SRS I'm not sure if this is the right forum, but need help with stage fright.

Trickypants

Well-Known Member
Feb 14, 2003
83,757
I have recently gotten back into wanting to do stand up after not performing for several years. I did a best man speech at my friend's wedding a few months ago that was basically performing jokes directed at him and it was terrible (my anxiety, the jokes were funny :o). I get such bad physical symptoms from the anxiety that I even wrote a small joke about it: As soon as I know I'm on stage next my legs start shaking, my palms start sweating and I feel this intense urge to go to the bathroom....it is like instant dysentery. :hs:

Back when I performed somewhat regularly (twice a week for a month or so) I had noticed that these symptoms lessened, but never went away. I understand (from reading) that most performers always have nerves before going on stage, but need to figure out how these physical manifestations can be lessened.

In the past I have tried doing a set sober, drunk and after just a beer or two. Drinking calms the nerves a bit, but it throws off your timing/material and thus doesn't help. I've thought of xanax or even a beta-blockers as I learned they are helpful in reducing the physical symptoms of stage fright.

Really though, I don't want to have a crutch to be able to perform and am looking for ways that might at least minimize some of the pressure and nerves that I feel before my first time next Wednesday.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. :hs:
 

Banksy!

New Member
May 3, 2011
184
beta blockers will definitely help. But if you don't want a crutch, then either take a toastmasters class or just keep performing where it becomes 2nd nature.
 
TS
TS
Trickypants

Trickypants

Well-Known Member
Feb 14, 2003
83,757
beta blockers will definitely help. But if you don't want a crutch, then either take a toastmasters class or just keep performing where it becomes 2nd nature.

I'd kind of like to try a beta blocker to see if it really helps, but don't want to go to the doc and figure out how to get a prescription just to try once. Plus the whole "crutch" thing, obviously.
 
TS
TS
Trickypants

Trickypants

Well-Known Member
Feb 14, 2003
83,757
I'm actually looking at some breathing exercises, hopefully they help and it is as simple as that. :x:
 

Satchel

breathing is incredibly helpful.

also don't stand in the wings starring at the stage until you go on. wait somewhere you can relax and breathe.

When you get on stage don't feel like you have to start immediately you can take 20 seconds to get a deep breath...sip of water...etc....

if your legs twitch try some exercises. Jumping, running in place.... get your endorphins going, turn the fear into excitement. if you stutter do vocal exercises...

"Pinter Mammet ...Pinter Mammet....Pinter Mammet..." "slit sheets...slit sheets...slit sheets...."as fast as you can while still speaking clearly. focusing on tongue twisters in your mind will keep it from running through worst case scenarios.

how would beta blockers help? I took some for SVT when I was preggers and they didn't seem to do anything.
 

Sooka

New Member
Feb 25, 2004
9,848
East Coast
I'd kind of like to try a beta blocker to see if it really helps, but don't want to go to the doc and figure out how to get a prescription just to try once. Plus the whole "crutch" thing, obviously.

I wouldn't go against you "trying" a beta blocker, but be warned that many benzo's are very addictive and have horrible withdrawals which include seizures if used daily for a prolonged period of time. I took a little bit of Xanax sometimes during my public speaking class, where we had to type and present very long papers for 10 to 15+ minutes, and I got an A in the class. But moderation is key, if I would take too much Xanax, any more than 1mg, and I would greatly lose my short-term memory for the duration and would forget most of the things I had to say, which is definitely not good. I know people who have been on benzo's and beta-blockers like Xanax for years and the drugs have definitely had a very negative effect on their brain. One of my friends who was prescribed Xanax for over three years ended up killing himself after he tried to get off of it on his own, so it can definitely be a scary thing. Like I previously stated, I'm not advocating against using a beta-blocker, but do so at your own risk and be very careful and very moderate.
 
TS
TS
Trickypants

Trickypants

Well-Known Member
Feb 14, 2003
83,757
breathing is incredibly helpful.

also don't stand in the wings starring at the stage until you go on. wait somewhere you can relax and breathe.

When you get on stage don't feel like you have to start immediately you can take 20 seconds to get a deep breath...sip of water...etc....

if your legs twitch try some exercises. Jumping, running in place.... get your endorphins going, turn the fear into excitement. if you stutter do vocal exercises...

