Since I mostly perform comedy gigs in character, as Mr Susan, it’s always a bit strange taking to the stage as me. I’m a little bit shy in real life and if there’s no character to hide behind I feel like I’m constantly on the verge of exposing myself as someone who hasn’t got a clue what he’s doing.
I was MCing the gig I co-run with Jack Samuel Warner (Funny Fridays at The Magdala pub) a couple of weeks back and for reasons I do not fully understand I decided to whip the crowd into a frenzy by whispering at them. Yes, that’s right, I thought the best way to get the masses frothing at the proverbial was to quietly breathe “are you ready for your next act?” down the microphone. It was probably nerves on my part, but what could possibly have got into me to think that a barely audible hush would make for a fist-pumping, pant-wetting night of adrenaline soaked stand up comedy? The thing that saves this story and makes it something lovely, rather than merely an illustration of how inept I am when being myself onstage, is that the aforementioned audience didn’t seem at all put off by my under-powered murmur. No, instead they politely whispered back “yes” en masse. You can’t plan for magic like that. . .
My second example of MCing XXXtreme from recent weeks involves the glamourous activity of setting up the room ready for the night. The stage at The Magdala is portable and gets packed away for storage every week. It comes in two sections and it’s necessary for me to bolt the two elements together, binding them tightly in line like two sides of a vice. To do this I have to lie flat across the stage. After I’d tightened the final bolt last Friday I was suddenly confused at being unable to stand up. It was only then that I realised I had tightened the stage around my own moustache.
Luckily I had the presence of mind to unbolt it again, otherwise I would have had an embarrassing trip to A&E with a stage stuck to my face.