I recall the occasion of my first appearance...I got to the theatre forty-five minutes before the hour set for the lecture. My knees were shaking so that I didnt know whether I could stand up. If there is an awful, horrible malady in the world, it is stage frightand seasickness. They are a pair. I had stagefright then for the first and last time. I was only sea-sick once, too. It was on a little ship on which there were two hundred other passengers. Iwassick. I was so sick there wasnt any left for the other passengers.
I had got a number of friends of mine, stalwart men, to sprinkle themselves through the audience armed with big clubs. Every time I said anything they could possibly guess I intended to be funny they were to pound those clubs on the floor. Then there was a kind lady in a box up there, also a good friend of mine, the wife of the Governor. She was to watch me intently, and whenever I glanced towards her she was going to deliver a gubernatorial laugh that would lead the whole audience into applause.
Well, after the first agonizing five minutes, my stage-fright left me, never to return. I know if Im going to be hanged I could get up and make a good showing, and I intend to.Mark Twain, Mark Twains First Appearance speech, 1906