Watching the video of my second stand-up gig was a painful experience. I knew before I went on stage that it wouldn’t be as strong as my first set. For one thing, I only had a day to prepare for it; for another, the average comedy audience – like the average person – is sick of hearing about politics. Being an awkward critter, I’m not sick of hearing about politics, let alone blathering on about it (just look at my Twitter account). As soon as I found out that I’d be performing just three days after a general election I felt a moral obligation to to be topical, subversive and – with any luck – funny. I was definitely topical and subversive, but I seemed to struggle with delivering on the devastating funnies. Which is a shame, as I made a valiant effort to make my proselytising more palatable by increasing the number of gratuitous dick jokes in my set. Its an old trick, but this time around it didn’t work.
The gig didn’t go swimmingly, then. In line with modern personal development theories like NLP, I’ve tried to reframe my ‘failure’ as ‘feedback’ in order to learn something new from the experience. By doing so I may hopefully do things differently, grow as a human being and maybe get some more fucking laughs next time.
For the benefit of fellow stand-up comedy start-ups and anyone else who cares, here’s 5 things I learnt from the experience:
- Don’t try to write and memorise a brand new set the day before you’re supposed to perform it. You’ll end up looking like a tit.
- When St John’s Ambulance start edging towards the stage it probably means you’re dying on your arse. Try to remain calm.
- Sometimes that laughter you hear is just the audience in your head. If it’s not picked up on your mate’s camcorder then it doesn’t count.
- When delivering an impassioned rant, try not to accidentally spit on the people in the first row. It breaks rapport.
- Be funnier.