So for the past three weeks, I’ve been immersed in a stand-up comedy boot-camp.
For those that know me, comedy is my passion. I’ve been performing for about three years and as terrifying as it is, I keep going back for more.
When I finally took the plunge to perform and write comedy so began a pivotal chapter in my life:
It made me finally feel at home in my adopted country.
It’s allowed me to unleash many creative dreams and find a group of beautiful weirdos that I now call friends.
I’ve always loved comedy: live, TV, or simply just listening to funny mates with a knack for spinning a witty yarn.
I’m not picky, it doesn’t matter. I’m a comedy slut.
Comedy ignites something special for me. It’s the ultimate human connection, that shared ‘a-ha’ moment of “yeah I know what you mean” that makes me feel alive and makes my life have that rosy glow.
But I never thought in a million years that I would have the balls to perform.
Then, three years ago one of my dearest friends lost her beautiful, cherished daughter to cancer.
Words can’t do a tragedy of this magnitude justice. I won’t even attempt to convey in words what it’s like to be a bystander to a nightmare that doesn’t switch off.
I can’t and won’t even attempt to write about what losing Isobel was like for her family.
All I will say is, I’ve never seen people I love face a loss like it.
In the wake of that: watching people you love try to regroup, look ahead, find a way forward, I took stock of my own life.
In a helpless situation, with no way to help, I decided the only way to honour Isobel was to show up in my own life. Because every new day I got was a chance.
I didn’t want to fritter any of my days away.
I vowed to try harder, to make it count.
Don’t get me wrong. My self- accountability doesn’t change a fucking thing.
I’m not for one moment pretending it does. But as Oscar Wilde says:
So instead of letting my inner critics tell me I was not good enough to try, I ignored them.
Instead of allowing the little voices in my head to stop me, I decided that if I was here, I would have a fucking go.
And so I have.
I’m not saying I’m any good at stand-up, but that’s besides the point.
Even if it just makes me happy, isn’t that success enough?
So last night was my last comedy boot camp class. I came away with a new routine, friendships forged and a new chapter in my book of life that hopefully I will look back on fondly one day, many years from now.
A chapter I shall probably call “The chapter I said fuck, a fuck of a lot”.
As we were having a post-class drink (best thing about comedy is that people aren’t afraid of a mid-week bevvy) is that while we we’re all surmising about our post-show nerves, it struck me that this beautiful little interlude is almost over.
That hanging out with this glorious bunch of funnymakers, twice a week, is nearly done.
So today, instead of feeling all jittery, antsy and eating my own weight in bagels from stress, I am trying to enjoy the experience.
I’m dancing to records that make me smile, like this one:
And this one:
Or this one:
And tonight, when I get on the stage, hopefully I’ll make people laugh a little.
Hopefully, I will remember to take a moment to remember that taking chances in life is fun.
And even if I suck, it’s all good. I’m bloody lucky that I get the opportunity to show up and re-write this chapter again tomorrow.
Well – as long as I don’t drink my own weight in gin at the post-show party, of course.