That’s what I am going to be taking away from the two-day stand up course I attended just a few short weeks ago.
Throughout the two days I was struck by the rigour and discipline behind professional stand up alongside the skill and knowledge of our facilitator, Jill Edwards. Now my plan is to get off my backside and attend more live comedy gigs. Something me and my husband used to do regularly, back in the day.
I also want to have a go at writing a gag a day, doesn’t matter how crap they are. At some point, I’ll produce one or two that might just be funny. Won’t know unless I give it a go and this fits in nicely with my daily journaling. Then and only then will I sign up for another course, hopefully before the end of this year. There is loads more for me to learn.
The whole point of stand up as explained to us by Jill is to tell gags. To set them up, then deliver the punchline. No more, no less. I was also relieved on our first day to find that we weren’t expected to memorise our material to begin with. There was no talking ‘off the top’ of our heads. Instead we were strongly, persuasively, and lovingly (I’m joking) encouraged to write out our gags first and then read them out. This is where I could appreciate just how tightly scripted a lot of stand up is, even down to the pauses, facial expressions and physical gestures. At least fifty-percent of stand up is in the silence.
However, I was not sure what to expect when I initially booked my place in May last year. I clicked on the payment button, thinking that it would be a laugh, a new experience. Though as the 19th drew closer I did start to seriously question the wisdom of my decision and wonder if I should just back out. Then I decided I could attend but didn’t have to do the performance at the end. That was at least enough to get me there on Saturday 19th January this year.
What got me to return on the Sunday was the fifteen other people who also attended and Jill herself. After the first day I felt that these people had my back. They were an amazing group, who provided supportive feedback along with lots of laughter throughout the two days. No egos, no bullshit.
On the afternoon of the second day, whilst learning my set I decided to simply lower my expectations. It would be enough to get up on stage, remember my set, deliver my set and get one laugh. Just one. BOOM! Job done.
So, I finished the course prepared ‘to have a go’ at performing a set. Which is precisely what we all did in front of family and friends on the Sunday afternoon at the Komedia.
A big thank you to my husband and daughter for coming along and capturing my set on video.
You can see how I got on here:
Incidentally, given that I am primarily a career coach, here is a short piece, ‘why did the chicken cross the road’, written about three years ago now about the similarities as I see them between becoming a successful stand up and running a successful business. Have long had an interest in comedy and stand up.
So, there you have it, until next time.