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Tuesday, February 13

Flying High

Tonight I was a comedian.

I don't know exactly what spurred me into such a good frame of mind. I think it was a combination of things. I was recently put in touch with someone I used to know when I was a kid, and I think that some of what we got into discussing - the whys and wherefores of what we do (what a lot of w's) reminded me of why I go out of my way to put myself in front of an audience. I think also the surprise of being in touch with someone I didn't expect to be in touch with was a real boost to my feelings of wellbeing.

Life can be a good thing.

This lunchtime I went for a haircut, but emerged from the hairdresser having been texted with the offer of a last-minute gig, which I immediately accepted (I already posted that). What happened between accepting the gig and me sitting here writing this was a journey. I organised myself around the gig. I had work to do, and the gig wasn't going to interrupt that one bit. However, I had a jumper on, and gigs and jumpers don't mix. This is not an image thing; it's a sweat thing.

So, at my designated departure time from the office, I headed to a Tesco and bought a shirt. I don't know if I would have bought this particular shirt on one of the myriad visits to Tesco with my ex-girlfriend/style-guru in tow, but this was no time for Trinny and Susannah. I needed a cotton shirt and I needed it FAST. The size nazis were not in force. I found a shirt I liked, and it was on sale, and it was cotton and a nice feel.

I sat in my car ripped off my coat and jumper and put on the new shirt. Then I drove to the gig. I was even early. Ready, able and early. Brilliant.

In the car I'd been daring myself to do some new material surrounding something I'd seen on TV before Christmas. My comedy instincts was that it was funny, but couldn't necessarily be written down. At the gig, I sort of wrote some notes ordering this new material and weaving it into some existing material. I was going to try to do a bookended set of music opening and closing with some spoken material in between. I felt that I had the right to play with the set, since I wasn't being paid and it was an easy going crowd and room.

I never once felt uncomfortable on the stage. I never once resorted to regurgitating the script. I was in the moment the whole time. When it came to the bits I'd barely constructed into material, I just improvised my way through it, making what I wish I had the ability to just sit down and write. It was a moment of "being funny".

Don't assume that I'm sitting here smugly bigging myself up (as the kids might say), content in a job well-done. It's far from that. It's good compared to myself. I went out there with confidence, good humour and a sense of spontaneity, and that's something that's been desperately missing from the other two performances I've given this month. As a result, the audience responded and I felt like a comedian, which is something I've had serious doubts about.

I'm glad I took the gig. I'm also keen to start working on new material. If I put the hours in I may have a non-musical set, or at least a set which I can look at and say "this is nowhere near as lame as once it was" (and that's the sort of flowery language I'd use). I also think I know some of the "comic voice" that comedians refer to having to find in themselves.

All I have to do is keep doing what I love doing.



Blogger long live comedy said...

Strangely enough, I had a very similar experience at 'mirth on monday' last night.

I didn't realise that compereing a gig had improved my game, but the simple fact that I knew the material and had the confidence allowed me to wander off script several times to good effect.

For the first time in a long time, I felt like I was being funny, not just saying funny things.

1:57 PM  

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