At the end of the beginners comedy course we were given the option of taking part in the showcase or not. I really was undecided about it, especially as I didn’t feel my set from the previous week (that we performed to the other people on the course) was any good. Based on this I had 1 week to write a completely new, and untested 5 minutes that I thought people would be happy with. Nothing like a bit of pressure to help get your mind in the right place for writing comedy!
With the pressure on I did nothing about it until the day of the show. Then I gave myself the rediculous task of working out what I was going to perform. There was little chance of me writing brand new stuff so I printed out some of my previous writing from the course and started to re-work that. Eventually I had 3 seperate 1 minute bits that I hoped would stretch out to 5 minutes. And then I practiced them.
I probably have 15 different recordings of me performing the set. Ranging in time from 3.58minutes to 9.32 minutes (I think I got distracted halfway through). Happy that on average i was getting to 5 minutes I decided what I’d wear for the performance and headed out of the flat.
Arriving in Leicester Square far too early I grabbed a Tea and waited outside the venue. Re-performing my set into my mobile phone over and over. I kept my headset in so that people would think I was on the phone but if they over-heard what I was saying they would have probably thought I was a bit mental. As more people arrived we headed inside and made our way to the basement where the gig would be held. After being asked to leave by the barman, Kate arrived and we began to set up the chairs. At this point Kate explained that we had well over 100 booked to watch the showcase and there wouldn’t be enough seats for anyone anyway. Us comedians would have to hide at the back of the room.
We were also given the running order and I was partway through the 1st half. This was a godsend to me as I’d only have to wait for 2 or 3 sets before I’d be able to do mine and get off stage to enjoy the rest of the performances. We had a great opener, Nick. He had the crowd in stitches with his ‘Canadian in the UK’ jokes. This got everyone laughing and help set the standard of the showcase. In less time than expected I heard my name called and the audience were clapping and cheering as I fought my way through the crowd to the stage.
There were over 120 people there and as such I really had to fight through the audience…to the point where they had stopped clapping long before I got anywhere near the stage. Luckily Kate in her role as MC got them going again and I arrived on stage to rapturous applause.
The lights were blinding, the time on stage appeared to race past while at the same time taking for-ever. I don’t remember them laughing once. That’s not to say that they weren’t laughing but even coming straight off stage I can’t remember any laughs from anyone. I left the stage to a great round of applause and as I made my way back to the comedians people congratulated me. It was a good feeling. The other comics did tell me people were laughing at my jokes so I’m glad I didn’t do as badly as I imagined it went in my head.
The other acts of the show all did great. The comedians were ace, the audience amazing. Performing to 120+ people really was something that no-one could have expected but it certainly helped make the gig what it was.
At the end of the night I went back home and thought long and hard about what I’d achieved and done. Not bad going at all. The first step of a journey has certainly been completed. Where will the next step take me?