November 7th 2020
Up early for a long ride, I took up cycling in early July thanks to my oldest mate Lew, he gave me one of his old bike and I fell in love with her. I try to ride most days, that hour or so, and more often than not it has become hours, on my own, with fresh air, a view and my thoughts have become incredibly valuable to me. Plus the added bonus of BMW drives who give me a chance to vent as well.
Yesterday I made my online debut. A ‘stand-up comedy show’ for the staff of ProspoHub. They are consultants in the digital business world. There were maybe a dozen of them. All of us onscreen and I was a nervous wreck. I reached thirty years trying to make complete strangers laugh out loud in March this year, yet here I am feeling nervous.
This was my fifth show since the middle of March, which in fairness is nothing to do with Covid 19, I am just not very good.
I was so nervous all morning, writing jokes about the staff, finding stuff from the act that I could use and completely forgetting that this isn’t my first comedy show, it’s only my first one to be performed on this platform. People always seem surprised when I admit to nerves, the power of the nerves changes from show to show. It can be for days as a performance looms, they can just be there on the morning of a show and, most of the time, they only show up as I am being introduced. However, the reason is always the same. I care. Someone is parting with money in order for me to make them laugh. I never believe entertainers who claim to never have nerves, they’re lying, or worse, they simply don’t care.
During the long intro from the CEO I can’t help but interrupt. a quip later and there is a laugh from everyone instantly relaxing me and we are off. I am due to do fifteen to twenty minutes and I reach the later with ease. I have fun, which means I know they have had fun. It worked out because I am a pro, I have put in the work and the Comedy God likes those of us who put in the effort. Once finished I leave the ‘room’ but can still hear the comments from the guys who are chattering away. Ita says ‘He only did five minutes.’ She seems disappointed, she doesn’t know she has just paid me the highest of compliments.
They’ve recorded the show and a version will be sent to me. I have done two things I never, hardly ever, do. I called my manager. ‘Chris, you sitting down, I just smashed my first ever online show.’ He listens to me worry about being good enough to do any show offered so this is a nice change for him!
I then popped onto Instagram and Twitter and boast to all my nine hundred and seventeen of my followers too. Look at me showing off. Unhappy to be perceived as a bragger I immediately edit both overly self-congratulatory posts and add the fact that I am now off for the third phase of a recent application to work at the Post Office. Yes, a real job, times are hard for everyone and my business has disappeared and needs must, bills need to be paid and, let’s not forget, I showed off earlier so I need to be bought back down to earth.
So off I trot to the main Post Office with three forms of identification and an email. There is no line as I walk into the branch clad in my mask and I am called up to the counter with no delay. Panicking now I am scrolling through emails and reaching into my pocket for the documents. I am giggling and clearly a little flustered, I make small talk while explaining to the guy why this is his fault.
‘I am applying for a job at the Post Office. I was expecting there to be a queue giving me ample time to find what I needed.’
He smiles, he knows I am joking and his grin broadens when I find the email and react like I was the first to reach the South Pole. Excitedly I show him the email, he says
‘I need the barcode.’
‘There isn’t a barcode.’ I protest and scroll down the email as he instructs me to.
He is smiling and shaking his head as he now asks for the last four numbers from my National Insurance card and helpfully suggests that I just show it to him instead of trying to work out those last few digits myself. Finally, he asks for my passport which I open and point in his direction. Looking at the picture inside and then up to my mask covered face, we both laugh!
‘I may not have convinced you that I am in any way skilled for this position but I have made you laugh consistently. That is surely an asset to any team!’
Guess I will find out in due course if I have been successful. That’ll be another day and another diary entry.
This diary lark is fun.
Shots Of Coffee: 3 I KNOW
Reading: Diaries Of A Bookseller by Shaun Bythall & Rollingstone Magazine
Listened to: Radio X & Talk Sport
YouTube Tip: Springsteen Learns A Song Live