My Stand-Up Comedy challenge – Part Two Approaches

I’ve gone and done it!

I’ve arranged to return to London on 21 May to complete part Two of my Stand-up comedy challenge! Part One was a weekend course where I learnt to move a mic without it falling over, got to spout rubbish, found out about set-up punch and had a go at writing and delivering it.

Part Two will involve doing a 3 minute slot in front of an audience, instead of just the other members of the course, at Up The Creek, in Greenwich. Only friends and family of course members are invited, and I’m very pleased that my friend Sharon, who lives in London is going to come. She’s also volunteered to film my debut, so provided it doesn’t go too badly, I’ll be able to post that film. I kind of hope the film is all shaky because she’s laughing…

I wanted to complete the challenge on a personal level to show myself and others I could do it. But also, if I don’t complete it, then the scenes in The Dare Club where my character Colette takes to the stage won’t be so authentic.

I’ve been very inspired by peoples’ reactions to me doing this too – so thank you, everyone!

ImageMy empty stage awaits!

Here’s one of my gags to be going on with. (All lies, by the way, and I hope you don’t mind its moderately saucy nature).

One of my ex-husband was a trombone player. It was exhausting. He was in out, in out, all the time.

http://www.margaretkjohnson.co.uk

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Reaching the Heights Then Tarzan-swinging off Them!

Huzzah! I successfully completed the Tree Top Challenge at Go Ape yesterday!

Here’s me before the start, looking very unglamorous next to an ape sculpture.

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I’m very proud of myself because I did the whole course, not even chickening out at the very scary Tarzan Swing plummet. There was an easier option here, and I nearly succumbed to its temptation – it was only the encouragement of my partner and total strangers around me that made me do it! Thanks, guys!

I’m relieved that, physically, I only have slightly aching arms to show for it all.  🙂

Here’s the certificate, as proof!

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I did it as research for The Dare Club – the book I’m writing. My characters, who meet at a divorced and separated course, are challenging themselves to do things they find scary. It’s partly a distraction, to stop them thinking about their changed circumstances, but they also just want to test themselves to see what they can do. And have fun too, of course!

I could never have imagined what it would feel like to do The Tree Top Challenge without having done it. Obviously, I thought it would be frightening at times, and I hoped it would be exhilarating too. The pre-course training was excellent and inspired confidence as far as it could – all essential details for writing about it.

Here’s me, post training, setting off for the tree tops!

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There’s nothing like the reality of taking your first leap off a platform towards a Tarzan net and then finding out that you need quite a lot of strength in your arms to climb up to the next platform (and not been completely sure that you have enough strength to do it…) Or walking across a bit of flimsy rope high up in the sky. Fortunately, I’m not scared of heights, and this is obviously a distinct advantage!

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Another good thing is that I never need do the Tree Top Challenge again! But I think I’ve certainly developed a taste for challenging myself. It makes you feel really alive when you successfully achieve something scary – something a bit out of your comfort zone.

My next challenge for The Dare Club is to imagine my characters turning up at Go Ape. How will they be feeling? Will one of them emerge as a natural leader? Will they work well together as a group? I don’t think I’ll make it easy for them. I think they might get lost on the way and turn up at the last minute in a fraught state, blaming each other for being late. Something like that. My partner and I were so worried about being late, we had an hour and a half to kill. Yes, an hour and a half! That’s seriously punctual, and very dull, I realize! Ha ha!

Bring on the next challenge! I’m ready!

Book Research – how far would you go?

In the name of research for my novel The Dare club, I have just booked to go to Go Ape to do their Tree Top Challenge in a couple of weeks time. Now I’m not scared of heights, but I’m not exactly the muscle-bound fitness freak type of person either. My exercise is generally restricted to taking the dog out between bouts of typing at my my desk. And it’s not that I haven’t got a good imagination, because I think I have – my stint at the comedy club kind of proved that for me. I don’t know where half that stuff came from! But… I’m not sure how well I could write about the challenge of hurtling through the air high up in the treetops on a Tarzan swing unless I’d done it.

OK, so my characters could dare each other to knit the world’s longest scarf, but it doesn’t pack the same kind of punch, does it? I wanted to have a go at abseiling  and I might yet. But the only opportunity I could find in the next few weeks was a sponsored challenge to abseil down a 150 metre tower in Norwich, and as I’ve never done it before, that seemed a little too much. I mean, I’m not mad.

Or am I? I’ll let you know!

What lengths have you gone to in the name of research? I’d love to know.

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