"Pinter Mammet ...Pinter Mammet....Pinter Mammet..." "slit sheets...slit sheets...slit sheets...."as fast as you can while still speaking clearly. focusing on tongue twisters in your mind will keep it from running through worst case scenarios.

how would beta blockers help? I took some for SVT when I was preggers and they didn't seem to do anything.

Do you have any specific breathing exercises to suggest? :x:

Thanks, going to try staying outside until it gets closer to my turn so basically don't have to hear things and can also go of to the side to do some exercises if I feel the need. I was also planning to do that pause when I get up there for a second or two as a "calm your heart, take a breath" before starting. :coold:

To your question about beta blockers....apparently they reduce the reception of some of the hormones which stimulate anxiety.

From a response on another forum:

"When I know that I'm going to speak in front of a group, I take an extra 50mg and it DOES make a big difference.

Leading up to the event, I still feel like I'm gonna melt-down but the physical symptoms never materialize. No pounding heart or shaky voice. Within 5 minutes or so of starting I'm generally very calm and relaxed (although it was always really only the first few minutes that got me bad.) "

So it seems like they minimize the physical symptoms, which would help, but still allow you to feel the stress to some degree, which also helps as I think you need to be a little nervous to do good performances, just not all the physical aspects.

I am not going to try anything other than breathing and other visual processes this time around and see how it goes. If I am still unable to get them under control after another couple of sets then I'll probably ask my doctor his opinion on trying one in that situation. :dunno:
 
TS
TS
Trickypants

Trickypants

Well-Known Member
Feb 14, 2003
83,757
I wouldn't go against you "trying" a beta blocker, but be warned that many benzo's are very addictive and have horrible withdrawals which include seizures if used daily for a prolonged period of time. I took a little bit of Xanax sometimes during my public speaking class, where we had to type and present very long papers for 10 to 15+ minutes, and I got an A in the class. But moderation is key, if I would take too much Xanax, any more than 1mg, and I would greatly lose my short-term memory for the duration and would forget most of the things I had to say, which is definitely not good. I know people who have been on benzo's and beta-blockers like Xanax for years and the drugs have definitely had a very negative effect on their brain. One of my friends who was prescribed Xanax for over three years ended up killing himself after he tried to get off of it on his own, so it can definitely be a scary thing. Like I previously stated, I'm not advocating against using a beta-blocker, but do so at your own risk and be very careful and very moderate.

Yeah, no way in hell would I be using beta blockers on the regular, but if it continues after I try everything else I can think of I am open to giving it a shot one time just to see the difference in my anxiety and also how/if it aided my performance. I'm really hoping it is just a matter of doing it as much as possible, as well as putting myself into situations that can be similar in nature (giving speeches, talking to groups or whatever) so that the anxiety either goes away or becomes manageable. Something like "Oh yeah, for the first 10-30 seconds I'm scared, but then I kind of get rolling and it goes away.
 

Satchel

Do you have any specific breathing exercises to suggest? :x:
I had some I used to do but it would be difficult to explain them in detail. basically you want to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth slowly. Try to induce a yawn first then breathe in really slowly and out through your mouth pushing the breath through your teeth (count the seconds and try to increase your time).

If you can't yawn at will because you're nervous imagine seeing a person yawning....like a big belly yawn. That should help induce one.

yawning right before you go on will help as well.
 
TS
TS
Trickypants

Trickypants

Well-Known Member
Feb 14, 2003
83,757
I had some I used to do but it would be difficult to explain them in detail. basically you want to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth slowly. Try to induce a yawn first then breathe in really slowly and out through your mouth pushing the breath through your teeth (count the seconds and try to increase your time).

If you can't yawn at will because you're nervous imagine seeing a person yawning....like a big belly yawn. That should help induce one.

yawning right before you go on will help as well.

Just reading about this made me yawn (not in a bored way :o ). Thanks! :coold:
 
TS
TS
Trickypants

Trickypants

Well-Known Member
Feb 14, 2003
83,757
I'm also trying to think of situations that might create the same anxiety and then intentionally put myself into them to try and become accustomed to aspects of it...but not coming up with any off the top of my head. :hs:
 

FunkyMunniez

Active Member
Mar 15, 2008
17,876
Pick three people in the crowd, one left, center, and right. And talk to them. Ignore everyone else until its time for questions. When someone asks a question, talk to them. Ignore everyone else.

It's a lot easier than you think to tunnel vision on one person on stage. Hell, if your in an auditorium setting its even easier because you cant see 90% of the people because of the lighting.

