The Experience of a Comedian: John Poveromo

By Valaniece Martin, Contributing Writer

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John Poveromo, a comedian from New Jersey, performed at Tierney’s Tavern in Montclair, New Jersey on Nov. 19. He has been able to skillfully craft his opinions into comedy. All throughout his life, Poveromo has idolized classic comedians and learned by watching their stand-up. Starting out, it took him some time to realize he should pursue his passion of comedy. He told his story to Montclarion staff writer Valaniece Martin.

Since I was in the sixth grade, I have always wanted to do stand-up comedy. I even wrote it down in a yearbook that we had in elementary school. When asked what I wanted to be when I grow up, I would say a comedian.

An old teacher who had retired actually had that yearbook and gave it to me.

She told me, “You wrote it down a long time ago, [even then] you know exactly what you wanted to be.”

A satirical cartoon created by John Poveromo.
Photo courtesy of johnpoveromo.net

I have strong opinions, so I feel like comedy can be an outlet for that kind of stuff. It started out as trying to make my friends laugh and the idea of making people laugh in general. Then as I got older it progressed to me having something to say. For me, getting onstage in front of strangers is the best outlet.

My first show was excellent. I performed after hours at Carolines, which is a stand-up comedy club on Broadway. The room was filled. My family and friends were all sitting at one table, and the rest was filled with strangers. I went onstage and did a five-minute act, which ended up being pretty good. The whole experience was fun for me.

For my comedy, it is a combination of my own personality and how I act around friends. I think for most people when they start in stand-up, they often think, “I am really funny.” It is about taking that confidence and transforming it into something that strangers can laugh at. I have always been funnier around my friends. Because of this, my shows are now more conversational. I have setlists, jokes and other stuff that I want to talk about during shows, but I have no problem veering off from the setlists and talking to the audience.

I’ve been doing this for almost 13 years. Every time before I go up onstage, I think about how fast I want to be up there already.

I usually end up thinking, “This is going to suck, you’re going to suck. Why are you even doing this?”

There is always a bit of doubt right before I go on, which every comedian has. We always joke about it. All of a sudden, the sheer audacity enters your head whether you are actually good enough to talk to your audience for an hour. That never goes away. However, you have to escape this mindset, and you usually do. Even when there are backdoors, your car is parked out in the front and the fact that you can leave at any time, you never actually do end up leaving. You love what you do, and you do not want to leave.

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