KC: What was your first time like? Were you nervous? Was it a home run or did you bomb?
LM: My husband and I made a deal: he was going on a business trip for a couple of days and he said, “Before I get back, do your first open mic.” So I went.
KC: So your husband wanted you get up onstage for the first time without him there for support? How’d you do it?
LM: Whenever I go into something, I like to go in with a little 4-1-1, so I learned about this venue, The PIT in New York City, and it said you get five minutes to perform. I was planning and overanalyzing around these five minutes, but after they pulled my name, the host told me, “You have two and a half minutes.” So I’m thinking, “What!? Oh my god, what do I do?” I mean, I had a lead, a beginning, a middle, an end…but I did it and when I got off stage, my friend was like “Yeah, keep going.” Now 11 years later…
KC: What is it like performing standup?
LM: It’s an extreme rush of adrenaline. Steve Martin put it perfectly: you’re in the past, the present and the future, all in one moment. If you’re doing great, time goes fast, but if you’re bombing, oh man, it’s like you can hear the clock ticking with the seconds.
KC: That must feel awful. Tell me more! Has there been a time where you truly bombed? Where seconds felt like hours?
LM: I was doing a show at a festival, and after 90 seconds on stage I completely blanked! I didn’t know where to go, I didn’t know what to do, I couldn’t think of anything. It was like someone hit me in the head and this was the aftermath – like I had amnesia. I’ll always remember that one.
KC: Yikes! That really does sound awful. For balance, what’s your most memorable performance, in a good way?
LM: I was at Caroline’s in New York City to see a show, and I was lucky enough to meet D.L. Hughley. We had a great conversation before he went on, and he asked if I would open for him, so I did! I wasn’t planning to be onstage that night, but hearing my name called and walking to the stage – it was just one of those amazing moments. That night is also so significant to me because it shows that you always have to be ready. I mean, I just came out for a normal night!
KC: How did it go?
LM: Great! But I was wearing the worst shirt – it was like a poncho, and every time I opened my arms, it was just wideness all around me.
KC: How do you tame your nerves while performing? Do you picture the audience naked?
LM: I just remind myself to have fun with it. Sometimes, I get so analytical, but over analyzing and getting nervous never works. You know what works? Grabbing that mic and having a great time. That’s what it’s all about – having fun.
KC: Do you have any pre-performance rituals? Do you dunk your head in cold water or run laps before going on?
LM: No laps, but I used to pace back and forth before my shows. That stopped on the night of D.L Hughley because his crew was looking at me like I was crazy.
KC: What’s your new ritual?
LM: I give thanks to everyone, from the universe to God to my father and sister who passed. It’s a much more meditative and peaceful ritual, and it actually makes me more fun and put together.