Posts Tagged ‘standup comedy’

I recently signed up to perform at an amateur comedy night. And bombed. Big time.

I don’t know what possessed me to do it – boredom with the usual routine, mid-life crisis or latent masochism – but the moment Vir Das’ company announced their HAMateur night open mike, I dashed off an email asking them to include me in their list of performers. Silly, right? Wait, it gets sillier. And then I actually went ahead with it!

Of course, I had my usual panic attack in the morning where I went, “Omigod! Omigod! Omigod! I can’t do this.” And my friend said, “Why?” “Can’t you see, I’m having a bad hair day!” And she went, “Oh, and I thought it’s because you suck at delivering jokes.”

Of course, ‘you suck at delivering jokes’ turns what was essentially a mild performance anxiety into a full blown self esteem issue, in order to overcome which she insisted that I had to perform as originally planned. I had to face my fears in order to feel good about myself. “So,” I said, “let me get this straight. I have to stand on stage, with a spotlight fixed on me, bombing in front of a room full of people…yeah, I can see how that’ll make me feel good about myself!”

You know, I have an issue with this whole facing your fears business. Why do we always have to face our fears in order to overcome them? They should have a pill or something, which when you pop, miraculously cures your mind of all fears. Wait a minute, they do – amphetamines.

This, in case you missed the point of the rant, subtle as it was with all the italicizing, was the content.

Oh, and I almost forgot about the opening joke: Isn’t it stupid how 4-5 swine deaths have the whole city running in a panic, covering their faces with masks. And yet, a million people have died of AIDS and they’re still not wearing condoms.

My phone beeped a message just now. It was someone texting me the very same joke! Damn, now I can see why I bombed.

Seriously, the content was fine. My delivery sucked. And that’s because I chose to gesticulate at the wrong time. As a result, I moved the mike away from my mouth and people missed the punch line.

 Still, I did what I have always dreaded – public speaking. The most difficult kind of public speaking. That ought to mean something, right? Wrong, it means nothing to me. I hate the fact that I bombed.

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I caught the Comedy Store show last night at the Grand Maratha Sheraton. To be honest I was in quite a dilemma whether to go or not. For one, it was the French Open final and two the tickets were price at 2000 bucks!

But then I thought, going by the women’s finals, the men’s final match was going to be a damp squib anyway. Besides it wasn’t as though Nadal was going to be there. By the way, congrats, Roger.

About the tickets, 1000 bucks was for the performance and the other 1000 bucks was for two drinks and snacks. Being the cheap Indian that I am, I figured I’d go and order the most expensive booze and stuff myself with snacks thereby doing away with the need for dinner. Besides, anything remotely related to writing is research and tax deductible. So an evening of enjoyment and a chance to cheat the government! Bring it on!

And the money was totally well-spent. As soon as I entered the venue, I made a beeline for the bar which was already quite crowded. The frazzled bartenders worked like dervishes but it was clear they were hopelessly backed up and people had been waiting for their drinks for well over half an hour. Then one enterprising guest jumped behind the bar to lend the harassed bartenders a hand.

But it was clear he was unfamiliar with the act of pouring drinks. He asked me what I wanted. I said, “I wanted a Mojito, but please, anything remotely alcoholic will do.”

“Rum and coke?” he said.

“Yes, yes…please!”

He then proceeded to pour a double shot into the glass and looked around for coke. After frantic scrambling for two minutes, it was discovered that they’d run out of coke. He met my eyes in a shifty kinda way and anticipating an explosion coming on, he poured another double shot into the glass. Like now I’m not going to miss the mixer…and you know what he was right! And to make a salubrious situation better, they lost track of the drinks coupons and everyone got an extra drink. Boy, the evening was looking up already.

To come back to the show, it totally rocked. Sean Meo was the emcee and opened the show. He was really funny, although I found his clipped British accent a bit difficult to follow so missed a few. He was followed by Paul Tonkinson.

Tonkinson’s act was very high energy and very physical. He’s a very good performer but I found his preoccupation with sex and blow jobs a bit tiresome after a while. I bet he’ll have something to say about that. Something regarding my sexual repression or something like that. That’s a laugh. One only has to read my book to know he’s absolutely right!

Ian Stone followed. Him, I actually liked quite a lot. He walked on and straightaway asked, “Any Jews out there?” Not unexpectedly, no hands were raised. He then asked, “What about Muzzies? Any Muzzies out there?” Pin drop silence. People shocked out of their wits.

“Boy, the tension is palpable,” he said and the room cracked up.

All in all a class act. We need more of those.

Oh, I also caught Star Trek but since I hated the new James Tiberius Kirk, I bumped him off in favour of Sean, Paul and Ian.

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