? No, he believed in her. He didn’t want to fuck. Not at all. This got awkward.

Jonathan, the host at the Creek and the Cave, had told Ginny she wasn’t going to make it. But Ginny didn’t believe him. She was working very hard. She’d wake up at 6 to write some self-deprecating jokes about her body before her mic at 8. During her lunch break, she’d edit her jokes about her bad luck on Tinder. She did this every day, over and over. She was starting to feel more and more ready for the bringer. She was going to prove Jonathan wrong.

Meanwhile, Ginny was developing a crush on Charlie, a cute straight male comic. In general, the male comics had a hard time with women because being funny wasn’t a traditionally attractive trait in men. But Charlie had no problem. He was kind of a show off. Like one time, at Cooper’s mic, he tried to land a Trump joke. “You’re not ready for Trump jokes yet,” Cooper told him sternly, “why don’t you just stick to pointing out how ridiculous Subway ads are for now. Leave the Trump stuff for me.” Wow. That shut Charlie up.

The bringer show was getting closer and closer. Maureen, the one chosen to headline the bringer with a 7 minute set instead of a 6 minute set, was getting more and more depressed. She told her mom she didn’t like her closer and wanted to change it. Her mom wouldn’t hear it.

“What have we been working towards your whole life, Maureen? This closer — the 3-beat poop joke. Don’t fuck it up now,” said her mom.

“But Mom,” said Maureen, “if comedy were really what I wanted to do, I wouldn’t be throwing up everything I eat?”

“Maureen,” said her mom, “if you’re throwing up everything you eat, why don’t you talk about it on stage? That’s relatable content.”

Maureen shook her head and walked away.

The day of the show was here! Ginny was nervous. She was about to take the stage, when Jonathan stopped her.

“You only brought 8,” he said sternly, “you can’t go on.”

“But I’ve been practicing all year!” Ginny moaned.

Jonathan shrugged. Maureen looked at Ginny, unable to perform. And she felt something she hadn’t felt before — she felt jealous. If comedy were what Maureen wanted to do, would she really be jealous of the girl who only brought 8 to a bringer show?

Maureen skipped the show. No one cared, because it was honestly overbooked anyway. Jonathan let Ginny do the check spot, out of pity. No one listened to her.


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