My Stand-up Comedy Challenge


I’ve completed the first part of my stand-up comedy challenge!

On Saturday and Sunday I attended a weekend stand-up comedy course in New Cross, London.

As I went down the steps to the fringe comedy club, I was feeling excited and nervous at the same time. I’d been looking forward to doing the course, but would I be able to do it? Would I think of anything to say? Would people find me funny? Would I have to do what someone on Twitter advised me to do and strap an onion to my forehead to make people laugh at me?

I needn’t have worried. The course was really good fun, and I learnt loads – about writing and performing stand-up comedy, and also about myself. I’d wanted to do the course partly as research for my novel The Dare Club – and it was hugely useful for that. My brain is teeming with ideas! But I also wanted to do it to see what I was capable of – and that’s the bit that’s really going to stick with me.

Within minutes of the course starting, myself and the other 4 students learned how to use the microphone – something I’d never done. Not very long after this, we all found out what we looked like on the stage – the image we presented and how we came across. This started out by us saying how WE thought we looked and how we came across. It was very interesting to see how the others saw me. I’m apparently a bit hunched, and put my weight more on one leg than the other. I also have very long arms (I’m thinking a bit orangutan by now). But good news – the lines and face sagging I mentioned, were disagree with – huzzah!

One activity I particularly enjoyed was when we each took a turn to spout absolute rubbish into the microphone – on a subject we had about 5 seconds to think about. My imagination ran riot as I talked about why the French have banned Staffordshire Bull Terriers – (staffies are such good clothes designers that French doggies are leaving handbags across the land to run after the muscle bound hunks as they strut their stuff). It was great fun. And it’s amazing what you can come up with!

By the end of the weekend we all had 3 minutes of material which we had rehearsed in front of the group. The course tutor, Harry Denford, seemed to genuinely like my stuff, which did my ego a lot of good!

Stage 2 of my challenge, if I choose to accept it (and I really think I should, don’t you?) – is to return to London to deliver my 3 minutes’ worth to an audience.

“It’s a long way for 3 minutes,” I’ve been told, and yes, it is. But that’s missing the point, really, isn’t it? It’s a personal challenge. And also, a way of feeling really alive! Yay! Bring it on!

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13 thoughts on “My Stand-up Comedy Challenge

  1. This sounds like a fun challenge – not for me, for you! 😀 And it sounds as if you’re doing a great job at it. I’ll look forward to reading about it in The Dare Club.

  2. Pingback: My Stand-up Comedy Challenge | Facing 50 with humour.

  3. Carol, don’t forget to tell me when and where you are going to give stand-up comedy a go! I want to be in the audience!
    Brilliant idea, Margaret – I had no idea there were actual courses for this. I wish there was on nearby us so that Will could go.

  4. Thanks, Jacquie! It was nerve wracking, but in a good way for me. And a huge adrenalin rush. But give me a room full of strangers I’m supposed to make conversation with, now that’s nerve-wracking in a bad way! 🙂

  5. I loved reading this. Doing stand-up comedy would stop my heart the minute I hit the stage. How very cool that you are doing something you enjoy while researching for your book. I’m envious – in a good way! 🙂

    • Hi Maddie. Thanks for this! I’m able to imagine how my characters feel doing a lot of the dares they do, so fortunately, I don’t have to try them all! But I did feel I needed to do this one for it to seem authentic. Strangely, my age seemed to be an advantage – everyone else was a lot younger, so some types of humour which weren’t a surprise coming from them, were when they came from me! 🙂

  6. Pingback: My Stand-Up Comedy challenge – Part Two Approaches | Margaret K Johnson

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