Over the past few months I’ve been getting involved with an open mic comedy night at the Happy Yess club. If you’ve been reading this blog for any extended period of time, you’ll be arriving at the conclusion about …
… now that taking my sense of humour and attitude towards other people and giving it a microphone might be a very bad idea. And you’ll be right. The thing is, despite congratulating myself about how edgy and theatrical I’ve become, until recently I’d never actually stood up to do ... stand up. I’d acted as MC, I’d written songs and helped out with the impro teams, but I’d never climbed up on stage with the sole intention of telling everyone “look at me, I think I’m funny". It's a really weird thing to do.
To make matters weirder, I’d managed to have this completely peripheral involvement in the comedy nights for about six months without it ever occuring to me that I’d never got up to do a set. In a Herculean feat of self-delusion, I had it in my head that I did comedy all the time, despite the fact that I'd never done comedy. The mind blowing reality only hit me last Thursday, as I finally got up to do my first ever stand up set..
Normally I walk around the Happy Yess like I own the place, confident that I can handle myself in conversations about music, writing, drinking, left wing politics and even vegetarianism (you don't have to bite the spinach to know it's gross). I’ve also achieved a major goal of being able to walk into a club and ask the bartender for “the usual”. It’s getting to the point where I’m as at home on the Happy Yess stage as I am in my own kitchen. And the output is usually much less disastrous.
So it came as quite a shock as I made my way up to the microphone to find myself suddenly overtaken by the awareness that I’d never actually done this before, and that I had no idea if it was going to work. It’s quite an exhilarating sensation to approach and then deliver your first punch line, just waiting for the all-validating and all-forgiving laugh from the audience. It wasn’t nervousness as such, more like the sudden realisation that I was standing on the edge of a bridge I’d never crossed before, about to take a flying leap over the edge.
And leap I most certainly did. Fortunately I landed safely on the trampoline of external approval, turned an improbably tight somersault over the jagged rocks of self-doubt, settled on the far side of the routine with a graceful splat and round-house kicked the Tyrannosaurus of misplaced metaphors to the ground. Take that Nancy!
Yes. So apparently stand-up comedy is something I can do now. Make of that what you will.
Garry with 2 Rs