Comedy is one of the most direct and personal ways to express your inner thoughts. Juan tells me that every time he gets up on the stage he mentally prepares “to be humiliated in front of everyone.” However, that feeling vanishes when the first laugh from the audience echoes, giving him the strength to get up there once more and start again. The magic behind making people laugh turns out to be quite an empathetic experience for the audience, since everyday occurrences, which we usually don’t give a second thought to, are openly discussed.
The first time I saw my friend Juan, a member of the collective El Taller Comedy Club in Mérida, at an open mic I did not laugh (sorry, Juan!). However, thanks to years of bullheadedness, Juan has now opened for nationally renowned comedians and has even made me laugh a couple of times. “Everyone has their own twisted definition of what stand up is,” he explains, “to me, it means original auteur comedy with the purpose of making people laugh, being witty, and relaying a message.”
The local stand up scene is a small yet ambitious one. A few years back, Juan and his friends began to showcase their work at bars and venues where creativity is welcomed. With each show, more members came along. And each time, the audience is more open to listening to new ideas and jokes – good, bad, coming from experts, or amateurs.
Since I am oh-so-committed to making my articles as genuine as possible, I ventured into writing my own comedy routine (a terrible idea) and presented it at an open mic at Absentha Pub. Since I was the “new girl” (what is this? high school gym?), I had to go first. To sum it up, I got a couple of laughs, which I was deeply grateful for. If comedy has sparked your interest in any way, you’ll find these events vastly entertaining. Also, chances are you won’t know anyone, so get up there and leave the shyness at home.
You can get a taste of local comedy at places such as Borrego del Buñuel, Pato’s Brothers, Absentha and Teatro Fantasio. Dates vary so make sure to check El Taller Comedy Club’s social media. As I get ready to head out, I ask Juan for a final quote: “Doing comedy in front of strangers has been the most gratifying experience of my life. The people I know don’t laugh at my jokes.” Somebody take this guy’s mic away already!
Editorial by Greta Garrett
Photography by Matthias Wagner, Bigomil Mihaylov (from Unsplash, copyright free) and El Taller Comedy Club
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