Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Stand up

One of the challenges I’ve set myself is to do more stand-up comedy.

This week, I’ve taken a step in the right direction. I left my joke book in Reading (fail) so can’t remember anything I’ve written as I haven’t looked at it since January. But I did come up with something I could do during a short set but as usual on reflection, I don’t think it’s funny and it would involve audience members which would scare me too much. And I have researched open mic places.

I’m struggling to write things to be honest, as said I haven’t really come up with anything for a couple of months. I have a strange writing technique, if you can’t tell I really can’t write anything and most of my comedy is created when I can’t sleep. That time when you’re lying in bed and your mind is racing with idiotic thoughts, for me those thoughts turn into strange rambling stories which I find pretty funny and I drift off to sleep thinking “really hope I can remember that tomorrow”. I never do and then a few days later I’ll suddenly remember it and write it down however, it never seems as funny as when I first thought it up. I can’t decide if this is due to the desperation for sleep making anything funny or my own self-criticism? Due to this I never ever re-read my jokes, once I’ve written them down, they’re never seen again. I do the same when I’m writing an essay: never proof read because if I do I’ll just think “terrible, won’t get anything good from this, why do I bother?” etc.

My second issue with doing this is that I can’t find any open mic nights. I’ve been to one in Reading but it was only musicians going up in a pub. Music is easier at open mic nights; music can play along in the background whilst people can carry on their conversations and the audience can still get a sense of whether it was good or not. However, with comedy, you do need everyone’s full attention otherwise you can’t get a reaction/judge if it’s going well, which means you might as well have stood up in front of teddy bears in your bedroom and lecture at them for 5 minutes. I never know, they may be willing to stop chatting for 5 minutes and listen to someone but I’m not comfortable enough to be the one to test out that theory, if another comic went up first and tried it, then I’d be able to go up after.

I’ve been offered an open mic spot at the Sunday show at Up The Creek in Greenwich as they were the ones who organised Greenwich Comedy Festival, where I did my first show. But it’s an amazing show with top comedians every week. Regulars include: Carl Donnelly, Jon Richardson, Shappi Khorsandi, Pete Firmann, Adam Bloom, Stephen K Amos and Rich Hall etc Imagine if I got put on the same bill as Jon Richardson or Tim Key (who’s been there a couple of times). HA! I’ve already been put on the same bill as Doc Brown, Sara Pascoe and Jarred Christmas and that was hell enough. I would ruin that show for sure. Also it’s late on Sunday and would never get back to Reading for Monday morning. They have started doing a Thursday variety show which I think includes open mic so I might pop down this week and check it out and then if it’s alright I’ll try and get a spot there instead.

I wish I could remember my first gig. It was back in September and I just completely blanked it out. All I remember is getting distracted by two guys in the front who were laughing a lot and really loudly and I kept staring at them thinking “I wish they’d be quiet” until I remembered that was my job. I have spoken to one person who was at that show and she said I was really good but as usual I don’t believe people.

This is longer than I expected it to be.



  1. this is a great post.
    do you ever try your material out on friends or family? i think if i was doing comedy (thank god i'm not, it sounds scary as hell) i'd need to have had people laugh at my material before i even did a small open mic night.

  2. Very interesting, you've at least done one gig right?
    I'd say (inexpertly) that you're probably better not scrapping things, an audience will laugh if they think its funny, they won't if they don't. You can't predict that.

  3. I think I may start to show friends my stuff, I have shown my book to someone once but it's was all notes which I understood and he was confused by some of it but when I explained it, he did find some of it pretty funny.

    My gig was back in September so long ago. I know I should stop scrapping stuff so that'll be my next aim. Also when I next to a spot I mustn't rely on the material I've already performed as a comfort blanket.

    Thanks for the comments.

  4. Your doing a lot better than me, i have notes for a 5 to 10 minute routine but I'm yet to write it up.

    Also, if they've asked you back thats got to be a good sign as they see a lot of comedy yet they remember you

  5. I think you should go for as many open mic nights as possible, we are our own worst critics, enjoy it don't over analyse whilst doing it :) x