STANDARD editor Tristan Harris took to the stage at Bromsgrove’s Artrix on Saturday with the other stand-up hopefuls after the five weekly workshops at Theo Theobald’s Comedy Skool. Here is how the live performance went…
IN THE days before the show, I stepped up rehearsals and when Saturday came I experienced a host of emotions, including nervousness and excitement. I spent the day trying to busy myself.
After a trip to the shops, a walk around Waseley Hills Country Park and even a few Paw Patrol jigsaws with my youngest daughter to pass the time, 6pm came.
The sound checks were done an hour before and Theo gave us a few final pointers.
Backstage, with five minutes to go, we heard the chattering of the audience as they filed in and then Theo, compering the evening, took to the mic and ran through a few gags to warm up the crowd.
I had never experienced nerves like the ones I had while waiting to go on.
My head was spinning and I kept reaching to my back pocket where I had a post-it note with the list of the stories on.
My biggest fear was forgetting the material I had worked so hard to write, edit and rehearse and remembering the order.
Having been warned about dry mouth syndrome I was constantly sipping water and pacing like an expectant father.
When my name was called I went onto the stage and introduced myself.
I began too fast, a problem I encountered a lot during rehearsals, but once the first two punchlines were delivered and got laughs I settled and slowed down to the pace I needed.
I then started to enjoy the performance, relaxed and experienced one of the biggest buzzes of my life as the laughs increased and even got a round of applause for one of the punchlines.
My main thought then was making sure I got the ending right. When I reached my penultimate line, I positioned the mic stand back in front of me, placed the microphone in it before delivering the last line.
There was loud applause at the end and as Theo came back on and I left the stage I again experienced a range of emotions. I also had a headache, I think caused by the tension and adrenaline, and was also relieved about how well it had gone.
The great thing about going first was I could enjoy the rest of the show with a well-earned pint.
The best thing was everyone did well and earned their share of the laughs and the camaraderie we had built up over those five weeks was enjoyable – so much so I actually missed our Monday night comedy rendez vous this week.
Overall, this was an enjoyable project.
I cannot praise Theo enough. His workshops equipped us all with the tools we needed to create and deliver our ten-minute sets and the fact they went down well is testament to his guidance and our hard work.
A lot of people undertake challenges to get themselves out of their comfort zone and, along with parachute and bungee jumps, this must be up there.
There cannot be many more difficult challenges which see you stand up in front of a 60-strong crowd and declare you are ‘the funniest guy in the room’.
People have asked me if I’ll stand-up again and after the buzz of performing I am contemplating it.
There are plenty of open mic nights around but comedy is very subjective and at the end of the day, at another venue with an alternative crowd, it could have been so different and so would my stand-up experience.
I would certainly recommend the Comedy Skool whether you take up the challenge yourself or whether you challenge someone else to. Christmas is only seven weeks away as well.
A place in Theo’s classroom could be the perfect present for someone you know.
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