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Blog: Stand-Up

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Monday was a day of EXCITING NEW VENTURES for me, as I was starting both a new course and a new DIET!

The DIET was the 5:2 Diet, also known as The Fast Diet, also known as The One That Everyone Is Doing At The Moment. "But Mark," you are doubtless saying, "you are so SVELTE, surely this is unnecessary?" but actually I have been feeling like a man wearing a man suit a bit lately, so thought I'd give it a go. Usually I find these fad diets STUPID (or in the case of Atkins, decidedly Not Suitable For Vegetarians!) but this one seemed quite sensible (don't eat a huge amount two days a week) and DO-ABLE (you can PLAN it!). Also everything I've read about it says "We really wanted to find something terrible about it, but haven't yet" and I know a TONNE of people who've done/are doing it who all seem to like it. Having said that, I don't necessarily want to slim down to SUPERMODEL SLENDERNESS like Mr T Pattison has lately!

So I thought I'd give it a go, and day one was FINE. I did spend a lot of time THINKING about food, but luckily I had a really bad back all day which took my mind off it, and when that wasn't working I got to do LISTS. I also had something else to take up my BRANE space: Stand-up comedy!

Towards the end of last year a part of my weekly meetings with Mr J Dredge would consist of us talking through his HOMEWORK for a stand-up comedy course he was doing. I THOROUGHLY enjoyed thinking up extra gags for this, so when he finished the course I was a bit disappointed. Also around this time I was attending a LOT of courses and events where ALL of the working writers were former stand-ups. It struck me that this might be a sensible thing to have a go at, if it could advance my CAREER and also, more likely, be quite good fun. To be honest, I've been thinking about having a go at stand-up for YEARS, so if nothing else it'll get it out of my system!

THUS I rolled up at The Old Coffee House in Soho at 7pm for Chris Head's Stand-Up course. There were about 15 other people there and we spent a very jolly two and a half hours going through some of the basics of stand-up (microphone technique, Rule Of Three), and doing some exercises (e.g. that one where you interview somebody else and then introduce them to the group). It was all very interesting - some of the stuff, like Rule Of Three, I knew already, but it was all very well put and clearly explained.

The most fun bit was (stand by to be AMAZED, People Who Know Me) when we got to stand up and SHOW OFF - sorry, I mean, get used to the microphone - in front of the rest of the group. We were encouraged just to talk for 90 seconds and engage with the audience, something which I do regularly between songs at gigs, often for MUCH longer and without actually being asked to. It was a LOT of fun and it made me wonder if this was the sort of thing i COULD do. I had to stick to the brief of talking about a Specific Topic ("food", given that I was DIETINNG!) but wanted to refer to things other people had said, which made me think about maybe trying some compereing again. I used to do it occasionally YEARS ago but always found it ANNOYING as I wanted to play my OWN gigs rather than introducing other people's, but maybe if I didn't have a guitar round my neck it'd be all right?

Anyway, as you can probably tell, it gave me MUCH to think about, and also some new comedy writing homework to do. Roll on next week!

posted 21/1/2015 by MJ Hibbett

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Yeah, go for it Mark! Compere, stand-up. Do the Leicester comedy festival next year if not this.
posted 21/1/2015 by Ruth PO!

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