I’ve written here before of my fear of standing up in front of people and delivering the stuff that I’ve written – it’s what made me keep putting off trying my material out in front of the group the past few weeks. Other people seem to have felt a similar thing. Well, this week I finally went through with it.

I was helped by what came earlier in the session – a couple of exercises where we had to stand up in front of the group and act out emotions, to show how exaggerated actions can make things funnier, and also how the physicality of performances can get extra (and bigger) laughs. First we did this in groups – something I found very uncomfortable and embarrassing – and then we did an exercise individually which involved each telling the same joke but with a different emotion, pulled at random out of a hat. I found the latter much more comfortable than expected, although I found it difficult to know how to get the emotion across when telling the joke. Nobody guessed it but I don’t think I did THAT bad a job.

In the second half of the session I did my material in front of the group – it got a really good reaction and some quite big laughs (they are a difficult audience, and most jokes seem to get a titter at best, so I was really pleased with this). Even doing it in front of the group with the benefit of notes was a big deal for me, so I’m delighted with how it went as I got lots of very good and complimentary feedback, from the tutor and from the group. Some things didn’t really work, a couple of gags can be worked on and the routine about politics – easily the most popular part – can be expanded. I’ve already been jotting ideas down all week for how I can go further with this.

Next time I practice I won’t be able to use notes. I need to do a lot of work on my material before then, but it’s getting there and I’m so glad I did the practice run last week. The overwhelmingly positive feedback was a real confidence boost. I’m still not sure how I’m going to ‘perform’ this, as a lot of it’s quite wordy and I need to keep to a script almost. And I’m still worried about forgetting stuff at gig time. But this was a big step, and I feel like I’ve achieved something quite important already by this stage of the course.