Why I became a stand-up

by 80s Luke

What do I want to be when I grow up? Policeman - nah too fat! Astronaut - nah, I get a nose bleed climbing a ladder! Entertainer - bingo! I love to make people laugh, it's easy to make people cry, but to make people laugh can be hard work. Seeing a frown turn upside-down, and knowing that I did that, is the best high of all.

Being a fan of comedy, since the day I could watch Tommy Cooper on a Saturday night, I was hooked. Les Dawson playing a massacred masterpiece to Bob Monkhouse's quickfire quips. I wanted to do this more than anything. While most kids were playing football, British Bulldog, or What’s The Time Mr Wolf? I was in my bedroom preparing for my Saturday night, entertainment classic. Live At The Living Room Palladium would feature a stage made out of banana boxes and my mum's curtains. I did impressions, gags, singing and dancing, to an audience of two, sometimes four if my grandparents came to stay.

My parents sat through the whole evening, which was really sweet of them, laughing at the right places (in the living room, not the kitchen). They gave me a standing ovation, well my dad did, he needed to stretch, but all credit to him.

I did this every Saturday night, for five years until high school, which is when coursework replaced comedy, girls replaced giggles. But the passion for making people laugh stayed with me all through high school, it also got me out of several beatings from the school bully.

I studied performing arts at college, which made me more determined to entertain people, from dressing as a woman, to silent comedy slapstick, I just wanted to make people laugh.

Several years later, I'm gigging all around the UK, doing bars, working men's clubs and anywhere that will let me do my thing, it's a dream come true. To be able to captivate a crowd with a shaggy dog story is an amazing feeling, knowing they hang on every word is like tasting chocolate for the first time. Being overweight, I always seem to compare emotions or feelings to food!

Even now, being on stage in front of some of the rowdiest crowds, I still feel like I'm in the living room at my old-two, up-two down council house, making my folks laugh. I don't want sound clichèd, but comedy has given me so much, it's an honour to give comedy something back. Keep supporting live comedy and live comedy will support you.

Published: 22 May 2009

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