Comedy calls again

Tyson at the Joburg Theatre a while ago

Jokes seem to lose their edge in those last few minutes before you perform.

As you run through the set in your mind, moments before hitting the stage, it all just feels incredibly weak.

This is exactly what Lincoln van der Westhuizen pointed out last night as we waited in the wings to be called for our audition.

The audition was at Equilibrium (one of Grahamstown‘s night spots) in the early evening.

We were to deliver our sets to a panel of about four judges and a few of the organisers for an upcoming event.

Yet another society, this time Zim Unlimited, is looking for comics. A prominent comedian from Zimbabwe is set to grace these parts in August and the society is in search of more acts to add variety to the show. The actual show is set to take place on-campus.

Strange to think that all these opportunities are popping up when it had been a virtual stand-up desert up until this point.

Linc and I pondered our material in our heads as we waited for the MC (yes, there was one) to bring us to the stage.

OK, there was no actual stage, but rather a semi-bright light cast right in front of the DJ booth. There was also a mic with a rather short cord, making movement a little restricted.

There were two additional scheduled comics for the audition, who happened to be running late, so Linc stepped in and volunteered to go first.

As I listened to him navigate his way through a solid set and coax regular laughter out of a really small audience, I couldn’t help but be immensely impressed.

Linc and I met officially only recently and he had been telling me that he started out doing comedy this year. Almost a month now, to be precise. Yet there he was, owning a set in front of one of the most difficult settings – small crowds.

In comedy, it’s ideal to find yourself in front of a larger audience, since people are more comfortable laughing when they aren’t likely to be the only ones doing so. Smaller audiences are defined by a more cautious approach to letting out laughter.

It’s really encouraging to be able to share a platform and perform alongside Linc since we’re both rookies to this game. Right now, we’re united in the ambition of regular performance in our time at Rhodes.

Having someone to share thoughts and suggestions with is an awesome experience and can only help in the long run.

Linc finished his set and the MC was back for a short spell in which he introduced me.

I stepped straight out and faced the crowd of about eight people in total. I simulated comfort and ease as I forged a smile and grabbed the mic.

I had decided that I was going to lean on some old material as a precautionary measure. This wasn’t the setting to be trying out new material. I had to try stuff that had got laughter out of the crowds back home.

Overall, the set was decent. We had earlier agreed with the organisers to keep it at five minutes and I was pretty much done when the clock hit that point.

Now comes the wait for the response and hopefully Linc and I made the cut.

In the meantime, the drama department has still been consuming a chunk of me.

Keep watching this space…

-Tyson

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