Week seven has come around very swiftly and it is time to showcase what we have learnt and developed over the past few weeks. The girls and I have been rehearsing together and really working hard at making each of our routines as polished and sharp as possible. I’d be inclined to say comedy is a team sport. You might have some really funny ideas but sometimes you need other funny people around you to make that idea a perfectly formed joke and have it land just as you want. I am really proud as to how the three of us have worked together in class and developed out friendship out of class. I really hope after this experience we continue to write some funnies together as it has been one of the best aspects of this entire experience.
Alas, no amount of workshopping with the girls can help me learn the routine. That is a solo sport. I recorded it onto my phone and rather than my weekly podcast listening I have taken to listening to my own voice over and over and over. Each night I would then hold a number of performances alone in my living room, again recording it. I would then sit with the original script and see what I had missed out. Or see what I had said funnier this time round and make tweaks. It was pretty intense and maybe having a hectic week at work too didn’t assist in the process.
We were lucky enough to be performing at the Comedy Pub close to Leicester Square. Like all pubs and clubs, it looks awful with the lights on. Arriving early to see the space and have a quick run through when it was empty was strange. I hadn’t expected the lights to be so blinding as you stand on stage. Doing your routine to an empty room perhaps doesn’t do much for the confidence ahead of the real thing but at least gets you used to the microphone. And the bright lights.
Soon, Kate opened the doors and people flooded in. Like, really flooded in. The ten of us in class who made it to week 7 had all invited people. But I wasn’t expecting over 100 people. It was standing room only and the room was really buzzing. The lovely Naomi Paxton, who took our week 5 class, also came along which was so brilliant. She gave us some calming words of encouragement.
Kate took to the stage and warmed the crowd up and introduced the first act. There was no turning back now. Alas, I had to wait until the second act to do my routine. The nerves kept bubbling up. Oddly, not for performing but the concern I would forget part of the routine. So much of it linked together that if I missed one part it would impact on a joke later in the routine. But as soon as it was my turn that didn’t matter at all. It all flowed, I forgot nothing, and people really laughed.
Somebody did record the evening and when I have the footage I will post it.
This was a challenge set by my life coach, the wonderful Gill Thackray. It wasn’t about doing the routine per say but doing something new, doing something that took me out of my comfort zone and doing something totally different to my everyday. It has been the best experience I have had in a long time. I genuinely looked forward to class each week and felt happy and elated after each one. Two hours of laughing really helps. Meeting the people on the course and making two genuine new friends has been a wonderful addition to the experience. It is harder to make new friends the older you get so I am so delighted to have met two women who I respect, enjoy their company and love writing the funnies with. And I am pleased I have found comedy. It has been such a great experience I am not sure I can just leave it there. I have already signed up for Kate’s next level class and also starting an improv class. I don’t know where this will lead me and I am not really thinking of it that way. I am seeing this as a different form of professional development and a form of therapy. It’s a cliche, but laughter really is the best medicine.
Thank you to Gill for making me do this; Kate and Naomi for being wonderful teachers; Jen and Jo for being brilliant ‘comedy wankers’; Laura, Briony, Ruth, Joe, Liz Tricky, Katherine, Stacey, Himi, Hanna, Rebecca, Jo, Matthew, Alexandria, Rog, Rosie, and indeed my parents who came along to support me. Truly, thank you.
The comedy class is taught be Kate Smurthwaite and is run by City Academy.