Just Before Show Time
Prepare to Laugh at Yourself
As the former example shows,
things are going to happen that make you look foolish,
and people are going to laugh at your blunders at times.
Therefore, you have two choices. First, you can be
offended, and let that destroy your presentation, and
second, you can laugh with the audience, and make it
part of the show. I recommend the latter.
Many years ago, I was playing
music at a pub in rural Quebec. I was the lead guitar
player in the band.
Because I was always prone to
having bad things happen on the stage, I tried to be
prepared as much as I could. Part of the preparedness
was to have an extra guitar handy, because I broke
guitar strings quite regularly.
It’s always been important to me
that the first song an audience hears us perform be an
outstanding effort. You only make a first impression
once, and I was almost anal about song selection to
start off our set. I wanted the audience to hear us, and
to love us, in the first ten seconds.
We took to the stage in the pub,
which was absolutely packed. Our drummer counted in the
first song, and with the strike of the first note, there
was a loud “SPWAAAANG” as I broke a guitar string.
I took my guitar off and tried to
put it down in order to grab the second guitar.
Unfortunately, I was so upset about the opening song
being ruined that I slammed the first guitar down into
its stand too hard, and the extra force caused the stand
to topple backward, where it hit one of the posts that
held up our lights.
As the light post began to fall
over, I had to grab it and stop it from going down,
which made the start of our set even more ridiculous. I
could hear the audience howling with laughter as they
watched this very angry little man throwing guitars
around, then struggling to keep the stage lights from
crashing, all in the first ten seconds of the show.
I looked into the audience and
saw them laughing, then I looked back at the band
members, and saw them laughing too, so I couldn’t help
myself from changing my anger to laughter as well. Our
show never did recover well that night, not only because
of the awkward opening set, but because we were a crappy
band to begin with. Nevertheless, once I learned to
laugh at myself, life became far easier on the stage.
This applies to any type of performance, including
So, what’s the lesson? Things are
going to happen that will throw you off your game. Learn
to laugh at yourself; it’ll make your life far more