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Three Men Walk Into A Bar

I missed last week due to tonsillitis. The really good kind the doctor won’t give you anything for. Hot drinks and rest is the beacon of wisdom I got. Fantastically helpful when swallowing your own spit is a victory and you’ve dreamt of little other than salt and pepper chips for nearly a week. That two hour wait in the walk-in centre was certainly worth it. I’d have loved a doctor’s appointment of course but the next available one was in 2032. Unless it was an emergency. In which case, they’d suggest calling an ambulance. Brilliant.

But here I am. Raspy but alive. Delighted because week three of the comedy course was absolutely wonderful. I was not prepared. I had just about returned to a functioning human the night before and suddenly the evening was upon us. You’d think maybe over a week in quarantine doing sweet fack all, I might at least give a moment’s thought to my routine. But no. I felt watching old episodes of Cold Feet with 3 tonnes of ice cream soup was a more prudent use of my time. One might say I deserved to crash and burn, one would be correct. I was sat in the room sipping tea before it dawned on me that everyone around me was holding a notebook or some semblance of a script. A general iota of what they were going to say when they stood up in a matter of moments, existed. I marvelled for a few seconds at what a complete waste of space I was. Two weeks to write something and here I am drinking brews as if they’re rationed at home (at the moment they rather are actually) with a plan almost as solid as poor ole Theresa Mays. What.a.moron.

I mean I do have a few stories. Unless you’ve spent each day in solitary confinement since birth, who doesn’t? But I didn’t have a ‘routine’, and I was suddenly very aware of how many people around me did. But when the first chap got up and did his bit, it took a bit of the pressure off. He was essentially telling stories from his life. They were absolutely hilarious, which is why I didn’t fully relax. (Tough act to follow, cheers for that) But it was all very natural so I decided to go down that route. Laughing away to my heart’s content as each person got up until I realised I was coming up soon. Gone in sixty seconds. That’s what I was. Suddenly very aware of how many cups of tea I’d had in my final hour of work. Intensive prayer to the highest powers that I wouldn’t violently chunder all over myself began. It was just mad. How just HOW does your state of mind go from been ‘I’m having such a lovely time’ to ‘excuse me, could you please run me over with your car?’ The art of falling apart. That’s what I’d call my autobiography if I ever do anything that would justify such a thing. And Soft Cell weren’t so ahead of their time. I was going to announce that I’d have to excuse myself as I was just in the intermediate stages of a nervous breakdown. I refrained. I knew I’d be annoyed with myself if I didn’t at least try to steady myself. I went to the bathroom instead. (Locked the door this time, progress.) Splashed cold water on my face and had a stern word. It half worked. The overwhelming urge to be sick had subsided. I still felt like a very silly sausage indeed for coming in so unprepared, but the heart rate was normalising. A mini victory for this little whopper.

Back in the room we go. No sooner had my arse hit the seat when I had to get up. Did a quick scan of the room and noticed that unsurprisingly, people were waiting for me to say something. So I said a few bits and pieces, and then a few more. Somebody laughed, and actually, nobody died. Including myself! So, I thought, this is what it feels like to be a star. This rush you get after talking to eight people for two and a half minutes. This is why the celebrities must do it. It sounds like I’m been sarcastic, not at all. I could hardly stay seated for the rest of the class I was so completely thrilled with myself. But I managed it. Out of every act in the world, it is the one that comes most natural to me after all.

I did learn my lesson however, 3 bullet points is not a script. If you are someone that struggles with speaking in a formal setting or in front of people, do not turn up to a beginner’s comedy course with nothing prepared. It’s not like secondary school where you don’t do your English homework and have to come up with a bit on why Ophelia was such an insufferable arse in Hamlet ad lib. It’s, considerably more humiliating. You feel bad and more importantly, you look like a right Donald. So this weekend on the longest train journey in the world I’m going to write my routine. Or at least change the start of it from THREE MEN WALK INTO A BAR to something with a bit more sophistication. It can only get better from here really. I shall post next week and see if I’ve followed through with any of this big talk. Thanks For Reading :) Laura

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