By Grace Lucht |
When I was in kindergarden I was assigned to read a short story called “Chuck’s Chest.” It was a story about a man named Chuck who had a pirate-like chest of drawers. I came home with the story one day and showed it to my mom, giggling. She asked me what was so funny. I pointed to our neighbor’s house.
“It’s about Chuck mom,” I said.
My mom laughed. Chuck was our 70-year-old neighbor at the time who always walked around shirtless, chest puffed out.
According to my mother, this was the first time she noticed my sense of humor. She tells me that I have always had an observant mind and an ability to see things through a humor-seeking lens.
While making people laugh has always been one of my favorite things to do, it never occurred to me that it could be a potential career option. Joking around, writing funny stories, and creating characters were all things I would do on a daily basis, but it was only for fun.
Being in the world of comedy was something that primarily seemed unattainable due to my intense introvertedness. However, there was also this element that came from being a female. The comedians I always saw on TV were men. Yes, these men were incredibly talented comedians, but the fact that they were men created this preconceived notion of what successful comedians looked like. I have come to believe that I was conditioned to think that being a successful comedian always coincided with being a man.
I tossed around the idea of writing comedy throughout high school, which was also around the time when I became more aware of female comedians. I began researching and watching and reading and laughing. These women were incredibly funny and smart and exactly what I needed to find.
Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Jenny Slate, and Ali Wong were a few of the many that I began to watch and adore. I saw these hilarious and successful women talking about things that were being ignored by male comedians and pushing boundaries that needed to be pushed. While the idea of being professionally funny was still terrifying to me, I could see that it was possible.
That was the push that I needed.
While feeling incredibly encouraged by the hilarious women I looked up to, I was often torn down by people with whom I would share my hopes and dreams. When asked what I wanted to do as a career, I would respond, with confidence, that I wanted to write comedy. Saying this would either spark questions about whether or not I was “actually funny.” My personal favorite was when people would demand I make them laugh in that very moment.
Countless times, words like these made me question everything. It was quite possible that I wasn’t funny, except in the eyes of my own mother.
In a moment where I wanted to ditch my comedy dreams entirely, my best friend, Lily Rosenberg, told me about her recent endeavor into performing stand up.
“Grace I have never been so terrified and so in love with a moment in my entire life,” she told me.
She encouraged me to start to write more and let go of any fears that were holding me back. I started writing, making more observations about the interesting human subjects around me, and finding my voice a little more with each day. We would run ideas by each other, laughing often, but being honest and constructive when necessary.
Male dominated professional fields are unfortunately very common; but regardless of that being the case, women should not feel any less empowered to enter them. Making people laugh is a skill possessed by men and women alike and those who have that ability should take advantage of it.
Funny women have taught me to be brave and not to keep things to myself. I hope to soon have a moment that scares me just as much as it inspires me, all while making people laugh.