We’ve all had that dream. You’re standing there, in front of a crowd of your peers. Your pants are around your ankles and everyone’s laughing. You try to speak but nothing comes out. You’re frozen, there’s no escape and you’re stuck there for eternity. At Rag Relief, that dream became a reality for me. Okay, my pants didn’t fall down but the rest was true.
I took part in the Rag Relief show for a new experience really. I’m no stranger to the stage. I’ve always loved acting and performing. I’m a huge fan of live radio and I’ve always enjoyed entertaining people. It was never really a problem for me. I wondered how stand up could be any different. I never realised how wrong I could be.
It seems obvious but stand up is intensely personal. For most people, it’s only you up there on your own. There’s no character to hide behind. Acting allows you to become another person of your choosing within certain boundaries. In stand up, you have to be you and believe me, that is far more difficult.
I’d like to think that I’m a pretty funny guy. I study all the greats and enjoy making people laugh. I made the mistake of thinking that stand up is as simple as that. But stand up is a different beast. Words on paper may look funny at first but the performance element is vital to the whole set. Comic timing and your use of movement are key to making sure you get the reaction you want and to have them eating out of the palm of your hand.
The thoughts, the feelings and the messages you’re expressing on stage are your own. You lay yourself before the audience and hope to spark a reaction. Getting a laugh can be tough. Audiences can spot a fake from a mile away and appreciate something that’s close to home. They want to use you as a way to laugh at themselves.
In the end, it was so worth it. The buzz you get when a zinger hits home is almost indescribable. To have all eyes on you and to impress a room is one of the best feelings in the world. It was a great experience, one I’d advise everyone to try. It’s scary at first but it’s an undertaking that will reward you to no end.
Image credit: DCU Rag Facebook