It was Monday evening, I’d just had a shower and I started to get ready. I put on my Kung Fu Panda t-shirt, looked in the mirror and said to myself ‘here goes nothing!’
I grabbed my keys and left the house…then I went back to my house and realised it might not be a bad idea to put on some pants too.
Now that my wardrobe malfunction had been rectified I grabbed my comedy material, my pink fluffy handcuffs, (a prop…honest!) and jumped in my BMW. I sped away heading towards the centre of London, a place that still gives me a buzz.
I was driving along the Westway with the window down; I wanted to feel the wind in my hair. It wasn’t easy because I was only doing about 3mph due to all the road works! But when I passed those…I managed to put my foot down and surged to a whopping 7mph towards Edgware.
Through my entire journey I could feel the slight buzzing of the butterflies in my belly; a feeling I’d not had since the first time I did stand-up comedy. It’s a combination of nerves and excitement that makes a powerful cocktail. I feel sorry for people who’ve never had that kind of rush.
I weaved my way past the Ritz and headed towards Piccadilly Circus. I turned off and headed down to St James Sq. I started walking towards Leicester Sq and made a pit stop to grab a soya hot chocolate to ease my nerves.
I arrived at my destination but I was a tad bit early. I decided to take a stroll around the infamous Leicester Sq. and checked out all the sights. I saw the artists showcasing their latest caricatures. I saw ones of Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and the most handsome of them all…Prince Charles….just kidding.
So I finished my coco and walked up Oxendon Street and arrived outside The Comedy Store – London’s famous comedy venue where many a comedian have made a name for themselves.
I took a breath, walked in grabbed my ticket for the King Gong – A monthly competition where comedians, new and old can come and showcase their stuff. I was not billed to be on but I was determined to have a go!
I checked with the sound booth whether they were going to ask if anyone in the audience to have a go, and to my relief, they said yes! I was ecstatic but the butterflies doubled. I grabbed the only beverage strong enough to keep me relaxed in such a tense situation…a tap water…with ice! :-O
I was sat next to a man wearing a suit with a leopard skin design…it sort of put my Panda t-shirt to shame…and there was me thinking I was hip!
The King Gong show is the toughest event of it’s kind! I now know how wild west gunslingers used to feel just before showdown! The objective is to survive the stage for 5 minutes and beat the gong. During this time, if the 3 judges give you a red flag, you are finished! The crowd are allowed to heckle and jeer as much as they like.
The first act went on and barely lasted a minute. The second act went on and lasted just over a minute. The third, a minute and so on. They were blitzing through the 20 billed acts faster than I could blink!
Success! We reached the 7th act and he put the hecklers to shame and lasted the full 5 minutes with ease. A finalist at last! He was the homeless guy with the stolen suit…I’ll never forget that routine!
A couple more went on and didn’t get very far. Then the fantastic compare asked if anyone in the audience would like a go? I froze! Before I could escape my ice prison a man from Barbados called Nico went on. He again showed the hecklers a thing or two and lasted the full 5 minutes…they had another finalist!
The interval came and went and then the moment arrived again, they asked if anyone from the audience wanted a go! I leapt out from my seat and ran to the stage. I was strangely given a warm welcome and first few gags were greeted with both cheers and laughter. I could even hear the compare laughing in the other mic…the first time I’d heard him laugh all night!
I carried on my routine…I was into my second minute and for some reason, I’d gotten two red flags…the judges seemed to be the only ones who didn’t like me…and I hadn’t even done my fluffy handcuff gag! I carried on and gave it everything I had. I got my 3rd red flag before the gong.
I’d failed…and yet a bizarre thing happened as I started to walk of stage…the audience started to chant my name. Even the compare seemed shocked a bit surprised I’d gotten 3 reds. They wanted me to finish my set! Of course, that was against the rules and so I didn’t get to finish. But I walked off stage with a big grin on my face knowing that I’d reached the crowd in a way the other comedians had not.
I wasn’t a finalist, and the eventual winner, Melton, didn’t get a name chant! LOL (But he did get an awesome winning cheer!) I survived the longest of the non finalists and even though I didn’t win, I won over and wowed probably most fierce crowd I’ve ever seen…and here’s my secret…
…I showed up.