Fight Comic

Every month I get up on stage, and I make somebody laugh. I don’t always make everyone laugh, but I’ve been lucky enough to get a laugh at least once in each of those evenings so far in 2013.

I’d really do things better if I had more time doing things. But such is the lament of every comedian. I have to fight against the conflicting demands of a job, a wife, an uphill battle against an expanding waistline, and a nagging feeling that I should be better at bettering myself. I suppose once a month is better than not at all every month.

This was my eighth attempt at Fight Comic, and my least prepared. Usually I know on the Monday that I’ll be performing on the Thursday, and I have a few days to clear my head and think about the show. This time, what with jet lag and not even being in Singapore until Tuesday (being bent so far out of shape with jet lag that I could look over both shoulders meant Monday didn’t count), I only had today to think of funny things, in the gaps between moving blocks of data around a computer. Thus I was stressed, surly and uncommunicative when I met my wife for dinner beforehand. It felt like my priorities were out of whack.

I had also invited a friend from work to come along, which was a risk. Would the night be horribly offensive? Would I be horribly offensive? Would I be knocked out first? Would the room be stony-faced and silent?

That last worry came true. The first half struggled to achieve escape velocity, and even the start of the second half felt brutal; the front row looked either bored, confused or angry and I was fairly incapable of speech. That is unhelpful in a situation where people have paid to hear you say things that are funny.

Finally though I hit my stride. It was too late to escape elimination, but I felt I did myself proud on the Set List From Hell round. For topics I had a couple of sitters, like Tequila Conquistadores, that I could run amok with, and I think I’m capable now of improvising quite well through that. Other rounds where there’s a lot more quick-thinking to be done I can struggle, but give me space for a shaggy dog story and I’m in my element.

Then I could retire beaten, knowing I’d done enough. Somebody had laughed, at least once.

The nice thing about Fight Comic is that members of the audience often come up to you afterwards to tell you how funny you were.

Balm for a possible bruised ego is good to have, along with feedback like being told you have an incomprehensible accent. Which isn’t really news, but it’s a useful reminder, and if you’re being told you’re funny by somebody who’s also telling you that they don’t understand you, then you’re receiving a pretty great compliment. Then he told me he liked me because we both had wives, and I remembered that I had to rush home: she shouldn’t be a comedy widow this close to our nativity sequence.


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