by Kathleen DeMarle, Contributor
Here I am at a karaoke party at the local dive when I see my crush walk in. I take a swig of my stale beer and ask the bartender for a scrap of paper. Scribbling fast, I jot down my phone number. Taking a deep breath I adjust the collar of my jacket, flick my hair and zone out the bad rendition of “Killer Queen” being sung in the background. I was ready to get rejected. I have a bit in my set in which I talk about how frequently I get rejected in dating. It happens to me a lot! A lot more than other people I know. Back in my college days, I had a no holds bar mentality when it came to dating. If I saw a guy I was interested in, and he hadn’t approached me yet, I would go up to him and attempt to use a cheesy pick-up line, or leave him my number on a slip of paper. These tactics hardly ever worked. Okay, they never worked. It got to the point that I just embraced it as part of who I was. Rejection just became my expected outcome. I think once I accepted that, I stopped worrying about it. I decided to just start having fun with it. I would take bets on using bad pick-up lines and I would be my friends designated wing-woman. Rejection is bound to happen to you at one point or another. There’s no good way to avoid it. So, why not put yourself out there?
Now, post college, I think getting rejected in my dating life has prepared me to deal with comedy show bookers. Having only done comedy for a year makes me an “up and comer” or a “newbie” in the stand-up scene here in Boston. That being said, many people find the idea of talking to bookers scary and nerve racking. I think this is the first hurdle to overcome going from open mic shows to booked gigs. But, if you want gigs, you have to talk to bookers. But, if you talk to bookers, you run the risk of getting rejected. That’s all part of the game.
For me, asking a booker for a spot is almost the same process as asking someone out on a date. Okay, that sounds creepy, now that I’ve typed that thought out, but it’s true. Either you awkwardly send a message, stalk a show you want to be on, or have an awkward conversation at an open mic. There is no pretty way to go about doing it. I always try to think positive. Sure, you’re asking for a spot, you might get rejected, but you might also get a spot. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know. Rejection isn’t the end. It might just mean that timing isn’t right, or your material isn’t the right vibe for that particular show. It doesn’t mean that you should stop doing comedy, that you’re not funny, or that a particular booker hates you. Don’t use rejection as a reason to create excuses, and don’t burn bridges with those who reject you. Rejection doesn’t mean it’s over. It just means you need to take a breath and push on.