Saturday, December 12, 2009

Get up stand up

Regular readers will have noticed I do a bit of public speaking as part of my job. I enjoy it and try and do new things all the time. Occasionally I tell the odd story, or short joke, but it's always secondary to the main event and core message.

When I heard that Richard Bacon was going to do a night at Edinburgh as a stand up comedian I was full of admiration. I think stand up looks incredibly hard and was interested in what he went through.

Well, last night I had a go myself. Admittedly, 110 people at Marple Cricket Club was not quite an open mic session at a comedy club, but I think it went OK.

My role was to just do a few bits of housekeeping to welcome people to our junior football club Christmas party for parents and supporters, no kids. After dinner, my pal Jason Isaacs was going to be performing with his band A Few Good Men, so the least I could do was put a smile on people's faces to get the evening off to a happy start.

I had the routine worked out: pepper the housekeeping announcements with gags and a few stories about being a football parent.

I started with some short tales about some of the rough arsed places we go to for away matches and a few friendly jibes at local rivals - paying off with an old old gag that some people hadn't heard before.

Next I moved on to golf - we have a club golf day at the same venue - I thanked the bloke who organises it - didn't get much from him and remembered that I just don't know him well enough to take the piss out of his business - which I did consider - but moved on quickly. Quick Tiger Woods quip which was mistimed and misjudged. Move on quickly.

Next, the open goal. The club secretary is a mine of material - Scouser, attractive younger wife, nice bloke, lost weight recently. Kept going for a while with this, lot of laughs. Really pleased, was on a roll here. People seemed surprised and happy.

The finale was an amended joke I've seen done with expert precision by Ted Robbins. So I've introduced people, said thanks, name dropped a Bryan Robson story, so people think it could be possible that we really do have a special guest. I take off my specs. Cough, look nervous and serious and ask for hush. "Ladies and gentlemen, tonight we have a special surprise guest. He's a local sporting legend, he's fought in Manchester and Las Vegas, he's held world titles, he usually walks out into bigger rooms than this to the chimes of Blue Moon, but tonight let's give a warm Marple welcome to our special *surprise* guest tonight.... Ricky "the Hitman" Hatton."

This will either die on its arse, or people will believe it. They look round, they applaud. There are gasps.

I put my glasses back on. And I say, squinting at the table by the door: "Oh dear. I'm sorry love."

Bingo. It works. The best and biggest laugh of the night. I love this. What an incredible feeling. Time to end, quit now on a high. Thank them for their time, encourage them to give generously.

This may not count as a "thing to try before you die" but it was a nerve wracking experience and something new for me. I'd like to have another go, in another environment, and will work on more stories. 'Ave it!

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