Friday, 14 September 2012

Diary of a stand-up comedian... two years on

open mic stand-up comedy, Steven Scaffardi
Diary of a stand-up comedian Entry #54
Today is the two-year anniversary of the first time I ever performed stand-up comedy. I actually still have a pretty good memory of the night, which is quite an accomplishment for me seeing as I have the memory like a sieve!

I recently read Michael McIntyre's autobiography and he said when he first did stand-up comedy he didn't tell anyone as he was too afraid that he would be terrible and make a fool of himself.

I went for a slightly different approach in that I invited pretty much everyone I knew, including a few random people as well. Looking back at that video clip, and a good few clips after that one, I cringe at how bad I actually was! It's funny, in an ironic way, how funny I thought I was that night!

It has been about three months now since I last performed on the open mic stage (and I have only performed twice this year) and I contemplated today whether I really missed it.

open mic stand up comedy, Steven ScaffardiI have to say that I don't miss hanging around after work to trek halfway across London to perform in a rundown pub, normally in front of about five people! I don't miss getting in at midnight, going to bed, working a full day, and then having to head back out to yet another comedy venue, watching the same routines from comedians I have already seen about 14 times in the last two weeks!

But despite all of that, there is one thing that overrides all of that. Because on those magical nights when everything clicks into place, and on those occasions when you had a room packed out full of people ready to laugh, there is nothing like that buzz you get from having a great set.

And in a way I miss the people. All of those crazy, strange, weird, and sometimes downright unhinged people! Even those characters who were a bit full of themselves, or the bitter comedians who hadn't quite made it and were still dragging themselves around the open mic scene waiting for that big break. Another ironic fact about stand-up comedy is that at least 50% of the comedians I met were bloody miserable, and you would be surprised how much back-stabbing goes on. It was a bit like an episode of EastEnders at times...

Stand up comedy, open, Steven ScaffardiWhen you think about it, there has to be something not quite right with you in the head if you are willing to get up and perform on the most unforgiving stage of them all. Each and everyone of the characters I met along the way were certainly interesting to say the least!

I can't help but wonder how some of those guys are getting on, so I did a bit of research to find out, and you can have a look at that blog posting here. 

As for me, I would love to get back up on the stage and give it a go again, but I certainly couldn't go back to three, four, five gigs a week. Still, I think I'll always look back and be proud that I did it and for what I achieved. Not many people are brave enough to get up and try stand-up comedy, and after 50+ gigs, I know I gave it a good shot and had some great times.

Stand up comedy, open mic, Golden Jester, Steven Scaffardi
I'll also always be very proud that I got through 150 other acts to make it to the final of the Golden Jester comedy competition. Sure, I probably had a bit of help due to the fact that the competition took place on my doorstep in Sutton, so I always had the advantage of a decent support behind me, but I also think I wrote a pretty funny set.

But I'll let you be the judge of that. Below is the video clip of me performing at Dirty Dicks in London in October 2011. This was the set that got me into the final of the Golden Jester and I don't mind admitting that I still giggle when I watch it.

Hopefully you will too.

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