I started doing stand up October 23rd 2013 and I fell in love. I used to stay awake at night dreaming about being on stage and sharing myself at the hopes of laughter. I no longer stay awake every night thinking about doing it because I've done it a decent amount of times. It became my gateway into doing improv. I still love it but don't do it anymore... Last time I did an open mic was in January.
I do comedy now via Improv. I took my first class June 28th 2014 and fell in love with that as well. Going to an Improv jam/workshop/mixer is more bonding to me and not as pain staking as going to an open mic. There is a lot less waiting, and a lot more support from your fellow performers.
Open mics are actually an amazing thing. People can show up and write their name down and perform. You can see some amazing stuff for free, and that's how you start doing stand up. I feel good that I did that before Improv, because it's harder and it made Improv seem so warm and pleasant, because it is. Open mics are the only way to learn stand up, besides classes, but nothing can teach you to perform in front of an audience. With Improv you can take classes and do jams/workshops/mixers. Stand up is the only art form that is learned by doing it in front of an audience... Besides a class, but a class won't help if you don't do an open mic.
I now hang out with improvisers, and meet new teams and people everyday being in the Chicago Improv community. Improv makes me a better person. It helps with listening, empathizing and having people's backs. Stand up is solo, analytical and judgmental. It is the comedian judging society, them self, and the crowd is judging them. Comedians make fun of everything and it is an amazing thing to watch great stand up. It is more of a rogue warrior having the balls to go up by themselves and be completely vulnerable to the world. Watching great Improv is amazing too, watching a seasoned team recognize each others patterns and build a beautiful painting before your eyes is a treasure.
Comparing it to stand up, I would say Improv is building a chair together, and stand up is tearing something down that is already built, or hitting other things with your chair. Yes anding yourself versus yes anding your partner.
I don't really meet new people who are stand ups because I no longer do open mics, but it is something I will always think about, and will get back to eventually. I feel fulfilled in doing Improv comedically. Although I'm sure I'm resisting something in not doing stand up anymore, I still come up with bits in my mind. I have huge love and respect for stand ups, it's so hard to go up by yourself and do poorly over and over. Being up alone allows you to be much more vulnerable to no laughter. It is still a magnificent feeling of defying the audience while you're bombing, and relishing in the laughter that you gave them. Bombing is beautiful in the fear going away, it is often times painful, but you come through it a stronger person. I can remember more times in stan up than in improv of doing poorly, and continuing on, knowing that people probably are still not going to laugh.
I am lucky to know great people in Improv, it is sharing, loving, and always fun. I'm constantly learning, watching and performing. I love the people that I know, they're kind and hilarious and we all want to see each other succeed. I think I am resisting stand up because I don't want to wait to perform. It can take up to hours, and the nerves just build and build as you wait for your turn, and sometimes you don't even get to perform! That's why I admire the successful and working stand ups so much, because they are willing to wait and go up night after night!