ZOO Does Stand-Up Comedy!
Picture the scene: you’re in the pub, surrounded by mates, and everyone is laughing at your jokes. A few nights later and you’re sat in a comedy club, watching a comedian hold the audience in the palm of his hands.
You turn to your mate and say: 'I’m funny. How hard can stand-up comedy really be?' We thought the same. So we took to the stage – with a dry throat and a packed audience in front of us – to find out…
The pre-gig nerves
Most comedians start off in tiny clubs playing to senile old men. Not us. The venue for our first gig is hosted by Foster's as part of their comedy campaign at the world famous Comedy Store in London’s Leicester Square, with a capacity of 400 people.
With that seriously playing on our minds, we frantically start scouring back issues of ZOO to find as many jokes as possible. OK, we’ll be ripping off other comics, but at this stage we’re desperate. Very desperate.
Naturally, we look to our friends for encouragement too. 'Well, you’re funny in the pub, but then I’m usually quite drunk. I’d probably laugh at anything,' is one friend’s way of building up our confidence. It’s fair to say this does not help.
Award-winning comedian Russell Kane meets us at the empty Comedy Store just hours before our debut to (hopefully) teach us enough to stop us from running off stage crying at the first sign of a heckler. As we’re wearing the famous ZOO T-shirt, Russell immediately tells us to make a big deal of it. 'Everyone will be wondering why you’re wearing that even more than your first gag. It’s a gift and you have to use it,' he says.
We then get into a serious(ish) discussion about what our act is actually going to be. Russell tells us the key is to use funny stories we know well. He suggests that if we have a funny story that always makes people laugh, that’s a good place to start. Sounds easy enough. With our confidence growing, mainly because we’re ignoring the fact we actually have to perform this material, we suggest a story about the worst piss we’ve ever taken and mention to Russell that there might be some mileage in jokes about our teeth. He doesn’t disagree.
All that’s left to do now is the gig itself. Although it doesn’t help our nerves when Russell tells us that after his first paid gig, the crowd were so bad he spent the entire journey home crying. Yeah, we really didn’t need to know that…
It’s showtime. The Comedy Store – the place that has played host to some of the world’s biggest comedy names – is gearing up for what is already being billed, in our head, as the most spectacular car crash comic performance of all time.
The lights dim and the audience comes alive. Russell is on first to introduce the acts. Sadly, none of the comics on before us bomb, which means the pressure is at boiling point. In the words of Paddy McGuinness, we’re now shaking like a sh*tting dog.
Soon enough, our name is called. In a blurry haze, we walk out into the spotlight, desperately trying to remember our first line. The audience hushed, we pick up the microphone, point to our ZOO T-shirt and say, 'Feminism.' It gets a laugh. And from there on it gets easier. We deliver each line extremely carefully, like someone walking a tightrope over Niagara Falls. The audience smile, they laugh and, at one point, even clap! And then, very quickly, it’s over. The crowd cheer and we get off stage as swiftly as humanly possible. A firm pat on the back from Russell as we leave the stage tells us that we’d done it. But, next time, we’ll leave it to the professionals…
Russell Kane hosted the Foster’s Comedy Masterclass event, part of Foster’s recent dedication to comedy. Visit www.fostersfunny.co.uk for more exclusive comedy content
Russell Kane Hosted The Comedy Masterclass For Foster's Comedy Campaign
Head to www.fostersfunny.co.uk for more exclusive comedy content.