In December 2014, friends of mine had just created Market Harborough’s first micro-pub and were looking for a big event to show the world what they were about. They decided upon a comedy night.
One of them said to me: “Dave, you can be quite funny. Why don’t you have a go?” Rather stupidly, I agreed. With only a month to write five minutes’ material, it was quite an ask. Thankfully, I managed to scribble a few things down on paper.
Because I’m local to the venue, I achieved a full house, although most of the audience wanted me to full flat on my backside. With several talented comedians on before me, I began to get a little nervous and probably drank a few too many pints of pop. Fortunately, it seemed to go okay, one joke notwithstanding, and I felt fantastic while I was up there. Lisa, my adorable wife, who’d been incredibly supportive, told me she was really glad it was over. Apparently, I’d been a miserable git of seismic proportions while I was worrying before the performance.
In November 2016, I magically woke up with three or four jokes, which I quickly scribbled down on paper. When I woke up in the morning, I realised I had half an act’s worth of new material. I rang the boys at the pub and told them I would be ready to perform at the now monthly event in January.
This time, my wife was not quite so supportive. The tetchiness and worry were back, though worse, and this time they lasted twice as long. I’d chosen to work on the material with an accomplished writer, Joff Brown, so it was a lot more polished. With a much better script, I was much more confident before the night.
When the evening arrived, I felt very few nerves and hardly drank at all. But come performance time, I promptly forgot everything. I probably wouldn’t have been able to tell you my own name at that point. Luckily, I’d considered this possibility and brought some cue cards which, I was told later, was the funniest part of the act. Afterwards, Lisa pointed out that if she ever had to put up with that grumpy old sod again, divorce would be on the cards.
A good friend recently had a recurrence of cancer in his leg. Unfortunately, his only choice was to have it amputated at his pelvis. Seeing how brave and phlegmatic he was about what must have been a terrifying experience moved me incredibly; he even had a party to celebrate two days before the operation. Rather stupidly, I then volunteered to do another gig for his chosen charity McMillan.
I’m about to tell the wife – wish me luck.