|On the subject of things that scare me…|
Last year when I was on the Young Endeavour a guy called Matt gave me some advice.
He said that what I should do is sit down and work out what it is that scares me. Have a little dig around inside my soul and discover what I’m really, properly afraid of.
And then do that.
Matt’s afraid of highs and drowning. So he took up rock climbing and joined the navy.
I’ve tried really hard to live my life by this rule since. To do the things that scare me.
It has served me well so far. Now there’s a little voice in my head that, when a situation arises which causes terror of one kind or another to rise, says ‘You know you have to do it now right?’
But there’s still one big thing on that list. Something I’m still too afraid to do- stand-up.
People often ask me if I do, or are considering, stand-up. As someone who writes comedy people tend to assume its one or the other. People spend so much time assuming things.
The idea of performing my own jokes is, without exaggeration, almost the most terrifying thing I can possibly imagine.
About a year ago, while I was doing a block with GNW, I got up the courage to open a word document with the intention of committing to paper some of the half jokes floating around my head. When I tried to type these fragments out I began shaking so hard that I couldn’t use the keyboard. Seriously. The very thought sent me into a moderate panic.
But here’s what I don’t understand- it shouldn’t scare me.
I love public speaking. I’ve even written speeches that were funny. My high school debating exploits began with my performance at the Grafton City Eisteddfod in year 8.
The topic was ‘when I grow up’ and I wrote a speech about never wanting to grow up and why, by extension, five year olds have it easy. It featured mental images of me in tutus and likened the belief in fairies and Santa to religion. People laughed. In fact people laughed a lot and I won a small crappy trophy for best prepared speech.
Plus writing jokes makes me happy. Sitting alone with a newspaper article and a computer is one of my favourite ways to spend time. I look forward to those rare days.
So let’s recap. I love speaking in public. I love writing jokes. Stand-up comedy makes me want to run away and hide under the blankets.
Here’s the difference though. During a speech being funny is optional. Its ok to be a little bit funny. And if something which could have been a joke falls flat, you can always pretend that it wasn’t so much a joke as a witty remark. It wasn’t supposed to make you laugh, what are you talking about?
Basically I want to try stand-up simply because it terrifies me.
I can’t help thinking that logic might be seriously flawed.