Notes from a newbie

Johnny-come-lately Lee Kern tells the comedy world what's what

I only started doing stand-up in November. Does this mean I’m allowed to make comments on the business yet? Yes it does. Here are some observations of mine:

  • Comics don’t get as fucked up as I thought they would. I thought comics would be puking lagoons of vodka backstage and snorting coke through Pringle tubes. In fact everyone’s quite behaved. They kind of pace around nervously thinking about their material. It’s almost like they’re conscientious…

  • I like comics who carry round their little book of jokes. They’re all cute – like little Harry Potters with their book of spells. Look at them all cute – studying their magic spells before a gig.

  • Every comic has a bogey comic – a comic who they’ll play absolutely crap in front of. They’ll appear before you like Banquo’s ghost. Mine’s Ava Vidal – who is yours?

  • If the compere does a competition allowing people to write and submit jokes: 38 per cent of them will be racist.

  • The most excruciating thing to watch on stage is a comic not being received well then recycling that as aggression towards the audience. Yeah – that’s gonna work – have a go at them, sit back and watch the chuckles roll in. Why don’t you just pull a pistol out from your pants and hold it to the head of a kid in the front row?

  • As a newb I’ve found that those comics who are actually nice and friendly to us go out there and rock it. The ones who are aloof and lacking a generosity of spirit are by and large crap. Comic karma? Or just them lacking the inherent people skills to go on stage and make themselves likeable? I prefer to go with option three: they’re cunts.

  • Sometimes cliquey circuit comics look at us newbs like illegal immigrants coming into their comedy clubs trying to steal their laughs. Come on guys, there are plenty of laughs out there and we’re prepared to do the jokes you won’t do. We’ll work for shitty giggles in clubs you wouldn’t even set foot into...

  • Comics love gossip. For example, did you know that Jack Whitehall has got webbed feet?

  • Comics who’ve killed try to keep their face present at the venue for as long as they can afterwards. That’s because they have the face that just rocked it on stage. So they’re gonna park that face at the bar. Maybe you’ll wanna come and speak to that face? Maybe you’ll wanna buy that face a drink? Maybe you’ll even wanna fuck it? Fuck the face. Fuck the face that just rocked…

  • Comics really love gossip. For example - did you know that Patrick Kielty has got a second penis that’s growing out of his thigh? (It doesn’t work)

  • (continued…) …comics who’ve had an awesome gig will never want to move on to another pub or club. That’s because in the venue they rocked they are the king. Everywhere else they are a nobody. Just another dishevelled mook wearing faux bohemo rags…

  • Other comics saying: ‘That was good, man’ after you sucked on stage are well-meaning but misguided. Fuck off. I was crap. Stop trying to fluff an erection that died ten minutes ago.

  • I once performed the best gig of my life but there were no reviewers there – just ordinary, stupid, rubbish punters. What a waste of an evening that night was…

  • You do one awesome gig and one crap one. Guess which one the reviewer is at?

  • I once saw a comic ask the promoter what the name of the local crap-hole was so they could reference it in their set and get a cheap laugh. Oh woe is me…

  • When you’ve been booed off stage by 300 people in unison you can handle any kind of rejection. Your confidence with the opposite sex grows too. Now I can get blasted by chicks all night long. Line ‘em up. Who’s next?

  • The most beautiful thing for me is seeing people night after night pursuing the holy, unquantifiable magic of laughter in their own voices. I hate some of those voices…

  • Like most comics I absolutely hate having complete artistic freedom and being able to do whatever I want night after night. What I really want to do are some adverts.

So these are some observations I’ve made in my first few months of stand-up. I’m going up to Edinburgh for this first time too and have a couple of expectations of what that will be like: essentially a horrific hell-hole populated by comics trapped halfway between self-promotion and self-loathing. Sounds like fun. See you there.

  • Lee Kern: Filthy Racuous Soul Bitch is at Fringe at Le Monde at 17:30 from August 4

Published: 29 Jul 2010

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