What I’m thinking right now

New goal: Join an improv comedy troupe

Now, look, I know, it’s not sex or nudity. Well, who knows what might happen at the parties. Ho!

But seriously, there’s a reason why I don’t talk about this goal in my “real” life. Apart from admitting you like eating shit, having sex with children, or voting Conservative, there’s nothing more likely to anger, offend and disgust your friends and acquaintances than suggesting that you think you might be funny. Humour, especially in England, is considered a black art. If you’re funny, you can get away with virtually any moral infraction, get free drinks off people, and have sex with people you are nowhere near attractive enough to pull on looks.

But the secret is not to think you’re funny – at least, not till you’ve proven yourself. English people hate “pretension,” which they use to describe anyone who expresses any real pride about anything other than (a) their upbringing, (b) their material posessions or (c) their children, and even that’s touch and go (“the little blighters!”). Mentioning that you’re in a band, for example, is usually going to get you widely considered a pathetic, mindless, scene-following, delusional, arrogant arsehole who thinks they’re Mick Jagger. Mention that you like to act, and you’re a gay pathetic, mindless, scene-following, delusional, arrogant arsehole. And probably posh.

But suggest that you think you’re funny, and that’s the worst. That suggests arrogance on a whole other level, because it suggests “not only do I think I have a skill, but I think I know what people like to hear.” You can be in a shit band, after all, but you’re still a bassist. But being funny is defined by skill. An unfunny comedian isn’t a comedian at all, just a guy talking.

Well, balls. I don’t think I’m funny alone, and the thought of standing up and talking for ten minutes and making people laugh is fairly horrendous. But with the right crowd of people, when the conversation is quick, and the people share my sense of humour, I can be funny. I can be witty, and I can be silly, and I can even be self-deprecating, which I avoid being in normal life on principle. And what’s more, I have the time of my life.

So, I’m going to do it. I’m not going to audition for some mega-group – I’m going to start small, and make a group of my own if I need to. But I’m going to do it, because I’m sick of everyone treating making people laugh like it’s bloody poetry. Mind you, I think everyone should be writing poems as well, so there you go.

See how I’m doing

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