The Trials And Tribulations Of Being Comedically Challenged

On my life’s to-do list, only a few places down, is clearly marked ‘Do an Edinburgh Fringe show’. I nearly did one last year, but had problems with venues and times which meant that I had to pull out- I don’t regret it, although I do wish I could have had the experience. However, it has given me time to regroup and replan. Which I’ve done.

The main problem with me doing a comedy show is very simple- I’m not funny. But I don’t particularly try to be, or aspire to be. I’m not even sure why I want to do it- I suppose for the experience. My main comedy influences are Les Dawson, Stewart Lee and Vic Reeves. The formers are fantastically eloquent, with deadpan monologues that can string audiences along for however long it takes, before verbally smashing them into a wall with such a bad punchline or pun, while the latter is simply hilarious. I ADORE anti-humour, or when traditional buildup-punchline jokes go wrong- they can be brilliant. I’m just as inclined to find nonsensical stuff just as funny- Mssrs. Reeves and Mortimer in particular. I’ve been working in the UCLAN comedy revue (the upcoming one will be my 3rd), and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. No, really, I have. This time, I’ve actually been trying to write some material, although I can confess now, it needs a bit of polish. And some lighter fluid. Maybe a hacksaw. I’ve got 3 sketches in various points of work, one just needs a little dialogue alteration, one needs finishing, one I intend to dump in a canal- it’s not good at all.

I also think that Channel 4 is responsible for some of the best comedy shows ever created for televisual purposes. I could list my favourites:

I know there’s probably quite a wide scope there- which sort of shows my style of humour- heavy use of popular culture references, occasional physical nonsense (not too much though), 4th wall breakthroughs, self-referential, occasionally minimalist. And it may have been that sort of combination that led me to wear a Bruce Forsyth mask and dance around while holding a pair of 54inch underpants on stage- based on a similar moment in Vic Reeves’ Big Night Out. Seriously- I did that. It probably bombed dramatically, but I don’t care- I still did it. As a treat, I’ve even got my original stage diagrams for this- you can see the time and effort that went into it:

…And that’s it. I’ve got a lot less to talk about than I thought I did. (Scrambles around to find something). I’m going to leave this post short, but before I go, I’m going to give you an extract from Les Dawson’s Secret Notebooks– a very interesting book which shows the attention to detail the man had when writing:

The news that Agatha Louise, the wife’s eldest sister, was to be married came as something of an emotional tremor, because the lady in question had been on the shelf so long she looked like a jar of preserves. In the past, poor lass, she had been frequently jilted. In fact, she had been kept waiting at the church so often the vicar made her wear a parking meter. Frankly, it wasn’t surprising, because physically she is far from attractive. For instance, she is so thin, when she wears a fur coat she looks rather like a discarded strip of lagging from a kitchen waste pipe. Some two years ago she went for an X-ray and the doctor had to bend her double to get a picture. Her eyes were puts of malice, with the sort of frustration in them that one sees in a hedgehog that discovers it’s mating with a yard brush. I first met her at a family funeral wearing a think black veil. When she raised it she was arrested for indecent exposure.

Her two bridesmaids were large ladies, who would no doubt have been an asset as prop forwards for Wigan. Both were muscular and one had a faint moustache and a duelling scar. As they passed me, one of them gave me spine-chilling coy look and lifted the hem of her dress up to the knee and I can safely say that the last time I saw a leg that big was when a butcher showed me half a bullock in a chest freezer. The ghastly ceremony ground to a halt and off we went to the reception, which was held in a neo-gothic Co-Op hall the size of a Zeppelin paint spray shed that had all the intimacy of Lenin’s tomb on a half-day closing. Cheap sherry was served in cracked tumblers- Lord knows who trod the grapes for the tepid brew but in my glass I found a Spanish corn plaster. The boiled ham was so thin you could see the letter BR on the plates. One ancient wit shouted to the waitress, ‘You slice the ham and I’ll shuffle’- the mother-in-law just sneered and poured junket down his ear-trumpet.

What I am about to unfold, dear listener, will chill your blood and knot your tripes with sinews of fear. Where to begin this narrative of horror? It started in Blackpool. I had been strolling along the promenade thinking about this and that- mostly that- when suddenly, from out in the brittle sunshine, I found myself plunged into a dimly-lit cavern wherein I saw rows upon rows of worshippers crouched in maddened expectancy. Their eyes were glazed and their lips were wet and blubbery and the breath from their open orifices hung moistly in the fetid atmosphere. Begrimed awnings parted and a tall man in black clothing stood menacingly in front of a table. His eyes glitted narrowly as he surveyed his throbbing coven. His voice when he spoke was a hoarse whisper and my senses reeled as I heard the words that he spat forth…’Eyes down for a full house’.

Impressive, no?

More nonsense soon!

(Dial Tone)

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