Whether you’ve been doing stand-up for years, or this is your first solo performance, pre-show jitters are totally normal.
Having anxiety before getting up on stage doesn’t change how skilled you are or how much the audience will love you, but getting them under control will certainly help you feel better before you have to start.
So how can you ease your pre-gig jitters before they get the best of you?
Make sure you have everything to hand, your setlist created, and a few jokes up your sleeve well in advance. Then, all you’ll have is the stage fright left to handle. Memorize your setlist or jokes so that you don’t need to take your notes with you, and focus more on engaging with the audience. It’ll set a good impression for the rest of your set, so you can feel a little more confident.
If you find that breathing techniques help you relax in other areas of your life, they could help before a show, too.
By closing your eyes and taking a few slow breaths, you’ll start to feel a little more relaxed in no time. When anxious about something, you’re more likely to be taking in shorter, shallow breaths. Deeper breathing ensures you’re getting enough oxygen so that your mind can relax and think more clearly.
Bring a distraction
When it comes to touring or performing small sets as part of a full evening of entertainment, there’s a lot of waiting around. And waiting gives you plenty of time to start worrying or doubting yourself.
To help, bring a distraction; play a game on your phone or read a book. Having something to distract you will make sure you don’t have time to worry and will also help you zone out from other performers to avoid negatively comparing yourself.
If you like gaming, there are tons of games and bingo sites that you can access both on the web or through the app store.
Food and drink
Don’t let your nerves stop you from eating or drinking before your set. Staying hydrated and making sure you don’t go on stage hungry will help the few moments before you start to go much smoother. You want to arrive on stage feeling like your best self.
We’ve all had nerves that make us feel too sick to eat or drink. But by giving into these nerves, you could end up with a sugar crash or dehydrated. Also, if you’re gigging in the summer, this could lead to you becoming seriously ill or passing out – not ideal when you’re supposed to be on stage.
Remember everyone’s rooting for you
Nobody comes to a live performance with the hope to not enjoy it. So remember that no matter how bad you feel before you get up to perform, the audience, your family, and your friends are all rooting for you. They’ll cheer on your accomplishments, laugh at your jokes and remind you why you chose to do this job in the first place. All you have to do is stay calm and give them all you’ve got.