It happened 18 years ago, but Kevin Allison remembers the moment like it was yesterday. He was up on stage at the Luna Lounge in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, doing a monologue. One paragraph in, his mind went completely blank and he could not for the life of him remember his next line.
Allison stared wide-eyed at the audience. The room was packed with people sitting cross-legged on the floor, staring up at him, expectant. He decided to do the only thing he knew to do in that moment: Make a run for it. He tried to dodge past the packed audience to make his escape through the exit in back.
“No! Don’t go!” people shouted all around him. “You can do it!”
Suddenly, he found himself lifted up–literally–as the audience bodysurfed him back to the stage. Once he was back up there, he had no choice but to go on with his story.
“It was from that experience that I realized, you are never up on stage all alone,” says Allison, who today hosts the story-telling podcast RISK! and is founder of The Story Studio in New York and Los Angeles.