Nov 24, 2010

Standing Up and Being Foolish

Regular readers of this site may recall that time I tried to do 30 new things before I turned 30. I know, I know, I've tried to block it out of my mind too.

You may remember one of those things was stand-up comedy. You may recall I briefly became a universal figure of hate for decrying the standard of some open mic comedians.

You may assume that any sane person who completed such a challenge relatively unscathed would be happy enough to move on with their life, safe in the knowledge they would never have to confront a microphone, blue material and potential heckling ever again.

Such an assumption about me would bestow a great deal more sanity than I evidently possess:

Thanks to Aurelie for the picture; and Dan for the design.

Since going to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2008, I've harboured a secret desire to do a one-woman show - in the vein of my dear friend and mentor Deborah Frances White. But I've kept talking myself out of it - I'm not funny enough, I don't have enough good ideas, I don't have any experience.

So you can imagine it was as much a surprise to me as anyone when I found myself filling out an application form for the BITS Festival - a "sampler" festival; a non-curated event that lets creative types perform whatever they like - whether it's a finished piece, or still in a workshop stage.

When they asked for a running time on my submission, I thought of Deborah's show, and the other shows I'd seen at the festival. They were all around one hour long. That seemed a bit much, so I plumped for something I figured might be more realistic: 45 minutes.

I've subsequently found out the average performance time at BITS is 15/20 minutes.

So, to summarise:
  • This Saturday, at 3:15pm, I'm performing at the Fringe Bar.
  • All I've come up with is the name, and the idea that it's about how my Grandma is cooler than me.
  • I have no material.
  • I'm on for 45 minutes.
  • My sanity is obviously serious in question.

I've made a few sly mentions of this on Facebook and Twitter, and the overall reaction has been... well, nonexistent. It's like tumbleweeds central in the social networking sphere. I suspect that people who do realise are embarrassed on my behalf and giving me the opportunity to gracefully pretend it's not happening.

But it is happening. And screw it, why not. I don't expect anyone to come; frankly it would make life much easier if I wind up spending the time talking to myself over a pink lemonade. But I may as well give it a go. Because if my Grandma can damn well survive a Luftwaffe direct hit during the Blitz and live to join His Majesty's Royal Navy, I can damn well talk shit about it for three-quarters of an hour.

Anyway, I've discovered where I'll be performing is regularly used for cabaret burlesque performances. So, worst comes to worst, maybe I can get a head start on a new list of challenges - with "public nudity" top of the list.


  1. Break a leg. I'm sure you'll do great ... as in your stand-up the funniest stuff was your off the cuff stuff.

    Wish I could see it. And not just because there is an outside chance of nudity.

  2. I would really really love to come see it, but I'll be performing at the BAT, so unfortunately, I'll miss it :(
    Have a great time, though, I'm sure you'll do great - as you usually do, naturally.

  3. I gave up on my stand-up routine because I couldn't make up more than about five minutes of good material, so I'm probably not a huge amount of help.

    Save your best stories for last, go out on a laugh, and if you only end up with twenty-five minutes of good material just let the organisers know ahead of time - in my limited experience extra time is usually welcome anyway.

    The other thing to remember is that you aren't going to be competing for adulation against polished shows from fellow professionals. There will be all sorts of open-mike level junk up there from relative amateurs, and you've got stage experience and stage presence out the wazoo compared to Joe and Jane Openmike. You can hold an audience solo just by making crap up, and this time you don't have to make crap up.

  4. Dick jokes. You'll need dick jokes...

  5. Hahaha!! This is my first . . . er . . . meeting with you, and I have come away from it delightfully happy. Love your style and attitude, most especially the attitude. I haven't read how your forty-five minutes of fame worked out. I'll look around.

  6. Oooooo...this is exciting! You need to have someone video it!

  7. Well I couldn't help but smile at this line

    "It's like tumbleweeds central in the social networking sphere."

    So I doubt you could have done too awfully considering some very unfunny comedians have been pretty successful haha. Hope it went well ofcourse. It'd be pretty harsh to to hope it didn't go well haha.

    Oh and I'm one of the people who popped on here because you were on blogs of note. Unfortunately I am dead tired so while I have read this cos stand up comedy is one of the things I've considered doing in the past, I'm off now. May pop back on tomorrow. Looks like a good blog though so well done :)

  8. And screw it, why not. I don't expect anyone to come

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