Why I’m performing stand-up comedy

Posted on May 24, 2019


As the self-professed ‘office comedian’ and someone who always enjoys standing up in front of people and showing off, it was only a matter of time before I followed one of my lifelong goals and entered into the world of stand-up comedy.

Ever since my school days, I’ve relished the opportunity to get up in front of the class and make people laugh – or at least try to. Of course, in school, it wasn’t always the purpose of the exercise to ‘make people laugh’ but that’s how I always saw it. I once won a class ‘speech making’ competition and was rewarded with competing against the other classes in front of the whole school. I essentially did a three-minute standup routine about politics, and read my speech from a prompt sheet my older brother had decorated with a caricature he’d drawn of Margaret Thatcher.

I didn’t win. I always remember the not winning. I also always remember the feeling of pure adrenalin as I gave the speech, and had every member of the school hanging on each word. It was power, and I wanted more of it.

Not being one of the popular kids at school (I know, unbelievable right?) I was never chosen for school plays or any kind of performance, so my opportunities were fleeting and my early taste of public speaking went unrepeated throughout my school years.

At university, I relished the public speaking aspects, such as presenting in front of the year. I once gave a four-man presentation myself, interacting with a pre-recorded version of myself on the video screen and providing the voiceover for one of our group who was replaced with a cardboard cut-out. We knew he wouldn’t show, so we created the cardboard cut-out of him in advance. Had he actually turned up it would have ruined the joke. Luckily, he was predictably unreliable.

In business, with Engage Web, I’ve always tried to speak in front of people whenever I could – whether it be at conferences, networking groups or the many videos we produce on a regular basis. I’ve also relished my time as the Chapter President of BNI Chester and, before that, with all of the ‘Education slots’ I’ve delivered to members and visitors alike.

For example, here’s one of my favourites:

However, none of these chances have been purely for the purposes of making people laugh. Even though, at times, that has appeared to be what I was going for. This year, thanks to Wirral Mencap, I actually have the opportunity to do just that. I have the opportunity to write my own stand-up comedy routine, and perform it in front of a room full of people.

Not just a room… a function room at Tranmere Rovers Football Club with around 200 people in the audience. They will also be judging me. Laughing and judging. Perhaps just judging.

Why am I doing this again?

Ah yes, I’m an egotist. And the charity. Always for the charity.

Anyhow, the event takes place September 19th, starting at 6:00 pm. I’ll be performing a short routine (along with several other hopeful comedians) and I’d love for the room to be full of people who want to support me, or at least watch me fail. Your reasons are your reasons. Just be there. You can also help me raise money for Wirral Mencap by sponsoring me here.

Also, if you’d like to compete yourself and try to be funnier than me, get in touch with Sharon Nicholson from Wirral Mencap (snicholson@mencapwirral.org.uk). Funnymen (and women) are still wanted, and the training includes six classes with a professional comic Sam Avery, starting on August 15th.

If 11-year-old me could see me now he’d probably wonder why it took me this long to do something like this again. That, and where the hell did my hair go?

The 11-year-old me was funny. Hopefully he’ll be there in September. And so will you.

Technical Director at Engage Web
Darren is Technical Director at Engage Web, as well as being a co-founder of the company. He takes a hands-on approach to SEO and web design, helped by more than 20 years’ experience in these fields.
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