Tales From... The Archive

Comedian? Don’t make me laugh…

I consider the profession of a comedian to be highly dysfunctional. Nothing about stand up comedy screams anything other than MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES! What kind of a job is making people laugh anyway? Ridiculous. Why would anyone want to stand on ‘stage’ (if you’re lucky) in front of several hundred strangers (if you’re lucky) and try and make those people laugh? (If you’re lucky.) Who in their right mind would do that for a living? Not me! (Ok, fine me.)

If we were to delve a bit deeper into the psychology of why anyone ‘needs’ that much attention or validation from a room full of people in varying degrees of inebriation, we might learn something and I for one am wholly against that. Instead I’m going to blame my chosen career in ‘showing off ‘in darkened rooms in front of strangers on my Mum. I feel confident saying this as I know she’s never going to read this because unlike me, she’s got a life. So, I think I can say this wholeheartedly and without fear of reprisal: IT’S MY MUM’S FAULT.

Like most adults that have refused to accept any responsibility or grow and develop in anyway, blaming my Mum has worked very well for me these last 38 years. I’m actually really good at it. The reason why I blame my Mother is for her unwavering belief in me. Ever since I was a child my Mum would tell me I was funny, “You are so funny Jennifer tell the joke about the Doctor…” “Knock Knock” “Who’s there?” “Doctor” “Doctor Who?” “You just said it…” “You could be a comedian!” That’s right; when I was 4 my Mum said I could be a comedian. Let’s not forget that this was after I told one of the worst jokes ever to be invented in the world EVER. SO IF YOU DON’T LIKE MY COMEDY YOU CAN BLAME MY MUM!

But my Mother’s encouragement didn’t end with me. My youngest brother and I were led to believe that we were BOTH amazing at impressions. My Mum would make us do these ‘impressions’ in front of adults. Argh! Can you imagine anything more cringe worthy? What was worse, I LOVED IT! At least my brother had the self awareness to realise that we were actively humiliating ourselves in front of people that halfway through our terrible impression of Prince Charles were also fantasising about smothering us while we slept. Not me, I swanned into the room taking centre stage and feigning embarrassment, “Moi? Do a turn? Why I couldn’t… Ok I COULD! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!!! No one likes a precocious child. NO ONE. Apart from my Mum who has always thought her kids were the bees knees and thus through her eyes, I did too. Never mind that the only way you could recognise any of our impressions was because we included the person’s name in our repetoire, “My name’s David Bellamy and I’m walking through the undergrowth….” “Hello I’m Sean…Yesh Sean Connery…” and my personal favourite was listening to my brother just say “Ronnie, Ronnie Corbett here…. hmmm my producer…Ronnie…” over and over and over again.

All the while my Mum is watching us and beaming with pride, “Jennifer you could be the next Meryl Streep!” “Really Mum?” “Oh yes, every actor starts with impressions! Just look at Dustin Hoffman! Tootsie is a very good film. He did an impression of a woman and his career took off!” “I think he was famous before Tootsie Mum.” “I don’t think so – I think he put on a dress and Poof! He was famous. You know, maybe if you wore a dress sometimes Jennifer you could get famous too.”  At this stage in my career I’m willing to try anything. Thanks Mum.


Posted on 7th February 2013


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