Words by Ed King
On Thursday 1st December, the Stand Up Comedy Showcase returns to mac – held in the Foyle Studio, on the second floor of the arts complex.
Doors open at 7:30pm with tickets priced at £5. For direct event information and online ticket sales, click here. Further Stand Up Comedy Showcase events will be held across 2017: 31st March, 1st April (should be a good one) 14th July and the 15th & 16th July.
Exactly what it sounds like, all acts performing have been studying under local comedian James Cook – completing a twelve week course, at mac, in stand up comedy. What we get to see on stage is all original material written, rehearsed, rewritten, and presented to us, the humour hungry public. What could possibly go wrong..?
But don’t take my word for it – one of Birmingham Review’s long standing contributors, Matthew Osborne, will be performing at the Stand Up Comedy Showcase on 1st Dec.
So take his. In fact, take all 368 of them.
Stand Up Comedy Showcase… before
Words by Matthew Osborne
Crippling self doubt, anxiety, sleepless nights, a failing sense of humour; these words sound like the symptoms of manic depression, yet they are not. Nor do they appear on the advertising literature for mac’s stand-up comedy course, for obvious reasons. But they should, for as this term class approaches their climax – a comedy showcase at which all the performers (myself included) will be stand-up virgins – these words are all too real in describing my experience of taking the course.
Each week we have been learning techniques which are intended to help with our performance on the night. These might be ways to approach subjects in order to wring every last drop of humour out of them, or better ways to convey emotions to the audience. For most of us it has been a challenging experience, forcing us to break out of our shells and become actors of sorts, trying to successfully lead an audience to the precipice of a joke’s set up, allowing them to easily and safely make the jump to the punch line.
Each week those of us who feel brave enough are encouraged to try out our routines on the class. This is undoubtedly the most humbling and demoralising experience that someone with a big enough ego to want to attempt stand-up comedy can go through, and I have very quickly learned that stand-up comedy is by no means easy.
I recently took a routine that I was very happy with to the class. I expected thunderous applause and hearty laughter. I got blank looks and appalling silence. I was told that the routine was ‘too meta and too self-referential’. Whilst this had been my intention, the end result was far from what I had hoped for.
Unfortunately, in the absence of anything else that I am remotely happy or confident with, I will be performing this routine (approximately) to a real life audience at mac on Thursday December 1st. And like the egotistical fool I am, I have agreed to let Birmingham Review come down to cast judgement upon me.
Tickets are £5. For those who still pine for the days of public executions, this might be just the thing for you…
Stand Up Comedy Showcase comes to mac on 1st December, held in the Foyle Studio. For direct event info and online tickets sales, click here.
For more on James Cook, local comedian and stand up course leader, visit www.jamescookcomedian.com
For more from mac, including full event listing and online ticket sales, visit www.macbirmingham.co.uk