I had another bad experience at stand-up class last night. It wasn’t so much the class itself this time. It is clear that I am progressing. I actually got a few laughs, which didn’t happen last time, and Bob, our teacher, stated that I had improved considerably, so I was satisfied on that front.
What is happening that concerns me is basically a social thing: my classmates are the problem. Of course I am taking a leap here, but I believe they see me as a loser. When we are gathered before class, they disregard me and will not include me in their conversations. They act as though I am not there. They look through me and talk around me.
For instance, I was in the room with two of the fellows, who were conversing, and they started talking about getting together before class to try out ideas on each other. I said, “Hey, I’d be interested in doing that!” and they looked at me like I was from Mars! I don’t recall their response, but it was not a friendly one, and they abruptly changed the subject.
Another time I was in the hallway, and passed another student. I was expecting a friendly nod and hello, and instead I got a hostile, nasty look. I was shocked.
While I was performing, I looked up from my papers, and was shocked to see that two students were not even looking at me. They were not paying full attention to my performance (stand-up comedy involves gestures and facial expressions that must be seen, as well as spoken words).
After class, the students and teacher were gathered outside, and I stood there, hoping someone would approach me and speak to me, and after everyone ignored me, I decided to approach a couple of students. I did so, and after a very brief exchange, the two students hurried off into Harvard Square. It was clear that they had no interest or desire to speak with me.
I have no allies in the class, no friends. Perhaps there is one among them that is not like the others. I have yet to make acquaintance with this person. May he or she speak up soon.
Why is this happening? Is it my age? I believe I am the oldest in the class, 51, and just about all the students are in their 20’s. Is it that they know I have a mental illness? Is it because my first performance flopped so badly? Is it because I don’t own a television set, and haven’t seen TV since 2004, and haven’t a clue what they’re talking about when they talk about TV? A combination of the above?
I came home and cried. This time, I know the fault is not mine. I am NOT a loser. I know if I keep on working at stand-up comedy, I will succeed, the other students be damned. They will not stop me, and I will not drop the class and forfeit my education because of them. I will keep trying, and I will keep taking the class again until I get it right. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that next time, the milieu is friendlier.