Misinformed, angry, coffee-addled ranting.
First of all, I should probably apologise for the lack of content recently. As well as being generally busy, I’ve had the cheek to become, if not content, then at least apathetic towards other humans and the stupid things they do, and as such I’ve had nothing to write about.
Second of all, I should probably clarify that despite the title, this article is not about me losing my virginity in an Indian restaurant, as amusing as that would be. For one thing, that’s not true, and for another, my grandparents occasionally read this site and thus a description of my genitals in dangerously close proximity to a jalfrezi would only prove disturbing on many levels.
No, what the title refers to is what happened to me this past Sunday night, an incident that shall forever be remembered as the single most daunting, pants-shittingly terrifying event of my entire life; save for the time I accidentally saw the penis of a neo-nazi in a gym changing room and he caught my eye.
Inspired partly by a comment left on one of my articles some time ago and partly by my wanton rampaging ego I decided,
bravely naively and foolishly to sign up for a ‘Gong Show’ at an Open Mic Stand Up Comedy night. Gong shows consist of a comedian having an allotted amount of time to win the approval of the audience, before which a vote is taken as to whether they should continue. If they reach a given amount of time without being voted off, they’re in the final with a chance to win a prize. It’s like if Caesar ran Britain’s Got Talent.
I am currently in the midst of applying for a place on a Teacher Training course, and was once jokingly told that anyone considering such a career should try stand up first, since standing in front of a roomful of children will seem a breeze compared to that.
I can only hope that is the case, as come the day of the show I became a walking bag of nerves, genuinely terrified that any slightly unexpected occurrence would cause me to collapse to the floor in a quivering whimpering heap. A woman at a bus stop sneezed next to me and for a moment I thought my rectum would give way and empty the entire contents of my insides over the pavement.
Still, that evening I made my way along with my girlfriend to the venue, which was a function room above an Indian restaurant. It may have sounded an odd choice for a comedy night, but both the venue and the promotion were very well respected on the comedy scene and had previously played host to the likes of Sarah Millican and Jim Jeffries… although the fact that I was now on the bill suggests things may have started going rapidly downhill in recent years.
After arriving at the venue and greeting the promoter, a quick scan of the audience reminded me that I wouldn’t just be reciting anecdotes in front of a mirror, but in front of real functioning humans with mouths that can boo and hands that can throw things. Whatever it was I’d been expecting before arrival I’m not sure, but the realisation that a lot of the audience were actual adults with actual jobs and responsibilities left me in a panic as to the suitability of my material. I had horrible visions of impending doom, of fire and brimstone, of plagues of locusts, but mostly of me awkwardly telling jokes to a room full of silent disapproval.
At any rate, the visualisations of horror and bloodbath were enough for me to ask my girlfriend if she’d very kindly leave to avoid having to witness it; like sending a child to their grandparents to spare them having to see their dog being put down.
Time passed and the schedule was determined. I chatted to some of the other acts, most of whom were lovely, some of whom were amongst the oddest most disturbing nutjobs I’d ever met. I like to think this was a result of nerves. Mostly because if not, I’m not sure I’d ever be able to sleep again. The group ranged from people doing their second and third gigs to performers who’d travelled from Australia and America and had years of experience.
Eventually, after sitting through acts ranging from the very poor to the absolutely-fucking-brilliant, it was my turn. The compère very kindly introduced me to the audience with the disclaimer attached that this was my first gig and that whilst they should perhaps bear this in mind, they were still more than welcome to vote me off if I was shit. I was a ‘Comedy Virgin’ ready to be ‘Deflowered’ apparently, probably the most ominous description ever used in the realm of stand up.
The performance itself was a blur. I remember my absolute shock at making it through the full five minutes without a single ‘no’ vote. I remember seeing a group of sixty-somethings laughing at a joke about vaginas. I remember running out of material with about half a minute left despite having always run over whilst rehearsing it.
Soon enough it was over and I was in the final, which was won by the aforementioned absolutely-fucking-brilliant one-liner comic from Australia. I had no regrets though, since my only intention at the start of the evening had been not to soil myself in front of people.
I would like to say that the experience has changed me, that I’ve become enlightened and discovered things about myself I never knew before. That would be a lie.
I have however crossed something off the bucket list. I had an awesome experience. But mostly, I now have an anecdote about me losing my virginity in an Indian Restaurant and finishing significantly earlier than intended. Bollocks.