It was a long time coming.
I realised earlier this year that one of the few things I know about myself, absolutely, is that I can make people laugh. Friends, family, work colleagues, acquaintances I’ve made in pubs, at gigs or on various shoots – ever since I was at school people have told me I’m funny. So I figured, in my unemployment and torturously bored, that I owed it to myself to find out if I could also be funny on a stage, addressing a room full of strangers.
The idea was first mooted by an old flatmate about four years ago, when he toyed with doing the Red Raw beginners night at The Stand. I’d joked about doing it myself on and off since then. Having written a screenplay set in the world of stand-up (and soap operas and ‘celebrity’ obsession), and failed to sell it, I lengthened it into a 70,000-word novel which I’ve also failed to sell, despite good feedback from numerous sources (including one editor).
Having also written pantomimes of varying length and quality for twenty of my twenty-nine years, and sketches, lyrics, poetry, short stories too, I figured maybe it was time to get up and say the things I wanted to express which nobody was interested in reading. The Stand told me to apply in two months for a possible gig in five, such is the length of their waiting lists, and so I was instead directed to Malky and Pop-Up Comedy. He runs a newcomers night at The Halt Bar in Woodlands Road, and since (having finally decided to get up there) I didn’t want to wait five months, I approached him. He was able to give me a spot three weeks from the date of asking.
I went away and wrote a six-page routine and six pages of one-liners, knowing that was too much, and eventually had time in my five-minute spot to do about one, maybe one and a half pages. And got heckled most of the way through it by some chick who seemed to think she was helping…
I’ll write about that next.