The voice in his head

This is the part where “that voice” is banging around my mind.

You might know which one I’m talking about. The one that goes on about how you shouldn’t take a chance at something you really want. Usually something related to your biggest dreams.

This is that voice which Khaya Dlanga (an awesome columnist) describes as “that self-destructive monster that eats away at your dreams, one excuse at a time”.

Goodness knows I’ve made excuses in the last while. “No Tyson, you’re too rusty to do that gig,” says “the voice”. “It’s been a while since you were on stage”. You know what his favourite line is? “There’s always time when you’ve finished your degree.”

Stuff that! I’m trying really hard to push myself and get into a rhythm of performing. My problem is that I’ve become too dependant on the killer performances. I can’t describe how scared I am of “dying” – of those awful nights where I go down as “that guy who thought he was funny”.

Trust me, I’ve had those. Let me take you back to 2009 again, just when I had found some sort of a rhythm.

It was the week after a pretty decent performance at the Space.com festival at the Joburg Theatre. I was thrown into the line-up for a new comedy spot which had opened at Wish in Melville.

“How bad could it be?” That’s what I asked myself. Confidence was sky-high and I was sure I’d handle it after the decent showing at my previous stint on stage.

Well, let’s just say my confidence made a pretty swift landing at Wish that November night.

There I was, replicating my previous performance to the tee, with absolutely no effect. All I could see were half smiles and muffled chuckles. The awkwardness was beyond repair.

Grant Wilson, the MC on the night started signalling from the back of the crowd that I should start wrapping up. Ah, bless him. He was just trying to get me to bring it to a close. Grant was basically the first on the scene of the “crash-landing” and wanted to “clear up the debris” – there was quite a lot of it.

I figured I’d try one more return punch with one of my jokes that killed (rocked) the week before. More awkwardness blanketed the performance.

I can be destructively self-critical.

That was the night “the voice” was at its loudest. “What the heck were you doing?” it asked. “You know you’re not ready. Take some time out.”

And I did. I did not grace the stage until late in 2010, when Rhodes University’s Muslim Student Association asked me to come through and perform at their year-end function. Talk about redemption.

“Shut the heck up!” was my response to “the voice” that night. It felt awesome to get back ito the swing of things – with fresh material as well.

Fast forward to now.

Rhodes Organisation for Animal Rights (ROAR) is having a comedy evening (10th of May) as part of its Animal Rights Week festivities. Siv Ngesi is the headline act and ROAR has asked for aspiring comics to let them know if they’re keen to open the show.

“It’s too soon. You know this.” That’s pretty much what “the voice” has been rambling about. I’m ignoring it.

Right now, I’m waiting for a response from ROAR from the e-mail I sent. I have no idea what “the voice” will say if I eventually get the nod.

Here’s to hoping it goes well.

Stay tuned.

-Tyson

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