We don’t want to see a driving test, we want hand-break turns

Happily jet lagged after a 12 hour flight and then 5 hours sleep, I was sitting in the Albany Comedy Cellar armed with homework which, as usual, I was not convinced was correct. I was ready for another 6 hour comedy course day. This was the new venue for the session, and also where the end show would be taking place.

We started by going through a list of things that everyone had done in the previous week. It was a thank you list.

I wanted to say thank you to: 

  • My neighbour, who walks around above me at 4am every morning.
  • My nan who, even though I said anything but salt and vinegar crisps, always buys me salt and vinegar crisps
  • The staff at the Bali hotel, for always guessing what I’d like for breakfast instead of just listening to my order
  • My wife who always orders the 2nd most expensive wine on the menu
  • My Geography teacher who happily made me stand up and read every class, knowing I couldn’t read for toffee.
  • My other nan for knitting that incredibly thick cream jumper with diamonds on. Not forgetting the neck hole that could have been mistaken for a hand hole due to its reduced diameter
  • My parents for forcing me to wear that cream jumper with diamonds on everything time we saw my nan
  • My parents for getting me a denim jacket, only to find out in the school playground it was a girls’ jacket.

I couldn’t really see the point of the list until I had completed it. Here was the starting points of so many funny stories I could start weaving together to create my stand up material.

This is where the second piece of homework came into play. We were asked to take one of the comments above and reinterpret it from the perspective of the infamous ‘idiot comic’.

You don’t know what your thinking, until the idiot comes out to play. 

Whilst presenting we were reminded to look at the audience, all of them, and engage with them as if you’re having a conversation with a friend at a party with a glass of wine inside you.

There were some great snippets of comedy within everyones pieces, including how to avoid getting devoured, and getting football crowds to swap sides instead of the footballers at half time.

I talked about naming my children numbers instead of names to make things easier, though I would go a little exotic, like Welsh. I then proceeded to name them 1 – 10 in Welsh, which no one was expecting. It was a nice unique twist, which I might play about with more. I also talked about my 5th child ‘Pimp’ (sounds like pimp in English and spelt pump in Welsh) as possibly becoming a self fulfilling prophecy.

After listening back to my mini presentation (yes that right, well done little dictaphone!) I felt a lack of enthusiasm in my voice, with plenty of ‘umms’. It was also rather flat. I need to practice if I want to convince the audience I want to be up there. I also needed to know what I was going to say instead of just reading it as if this was the first time I’d seen it. Can I blame the jet lag?

We moved onto another Exercise called Trees and Branches. Where you have a random subject and have to talk about it for 60 seconds. The aim is to pick up on areas of body language and voice etc. which could be see as distracting and tweak accordingly.

Topic: Differences between Dark Chocolate and Milk Chocolate — 60 seconds 

This time I had no script to think about, or cock up. I was on my own. The first 20 seconds were a little tricky, I could feel my brain grinding away trying to guess whether this was what I was supposed to be doing, and then I got into it. For the first time I walked onto an empty space and start filling it with all these ideas. I actually started to engage my body and be much more in the moment instead of thinking ‘is this funny?’. I made the group laugh 3 times in the 60 seconds, which made me realise that it’s actually ok up here.

We do not want a driving test we want hand break turns” — Logan Murray


Dan Tambling is a stand-up comedian, sketch comedy writer, actor and producer of ‘12 sketches in a London house’. This is his blog.


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