I am a professional stand up comedian sit down fan. I go to them all. Where as my cooler compatriots might prefer to go to a musical gig and stand up while getting elbowed by ravers and cider splashed down their legs, while noisy music is pumped into their fragile little ears, I’m happier sitting in a chair in a room full of other people sitting in chairs while a professional funny man (not woman, women aren’t funny. Except me.) makes me laugh for a few hours.
15 minutes of laughter is 40 calories burned, I’ll have you know, so I see it as a form of compulsory exercise. A gin and tonic is 44 calories. If I drink two gin and tonics while watching a two hour show, I’m basically in negative equity. So, yeah. It’s my favourite past time and autumn is the season when all the modern day jesters get their skates on and tour the country, so that we all buy each other their DVD’s for Christmas.
But imagine the catastrophe I face: my favourite hobby has been cursed. It’s a pandemic, it’s a tragedy and it’s a waste of money. I fall asleep.
Yes, that’s right, I fall asleep. No matter how much I love the man on stage, and I’m a fan of many, I can’t seem to keep my eyes open until the end.
It starts off well. I’m all ears, laughing and chortling my way through their observations and mannerisms. But as the night wears on, tiredness creeps over me and my eyes get heavy. I nod off. Then, because my stupid little brain knows it is not in bed, I am suddenly awake, my head jerked upright, a jolt running through me. I look like a tool.
Lee Evans. Fell asleep. Dylan Moran. Fell asleep. Russell Kane - legend. Fell asleep. Mickey Flanagan – very, very nearly fell asleep and had to keep pinching myself and fidgeting to fight it. Al Murray. Fell asleep.
So I started changing the formula, in the hopes it was something I was doing wrong and could change. I thought perhaps it was the wine, so I switched wine for gin. Still fell asleep. I thought maybe it was because comedy rooms get very hot and stuffy. So I wore less clothes. Still fell asleep. I thought it could be because I was sitting too far from the front, the squinting tired my brain and sent me to sleep. So I ensured front row seats. Still fell asleep, this time to the detriment of the confidence of the man on stage. Nothing like a front row snooze to give him the message he’s not funny.
A bad workman blames his tools. My tools – the wine, the clothing, the seating arrangements, are just fine where they are. What I needed was better entertainment and last night I found my trump card.
For, last night we saw the travesty-he’s-not-more-famous-but-he-will-be-soon Alun Cochrane. I drank wine. I got quite hot. I stayed awake.
Take your Perrier award. Take your ‘as seen on Michael McIntyre’s comedy roadshow’. Take your DVD released just in time for Christmas, because a real test of your comedy mettle is whether or not Kim Willis, avid fan and comedy enthusiast, can get to the end in tact. Alun, if you could let your cohorts know your secret, then I won’t be spending £20 for a snooze next time I sit down at a stand up.