Today I begin my foray into the world of 'blogging', or as my Nanna Ede, RIP, would have no doubt described it, typing my diary onto the TV. Or something.
As I have spent the last eight months breaking into the cut-throat world of stand-up comedy, I decided that I should start to record my experiences of it, and my life in general, on a daily basis. This will not be for anything as noble as catharsis, more as a means by which I can look back over the events of the previous months and in so doing, hopefully glean something of comedic value from my ramblings. This may form the basis of future routines. These may make people laugh. This, in turn, may make promoters happy. Consequently, they may feel obliged to offer me more than my current going rate of a free bottle of Carlsberg per twenty minutes of performance. (As a lot of my current work involves sets of ten minutes, I often have to drink-share (0.5), with other struggling comics.)
On Wednesday I gigged at the Theatr Brycheiniog in Brecon. I did a 20 minute set, during which I ruminated on, among other things, The Royal Welsh Show and the Parallympics. Specifically the former's policy of rewarding people for having the most shaggable livestock, and the latter's bizarre rules and regulations. I do occasionally worry that my rants will be misconstrued and that, for example, people hear the word 'wheelchair' at a comedy night and immediately see me as a reincarnation of Bernard Manning. This is certainly not the case. I even partook in a charity wheelchair basketball game in the 'Eighties. I did, however, take every opportunity to regularly stand up and 'stretch my legs' during the game, in case any of the 17 year old girls going to Dance Club at Barry Leisure Centre mistook me for an actual 'Wheelie' whilst walking past the basketball court on their way to the Dance Studio. I am all for raising money for a good cause, but, at the end of the day, I had only had sex with one girl at the time and I was keen to 'push on' from there. Remember that this was the 'Eighties, before Tanni Grey and Stephen Hawking. Wheelchairs were not sporty or geeky, just rubbish.
Thursday I took a similar set to the Coyote Bar in Swansea. The Coyote, home of Mad Dog Comedy is a very welcoming venue, run by the lovely Caro and Gregg and I once again enjoyed performing there. My wife's aunt made a comment after the show about the Parallympics that highlighted the refreshing honesty of a generation that matured before Political Correctness was inflicted upon us all. She said that she felt sorry for the Parallympians. I explained that they did not want her sympathy. She was a little distressed by this and at pains to point out that it was only certain events that she found upsetting, and that 'usually I laugh at them as much as the next person'. On second thoughts, maybe some Political Correctness is a good thing.
Friday was interesting. I compered the opening night of comedy at a new venue in Hay-on-Wye. The alarm bells went off when, before a bit I did on The Green Man Festival, at which I'd peformed in the summer, I asked the audience to raise their hands if they were vegetarian. I was expecting the usual groan of effort as one or two pasty arms were lifted. However, I was stunned and appalled, in equal measure, as approximately two thirds of the people present lifted one sixth of the total number of arms present. Undeterred I ploughed on, but the opening gambit covering eating lamb and the Canadian seal cull, fell on stony ground. Luckily, as I was compering, I knew that I would have two more chances to redeem myself that night. Unluckily, my habit of doing a new routine three times to see which lines work best before I edit it, meant that the lovely liberal, countryside-loving, people of Hay-on-Wye were next treated to amputation-based humour, before I attempted to gain the freedom of the town by basically claiming that farmers, several of whom were in attendance, were sexually attracted to animals. And their own sisters. Ho hum.
Saturday I spent the day 'writing' and avoiding my neighbour, Beelzebub*. 'Writing' increasingly means tidying the house so that I can clear my mind of everything other than the writing process, which is about to begin. As such I have the cleanest house in Cardiff, and have written in the region of 200 words in the last four months. At least in my mid-thirties I own a property and have a rapidly decreasing sex-drive. In my younger days, when I shared a house in University for example, I wasn't so fortunate. With no house to clean and a raging libido, putting off writing papers was accomplished almost solely by masturbation. By three in the morning I would be ejaculating compressed air from a penis which resembled that of a burns victim, or at least what I imagine a burns victim's penis would look like, (not that I ever have imagined that, until just now) before finally settling down to write solidly, sometimes until 3:15am.
On Sunday I performed at the Hawaiian. It was a good gig, which I shared with two of my favourite comedy chums, the diminutive Elis James and the Shipman-esque Ben Partridge. Elis and Ben never fail to amuse me, and in some ways I look upon them as the sons that I would be quite disappointed with on the physical level, but proud of mentally. The money they would cost me in music lessons, glasses and braces, would be offset by the tremendous savings I would make by not having to pay for rugby boots, judo fees and adult-sized clothes, which routinely have VAT at 17% added. As usual their comedy was out of the top drawer, and as I was on first it was nice to be able to sit back, have a beer and be entertained. When I am on at, or near, the end of the night it is difficult to relax. It is getting better though. At first I would be fairly insufferable for most of the day if I was performing in the night. Nowadays I am just a bit of an arse for about an hour before I go on. I should clarify that and say that nowadays I am just a bit more of an arse than I usually am, for about an hour before I go on.
Anyway, I'd better go and write some comedy. Those dishes aren't going to clean themselves.
* I will expand upon the mysterious Beelzebub in the near future, assuming that he doesn't incapacitate me in some diabolical way in the meantime.