The Wise Groundhog

Today I had a Groundhog Day experience.

No, I didn’t wake up to the same day I had yesterday. It was more like the scene where Bill Murray, realizing he was continually waking up to the same day and knowing absolutely everything that was going to happen, speculated that God might be nothing more impressive than someone who’d been around long enough to see it all happen. Not superhuman as much as well worn.

I’ll be visiting Berlin in May. Every time I go back I like to hook up with the Comedy Sports Crew (of which I was a founding member) and rack up some stage time.

Not this time.

Why?

Because I shit myself before getting on stage. Every. Single. Time.

Before my first show I evacuated from every orifice out of sheer, existential fright. Pee, poo and spew haven’t got a long history as markers of good things. Or am I mistaken?

The general wisdom is that the longer you do something difficult the easier it gets. How I wish this was true in this case. Back in my Berlin days we were putting on a show a week for two years … and pretty much every time I stepped out there I felt myself walking to my death.

“You have three minutes to improvise a scene which includes a cucumber, Bali and Madonna with Turet’s Syndrome – all in Shakespearean style. GO!”

Words like these still give me chills.

I had my moments of glory – don’t get me wrong. We still talk about a scene called Sexy Penguin with a kind of awe. I rocked. As I did (even if I do say so without a trace of humility) on many others.

But at what price?

And there lies the rub.

Bringing me back to my Groundhog Day experience.

The ‘why’ behind never getting back on stage is simple. The never receding fear of appearing on stage is just too miserable to hack my way through any more.

But is it wisdom, simply knowing enough about yourself to know when you’re beat, or just plain old quitting?

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2 Responses to “The Wise Groundhog”

  1. When I was an excruciatingly-shy teen, getting up on stage to sing was a paralysingly scary experience. But the kudos I received for the singing balanced against the fear and, eventually, won out so resoundingly that I can stand up just about anywhere to sing, or even speak, now with hardly a qualm (let alone a retch). If you’ve been getting up on stage for many years without the pukes lessening at all, maybe you do need a complete break. Shun the stage for a year or two. Then, if you find that you’re actually jonesing for the stage experience despite the knowledge that you’ll void your insides via every available orifice, you’ll have your answer.

    • I don’t even know where I keep my needles any more … this is how well under control I have my jones(es?).
      Thanks for the comment.

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