Standing-Up: The Documentary (7)

A quick blog update.

If there’s one lesson I learned from last night’s ‘King Gong’ at the Comedy Store it is that there is comedy and comedy and comedy and comedy and not everyone laughs at the same thing (not that anyone at all laughed at anything I said).

It is true that any ‘gong’ competition would suit, in the words of my buddy, James Redmond, ‘one-line comics’ (and therefore a bit ‘outdated’) – rather than ‘anecdotalists’ (apparently like myself and ‘very modern’!) … but I learned much more from last night’s experience, too.

When I started this blog-journey of the stand-up circuit to coincide with Frank Blunt’s documentary film crew following me around (and because a friend suggested there might be material for a future non-fiction/observational book), I had no idea how it would develop, but the more comedy I witness, watch, follow and try to physically participate in, the more it fascinates me – and the more I am learning about myself. And if that sounds profound then … well, it’s because it is profound. I am also doing as much background reading about the comedy circuit as possible (at the moment I’m reading 3 or 4 books simultaneously) – and one book in particular that is fascinating me is by Stewart Lee – comparing the old ‘working-men’s-club comics laughing at Pakistanis, poofs and their wives’ mothers’ … how Alternative Comedy became mainstream-commercial comedy … the ‘after-fart of the fifties and sixties Oxbridge satire boom’ … ‘posh kids touring a Cambridge Footlights show … still dressed in matching outfits and singing funny songs about the news at the piano’ … it’s a wonderful read.

But there’s something I am convinced about: I do not believe that any comedian stands up and tries to say anything that they do not believe is funny themselves. That is my theory. Please remember that as I try to explain …

I don’t find paedophilia funny so I would not be able to stand up and make jokes about it. I’m not sure if I could make jokes about AIDS, 9/11, Freddie Mercury, Marvin Gaye’s dad, Stevie Wonder, the Holocaust, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists … blacks, whites, or people with ginger hair … but I’m hearing and seeing a lot of it, night in, night out.

After being gonged off last night after 1 minute, 47 seconds (that still put me 9th out of 30 of us), Frank took me to one side – although I’m not sure if his film crew got it or not. ‘I don’t think you should give a fuck about it, Tim, lad,’ he said. ‘In fact as I suggested at one point, I don’t think you should have even done it. It’s not what you’re about … in my opinion most of the “comedians” were shit … and any self respecting comedian wouldn’t put themselves through such an unfair ordeal where at the end people were gonged off just for cheap laughs which for me was rather predictably dull. What you need to concentrate on doing is defining your persona and creating a 40 minute act for the future … ’

I’m beginning to really warm to Frank.
I now have to rush.
Am off to The Cavendish Arms for an open-mic spot …

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