Being funny is frankly, a ridiculous way to make a living.
Which is a thought I have fairly regularly – mostly when I am backstage and occasionally and more worryingly, when I am on stage.
And given that public speaking is the greatest phobia of them all – most people try to avoid giving a speech and especially so a funny one.
Unless they are asked to be Best Man as I was this weekend.
The pressure was palpable and grew on the day with every time I heard – ‘looking forward to your speech mate.’ And a few people adding something like – ‘you’d better be funny’ or ‘this will be a walk in the park for you I suppose?’
Doing a stand up set has its perils – but a comic will know his act. Know where the laughs are. Know where and what links to use and any new bits he intends to slip in.
But a Best Man speech is all new. Nothing is tried and tested. Even the room is unfamiliar and at least half the audience as well. And then there’s the age disparity. Babies who can’t speak, toddlers who can’t stop speaking to grandparents who might piss themselves whether I’m funny or not?
Not to mention that the audience were standing up and the speeches were pre-dinner. Plus my wife and kids are there.
Plus I had a father of the bride who spoke well – too bloody well for my liking. Comedians don’t like preceding acts to do well – so backstage, when we say to each other – ‘have a good one’ – we don’t really mean it. What we really mean is, I hope you die on your arse. And father of the bride then gave way to a much loved groom who had a slam dunk of a gig and then me…
What stupid job I have as I grabbed the microphone and got on with it.
Afterwards, people are very generous and kind.
Actually, compliments are coming in thick and fast and all is well with the world – until a well-to-do chap approaches…
‘Bloody hell, that was fab.’
‘Oh, well, thank you very much.’
‘No, I mean it. Bloody funny. Really bloody funny. So funny in fact, that you could have been a stand up…’
At this I walk away.
I am a stand up and obviously, not a terribly successful one if…