Late last week I got confirmation: I’m going to be taping a comedy special with Dry Bar Comedy!
It’s something I’ve been vying for the past few years and the taping will now take place on February 10th (with the video being released up to a year later).
If you’re not familiar with Dry Bar, they launched in 2016 with a mission to create a clean comedy club that emphasized funny for people of all ages and backgrounds. They’ve since garnered more than 2 billion views online, have millions of followers on Facebook and YouTube, and their specials are regularly seen by hundreds of thousands, if not, millions of people.
As a “clean comedian,” (all of my material is rated “Mom,” i.e. I always want my mom to be proud of the material I’m doing on stage), it’s a platform that aligns well with my style of comedy.
It’s also the perfect venue for sharing the comedic stories of dating, awkwardness, and the process of how Pretzel (my wife) and I met. It’s not material I often do in my speaking because it’s more personal than professional (though I will say data and spreadsheets were still involved).
So, naturally, I’m very excited to tape the special on February 10… but I’m also freaking out a bit.
I’m not too concerned about the content itself. I know it’s good. Hundreds of audiences have proven that over the past few years. Plus it was good enough to get the booker to say, “yes,” and there’s a fantastic joke in there about pi, so how could people not love it?
My worry comes from what DrewGPT told me is called the “panic of possibility,” defined as
The emotional state where a person feels anxious or nervous about an opportunity because of its potential for great success or significant impact, coupled with uncertainty about the outcome. It’s a mix of excitement for the possibility of something wonderful happening and fear that it might not turn out as hoped.
Note: DrewGPT is the custom ChatGPT model I built using my books, newsletters, and puns. When I asked DrewGPT if “panic of possibility” was a known term, it said it inadvertently made it up. I think it nailed it, but I’m not sure how to feel about AI Drew being more emotionally attuned than I am…
Perhaps you’ve felt this same way before, whether it was after a job interview, during a cycle of IVF, or right before a first date with someone you’ve been having a great text conversation with.
It’s a mix of excitement and fear, anticipation and dread, “yay” and “boo.”
For me, if this set goes well and (more importantly) does well online, it would introduce my humor (and message) to a brand new audience. It would give me additional credibility as not just a speaker but as a bonafide comedian and could springboard me towards even greater opportunities. Not to mention what a great anniversary gift this will make for Pretzel, “here’s a 25-minute comedy set about how amazing you are…”
Or it could be a video that hardly anyone ever sees.
I’ve had this panic of possibility before. In fact, it mirrors pretty closely how I felt prior to giving my second TEDx talk (the one with 14 million views). While that should give me some confidence (“you’ve done this before”), it also brings up some doubt (“what if it’s not as successful?”)
So how do you combat the panic of possibility? DrewGPT says: acknowledge your feelings, focus on the present, and seek support. (Wow, it is good.) What does that mean?
- Acknowledge your feelings. Recognize that these feelings are normal… I hope. If you’ve ever felt this, hit reply and let me know I’m not alone.
- Focus on the present. You can’t control the future but you can only control how you prepare for it. I know I need to focus on the things that I can control–namely that I give a fantastic performance–and let the rest sort itself out. That means getting as many reps of the material as I can (see the PS), sharing my script with smart people to find the small tweaks that make a big difference, and having as much fun as possible.
- Seek support. Realize that you don’t have to do this alone. That’s why I’m telling you, my 10,000+ closest friends :).
One thing that does give me quite a bit of comfort–that DrewGPT didn’t add, thank you very much–is knowing that, no matter what happens, I’ll have a story about the experience. If everything goes well, I’ll get to tell you all a story about the excitement and joy of an awesome performance. If it goes poorly, well hopefully it’ll at least be a funny trainwreck.
That’s one of the benefits of becoming a better storyteller. Everything that happens to you either becomes a great experience or a story to tell.
So here’s to turning “panic of possibility” into Panic at the Disco.