The Internet sort of says I’m a comedian:
“One of Western Australia’s leading funny men, John Robertson will also be on the bill to MC the very first heat of Quest for the Best ’10, Australia’s richest open mic competition in which the eventual winner takes home $5000.
Contestants will be:
• Sue Thomas
• Kathy Smith
• James Colley
• Andrew Werczyk
• James Calabrese
• David Burke
• Sean Ticehurst
• Evan Ferguson
Word of the week is Elvis.
Tickets are $15 and available through Moshtix.
Show starts at 8pm.”
Go to http://www.comedyontherox.com.au/ to see it for yourself. The show is Feb 3rd (tomorrow).
As you can see, I have finally accomplished the almost impossible dream of having my name appear somewhere in the World Wide Web. How many of you can say the same? There does not seem to be a Wikipedia page on my yet, but I guess they are just doing background research on my childhood, and influences and whatnot. For now I’ll settle for my name appearing not on the real internet, but merely on the phony Australian “.com.au” internet. It is a start though, one day I’ll make it onto the “.com” internet.
This will actually be my 2.5ishth stand up performance, and I’ll really have to branch out for some new material on this one. My last 1.5ish gigs have featured a lot of jokes that directly insult (and intimidate) the venue in which I perform. You know… I’m pretty raw and out there. That’s just my style of comedy. Some people have been saying that I’m too real and that the general public isn’t ready for it, but that is the only way I know how to perform my art. Uncompromising, raw, fierce… merciless…… jackhammer.
My first half of a gig took place at my bar’s employee Christmas Eve party. After dinner I did about 10 minutes to the staff and managers of the bar. (note that there are almost no black people in Australia, but 3 black guys work at my bar) I opened with the line “Is this bar called Henry Africa’s because it employs the only black people in Australia?” This joke was received with general discomfort. I looked to the black guys, because if they laughed then everyone else would know it was okay to laugh… they were not laughing. So I decided to loosen up the crowd with a stock bar joke (mom stop reading now).
“Two condoms walk past a gay bar, the first condom turns to the second condom and says, ‘hey man, do you want to get shit faced tonight?’”
This joke went over much better, as it always does. Now that the crowed was warmed up I began systematically attacking all of the foreigners surrounding me. I mostly focused on the fact that there are no real Swedish people that work there. One of the Swedish guys is Iranian, and the other is like 5’5” and has dark hair. I also did my impersonation of a Swedish person. I simply recreate the Swedish Chef from the Muppets. I flail my arms in the air and say “shmerden florben globen glueben.” The only people who look Swedish are actually these three Danish people, and I made fun of them for being bargain-brand, knock-off Swedish. I then made fun of the management for buying all of these bargain-brand, knock-off pirate goblets that we use for some of our drinks on our tiki-themed Sundays (notice how I tied those two jokes together with the bargain-brand, knock-off idea. Just like a real comedian!). I explained how these pirate goblets looked like they were so cheap, that we found them in the rubbish bin (rubbish = garbage in Australia) behind a party store. I said that all the kids in Manly would start having their 9th birthday parties at Henry Africa’s, and that they would get a “neat-o” pirate goblet to take home in their goodie bag.
If you can imagine how awkward it was after my opening “black” joke, then multiply that by 100 and you have an idea of what it was like after that quip about the goblets. It was dead silent and everyone simply looked down at the floor as if they were pretending that they didn’t even hear what I said. I looked at the manager/owner (who bought the goblets and created the tiki night) and he gave me a look that made me about 60% sure I was going to be fired.
I then finished with a joke I have written for actual stand up about the difference between Breasts and Bosoms. I rant about how no girl has a bosom now, but all women have breasts. The breast is cold, and hands off, while the bosom was very functional and nurturing. That is the concept of the joke, and it is actually the one I preformed at my first real comedy gig.
My first real gig was at the Manly Boatshed. (See how I again tie stories together with these linking concepts? And to think that I have absolutely no professional training!) I did the bosom vs. breasts joke for about 3 minutes, but I opened with, you guessed it, two minutes of insulting the Manly Boatshed. The Manly Boatshed is like The Matrix in the sense that no one can be told what the Boatshed is, you have to see it for yourself. I would post pictures, but I broke my camera on my 23rd birthday, which is a different story entirely. So to imagine the Boatshed, just imagine a coal mine, imagine it being partially collapsed, and now add a small stage with a microphone. That’s it pretty much.
For 2 minutes I talked about how the Boatshed has found a niche as the exact opposite of all the other “beach bars” in Manly, since it has no natural light, beachfront views, no ocean breezes. I explained that the Boatshed was designed in a “snuff film” motif kind of like the bat cave, but without all of the cool stuff. I also explained that the qualifications you needed to work there are the exact same qualifications you have to meet to work as a dominatrix. All of these jokes actually went over really well. I also did an impersonation of an Australian that got huge laughs (I actually had to stand there waiting for it to die down so I could continue). Sadly, however, most of my bosom vs. breast joke was very poorly received.
So I experienced some of the exciting highs and lows of the stand-up comedy world, and I’ll let you all know how my gig goes tomorrow. I plan on making fun of Australia for competing with America for the title of the fattest country in the world. I have yet to begin practicing, and I’m predicting a massive failure.
Hopefully before I go on tomorrow I’ll get some help from the MC. Before I went on at the Boatshed I was at the bar with some friends having a few drinks to build up my confidence, and the MC came up to me and our conversation went like this:
MC: You’re James right?
MC: This is your first time doing stand up?
James: Yea. Any words of advice?
MC: You shouldn’t drink. It will not help you at all and it will only make you forget your lines.
James (as the MC walks away): Thanks for building up my confidence.
To top it all off, I had to be the first comedian on after the MC warmed up the crowd. The only funny thing that happened during his “warm up” was when the audience started heckling him. He was not funny at all, and after a particularly painful heckle he decided to bail and call me onto stage. He told everyone that it was my first time ever doing stand up, and then he did in impersonation of how nervous I must be and how tight my ass-hole was at that moment. I was not very happy with him. When I got on stage I thanked him anyways, because that is what I rehearsed doing, and I was so nervous that my heart was almost beating out of my chest, and I couldn’t think of anything else to do.
In conclusion, stand up is weird.
As always, there is much more to tell, but this blog post is already way too long and upon re-reading it is pretty terrible.
I’m going to go home now to:
a) put cream on the jelly fish sting I got surfing yesterday
b) put cream on the big patch of skin I’m now missing from my chest (I lost it surfing today)
c) figure out how to fix my camera
d) figure out how to get new house keys because I lost mine in the ocean today while I was… you can guess
e) buy more cream
I hate surfing,