What do you call a Prime Minister with flowers in his hair?
What did the American President’s bodyguard shout?
What do you call a Canadian leader who absolutely loves to hide inside his travel bags?Justin Case
It was three weeks since I’d agreed to try stand-up comedy for the first time, two days before I would take to the stage on a busy Friday night in a central London pub, and those were the only three jokes I’d written so far.
Needless to say, my first foray into the world of stand-up comedy wasn’t a roaring success.
On the night, I managed to get one big laugh. It could have been two, but I didn’t trip over on my way off stage.
It did not go well. I’d done my best to pack out the audience with friends and family but even they couldn’t muster much of chuckle.
My best review came from a good friend who said:
“I prefer to try and remember you how you were before.”
Well, at least I had a quote for the poster when I went on tour.
But despite the lack of laughter, it wasn’t the worst experience ever.
I realised that I’d gone on to a stage in a packed pub and at least tried to do some stand-up comedy.
Had I ever done anything braver?
In fact, the more I thought about it, the more I realised that going up on stage, knowing full well I didn’t have any funny material, was even braver than going up there armed with a barrel full of guaranteed laughs.
So, I went back.
Over the next few months I just kept doing it. Eventually I was doing stand-up three or four nights a week. All amateur, open-mic stuff of course, but still – I was starting to get a few laughs.
In February of this year, just before Armageddon struck, I went to Calgary in Canada and managed to book myself six stand-up slots at comedy clubs. And they weren’t all just amateur open-mic type affairs. I did a set at Canada’s oldest comedy night, Monday Night Comedy, which has seen some of the most famous names in comedy appear on its stage. I did a 20-minute set at a smaller venue and I performed alongside several of Canada’s top TV comics. The Justin Case joke went down a storm!
On my way home, I even stopped off to perform at Bob Ruffer’s Comedy Club at Pete’s Hideaway in Palm Springs, California. I was on a roll!!
So, when I got back from my ‘sold-out’ international tour, I thought it was about time I updated my LinkedIn profile to fully reflect this proud new string to my bow.
I’ve spent the last 15 years or so as a Copywriter and Communications Specialist, working with some of the biggest businesses in the UK.
‘Copywriter, Communications Specialist, Comedian’
“That has a lovely ring to it.” I thought.
But no sooner had I made the update, the messages started coming in from connections.
“Dan, are you ok?”
“Dan, are you looking for work? I might be able to help, mate.”
“Dan, I had a mid-life crisis myself a couple of years back. There is light at the end of the tunnel.”
The crunch point came a couple of weeks ago when a really good friend asked me if I could write him a LinkedIn recommendation.
I wrote a deservedly glowing report, detailing his skills and my experience of working alongside him.
He sent me this reply…
“Dan, thanks so much for the recommendation. I really appreciate your kind words. Could you do me a favour though? I’ve noticed you’re now saying that you’re a comedian as well as a communications specialist. Is everything ok? Also, do you mind taking it down for the next couple of weeks? Your recommendation is so good, I don’t want people seeing it has only come from a comedian.”
So, I removed it. In all honesty, after almost two months of lockdown and having done zero stand-up comedy in that time, I feel a lot less like a comedian than I did on my triumphant return from Canada.
But it did make me wonder…
Stand-up comedy is regarded as one of the scariest things anybody could ever try. Most people would run a mile at the thought of standing on stage and being expected to make people laugh.
Should it really be something I should be ashamed of?
Is it a skill I should hide away and keep totally separate from the day job?
Should I be Clark Kent during the day and Stupid Man at night? – nobody ever knowing that we are one and the same person.
Two LinkedIn profiles some people have suggested.
“Maybe wear glasses in your serious profile.” one ‘friend’ kindly offered.
For the moment, I’m back to being just a Copywriter and Communications Specialist. We’ll see how things go when everything gets back to a new normal.
One thing is for certain; after two months in lockdown, it’ll be a while before I’m back in any kind of shape for appearing on stages.
My big problem is, I eat too much pizza. I eat too much pizza, I get fat. I get fat, I get depressed. I get depressed, I eat more pizza.
I call it the dominos effect.
Dan Magill is definitely a Copywriter, Communications Specialist and Comedian, currently eating pizza in quarantine