Stand-up Librarian Meredith Myers performs her first all literary/library comedy set for the Friends of the West Hollywood Library on August 20, 2011 as part of her mission to educate while entertaining people about the importance of libraries.
On Saturday, August 20th, I had my debut as the ‘Stand-Up Librarian’ at an event for the Friends of the West Hollywood Library. It was the first time I attempted to perform an all literary/library comedy set…at a podium…for sober people…at 10 in the morning. Obviously, as a comedian used to performing in comedy clubs at night, I was somewhat out of my element, but the only pressure I put on myself was to be more popular than the free bagels, and that was probably pushing it.
The Friends group is mostly composed of a slightly older audience than those usually found in comedy clubs, but I doubted any of them would heckle me on a book joke so I wasn’t the least concerned about losing my cool. I was the “headliner” of the event, which in the comedy world is a compliment since you are last on the program and generally the one everyone is waiting to see, but with this group I was facing possible walkouts should the bagels start to take affect too soon.
It was also comforting to be the only entertainment at the event, unless you count a certain audience member who enjoyed making bagels disappear into her handbag (but good for her, I forgot to eat and they had deviled eggs!) I was also pretty confident that LibraryPark architect Jim Favaro and I weren’t doing the same material, which is sometimes embarrassing for a performer. I can’t count him out though - his speech was good, I’m just hoping he doesn’t start telling jokes because he was pretty interesting to listen to and could steal my thunder at the library opening (hint hint, yes, I am available.)
When it came down to the performance, none of the above even crossed my mind. I loved every minute of it. Since starting my library degree in January of 2006, I have been on a new path in life where making people laugh is not always the top priority (probably not the smartest thing to say when being a comedian.) What I really mean by that statement is that so many comedians put people down for sleeping with them or tell stories about how drunk people act, however, since I do that in my normal life, I wanted to try something more positive on stage, where the audience can actually learn something they might be able to use later on.
In discussing the thing I love the most – libraries and reading – now I can educate the audience while also making examples of those people not using the library! And that’s a ton of people. Thanks to my new positive approach to life, I have found that I am finally performing for the right reasons because it shouldn’t be about the jokes or the applause, but instead about your intention. And my intention is to go after those idiots now…yes, ‘I Hate Reading’ FB page, I am starting with you.
For information on being a Friend of the West Hollywood Library, visit: http://www.wehofol.org/
*Special thanks to Linda Demmers and the Friends of the West Hollywood Library!