For something like performances, idk...just get out there and do it. Take a class...read a book on it...something. I'd strongly advise against taking a drug like a beta blocker though to help you get over it. Definitely not worth it for numerous reasons from addiction to complications with other things if you actually do get sick.
 

B00M

I speak of peace while covert enmity
Feb 19, 2007
13,077
In a shoe
I'm also trying to think of situations that might create the same anxiety and then intentionally put myself into them to try and become accustomed to aspects of it...but not coming up with any off the top of my head. :hs:

Instead of making yourself intentionally anxious imagine yourself in front of a crowd and being completely relaxed. Practice in front of a mirror. see the crowd in your head imagine yourself feeling at ease in front of them. Imagine them laughing and responding positively.
 

IslanderOffRoad

Do you even lift kit?
Dec 23, 2003
82,163
Houston, Tx
:rofl:

Any particular reason that you can identify why it helped?

I think it a big part of it was it mentally took me from focusing on being nervous to focusing on my head hurting, and getting it over with so I could go eat something and take a nap :rofl:

But my hung over presentations resulted in a 3rd place case competition win, and selection by my school to go present in front of some Microsoft execs.

Your results may vary. A classmate who was hung over with me on one presentation passed out.
 

Dodger99

New Member
Jul 12, 2011
6
FLO RIDA
Sarah Silverman and Jay Mohr have publicly said that their anxiety hindered their careers early on. I think you should see a professional, find the real root of the problem. If it's incurable , you'll have to change your medium and make a comedy blog or something, but I am confident that with the right understanding of what is happening, you can overcome this. Usually, a little success can help the most.
 
TS
TS
Trickypants

Trickypants

Well-Known Member
Feb 14, 2003
83,757
Sarah Silverman and Jay Mohr have publicly said that their anxiety hindered their careers early on. I think you should see a professional, find the real root of the problem. If it's incurable , you'll have to change your medium and make a comedy blog or something, but I am confident that with the right understanding of what is happening, you can overcome this. Usually, a little success can help the most.

I didn't know those two had discussed problems with anxiety. :coold:

I have always heard that even the best actors/comedians have nerves before going on, but that they've always felt that was what made them be their best. I just want to get it down to where I'm not feeling like "holy crap, my heart might actually explode right now." :o
 
TS
TS
Trickypants

Trickypants

Well-Known Member
Feb 14, 2003
83,757
Go for it, the best way is to understand that you need to act asif you are the boss over the entire audience , don't yield no matter what, and perform your act to your utmost best.

I have been trying to get into an attitude like that, but also with the added commentary of they WANT me to succeed (well, maybe not the other comics :o) because they came there to laugh.
 
TS
TS
Trickypants

Trickypants

Well-Known Member
Feb 14, 2003
83,757
One thing I've been doing differently than I ever had in the past is editing all of my material like I would edit an essay or a story. I write it all up word for word and then either savagely cut out filler or find shorter ways to get to the same point. I feel it is definitely tightening things up, which should make it much easier to perform....as long as I remember which version to do. :o
 
TS
TS
Trickypants

Trickypants

Well-Known Member
Feb 14, 2003
83,757
So the show is tonight (tomorrow, it is 1:00 AM here) and I am surprisingly calm. I need to spend more time practicing my material when I get up and maybe the nerves will come in then, but at the moment I'm pretty happy with where I am mentally. :cool:
 

deusexaethera

OT Supporter
Jan 27, 2005
18,592
It sounds like you're taking it too seriously. You don't have to be perfect. So what if you fuck up on stage? All you have to do is make fun of your own fuckup and people will continue laughing.
 

Banksy!

New Member
May 3, 2011
184
Have you tried marijuana?

this could work. My wife and I went to see a comedian one night while in Denver and the comic admitted to being "high as fuck" and his opening material was based off how it helps him not "fuck up". It was quite funny.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

About Us

  • Please do not post anything that violates any Local, State, Federal or International Laws. Your privacy is protected. You have the right to be forgotten. Site funded by advertising, link monetization and member support.
OT v15.8.1 Copyright © 2000-2022 Offtopic.com
Served by fu.offtopic.com

Online statistics

Members online
368
Guests online
56
Total visitors
424

Forum statistics

Threads
369,565
Messages
16,895,749
Members
86,875
Latest member
Theodor