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Because I had no prior experience, I decided to follow my friend Brian's advice. Brian hosts the annual comedy show in Montreal, Just for Laughs , and was the manager and emcee for the Improv in Los Angeles. "Whatever you do," he said, " don't try to tell any jokes. Those take a lot of practice and skill, and if you go out there and try to deliver a joke for the first time to a live audience, you will flop. Just be yourself, kid, and you'll be great."

My sisters arrived shortly after me. Jane, in what, to us, was an obvious attempt to grab a little attention, began "woo hoo"-ing uncontrollably (or, as Heather put it, "Jane's 'woo hoo's are inappropriate, whereas I have timely and appropriate 'woo hoo's").

With plans to ad-lib everything but the band-specific announcements, I was as prepared as I was going to be. Ollie and David helped me adjust my corset (as they would several more times during the next eight hours), and I waited for my cue. I smiled at my sisters, who were standing in front of the stage, ready to cheer me on. My confident and inspiring sisters, who share my parents' ballsy Brooklyn mentality, smiled back and I could see their thumbs high in the air right before the bright spotlight shone in my face, blocking my view of everything but the microphone in my hand.

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