Last week I was at The Stand Comedy Club in Newcastle to do a spot of stand-up comedy. Before Christmas I was looking for places where I could perform my poetry in front of an audience and I came across their website and thought – ‘I wonder if my poems would work in a comedy club’ and so I applied. Six months later I was on the stage. As it turns out, poetry does translate nicely into comedy, but I had to do a lot of work at it.
Unlike a poetry night, I couldn’t just stand there and read a poem from my notes. I had a stage to work and a crowd to engage. I committed a poem to memory and semi-winged the rest. Thankfully it worked a treat. Although I didn’t get as many laughs as some of the acts that night from the 300(ish) strong crowd, I got them when I wanted (some for longer than I expected) and I set out what I wanted to achieve.
After the show I got some good feedback from the audience. One chap said to me ‘I didn’t realise you had started your poem until you were halfway through it! I thought you clever git!’
The night was Red Raw, an evening put on for first timers and developing acts. It’s on in Glasgow on a Monday, Edinburgh on a Tuesday and Newcastle on Wednesdays.
As requested, here is the manuscript of my show (all five minutes of it). I should have filmed it but I’ll know for next time, which is Wednesday 10th July.
(After a quick introduction)
So, I am a poet and I tend to write poetry about most things, whatever’s in the news, observations on life and sometimes I try to answer life’s unanswered questions.
To give you some examples – who was the last man to have his arm broken by a swan?
Why do baby grows have pockets? What do they need them for?
So like I say, I’ll write about most things but if I can help it, I try to avoid writing about politics. Two reasons for this, the first being that I have quite strong political views and I can’t be bothered with the fallout afterwards, and secondly; no matter how hard I try, I struggle to find an appropriate rhyming word to describe the ever smiling Jeremy Hunt.
So anyway, the poem I’m going to share with you tonight is about getting caught short, and I don’t mean if you’re at the bottom of the garden and you need to go, I mean if you’re at work, at the services or, heaven forbid, at a festival. When you gotta go, you gotta go. But before I start, I’m keen to hear what your pet peeves are about using public loos, what’s the worst things you hate about them?
(No-one answered at first)
What, no-one here has used a public loo? (I got some feedback and a bit of banter after that)
What about a warm seat, eh? I hate that. Once you find that out you’re already committed aren’t you? It’s not like you go in and test the seat with your elbow like the bathwater (some actions) No, it’s warm, I’m not using that!
But do you know what I really hate? I hate it, when you go to the loo
And someone takes the cubicle next to yours
Why did you have to sit there, buddy?
There were plenty of other open doors
You hear the belt getting unbuckled
And the trousers dropping down to the floor
And you know what’s coming next
You’ve heard all the noises before…
(I did some noises down the microphone)
Squeak, farp, splosh and spelunk
And then followed by a sigh of relief
Jeez, what did you eat last night, comrade?
I’ve just got a lungful of beef
And oh, the smell, the smell of it wreaks
I think I’m gonna be sick!
You need to get yourself to a doctor, mate
Some dietary specialist or medic
But wait, he’s not done, he’s going again
This time it sounds like a gush*
*I interjected – gush, it’s a great word that innit? I feel it really paints a picture of what’s happening on the other side of that piece of plywood
Accompanied with the sound of a strain
Come on now, there’s no need to rush
But then you hear the pull of the loo roll
Thank goodness, the smell was getting ripe
But wait, a flush? Really, so soon?
That couldn’t have been cleaned in one wipe
So I listen as he washes and dries his hands
And I wait til I know that he’s gone
I don’t want to meet my trap partner
It’s best that we remain anon
‘Cus I’ve just heard what he’s been through
And some of those sounds were just wrong
But if, by some chance, that that was my boss
He’d ask why I’d been in there for so long!
And that was it. Thanks to Red Raw for putting the evening on and thank you to Si Beckwith for being a great host for the evening, he helped to create a good atmosphere and made me feel calm and relaxed before the show.
If you want to come and see me perform again, I’ll be there on Wednesday 10th July. Doors open at 7pm (£3) and the show starts at half eight. I’ll be on eventually!