Monday night was the big night. After six weeks of baby steps we comedy virgins took the stage at the Byron Services Club. It was pretty packed, especially considering that it was raining torrentially. I must admit that for a while there I was hoping a flash flood might cut Byron off, or a tornado rip through the town, or at least a tree bring down a power pole leading to the event being cancelled.
But no, there we were. And there they were. Ready to be entertained.
Learning comedy has been enlightening. A good comedian looks like they’ve just popped in to share their thoughts with you. But in fact, developing a routine is a rigorous process from ideas to writing to rehearsal to learning to performance.
I have learnt about the importance of the premise, the illusion of spontaneity and finding a comic persona which is a reflection of your authentic self. And then, having found your authentic self, you need to lay it all bare to a room full of strangers and hope to hell they have the same sense of humour as you. Because comedy is not a monologue, it is a conversation. It is something that happens between the performer and the audience. It takes two to tango.
Five minutes is not a long time. But it is way long enough for a lot of things to go wrong. As our esteemed leader Mandy Nolan said on the night, ‘Tonight we’re going to find out whose chutes aren’t going to open.’ Five minutes can be an eternity if you’re in free fall.
We started with a group of fifteen, but as we came closer and closer to the day, several of my classmates discovered other pressing commitments. On the big night only ten remained. In the interests of getting it over with quickly, I went up first. And what else would I talk about, but writing.
It was a fun night. What struck me was the diversity of the performances. It seems obvious, but people really are so different! There is something very warming about seeing others share their struggles in a comic way.
I don’t think I’ll be back for more, but I’m pleased that I pushed my boundaries and gave it a go. And, did my parachute open? You can be the judge because here it is…