This course is for losers | Sonia Aste tries a new approach to winning comedy competitions

This course is for losers

Sonia Aste tries a new approach to winning comedy competitions

In a world obsessed with winning I’m glad to say losing is very much alive, as I can personally Testify to losing so many comedy competitions that my self-esteem is lower than United Airline’s reputation.  

I hate losing. I hate losing even more than I like winning, which makes me wonder why it keeps happening. There’s only one thing I was happy to lose (at the tender age of 16), and even that was a disappointment. But that's the case for 99.9 per cent of the world population so I don't feel too bad about that.

World experts (on the London Evening Standard) claim successful people have what is called a ‘winning mentality’. Wow! Is that all? I mean, it’s not like I go around telling myself, ‘you’re gonna lose!’ but neither do I shout ‘I’m a winner!’ like they suggest. More like I don’t talk to myself. But what do I know? I'm losing.

I better do something before I end up telling dinner jokes to my family, who bless them always force a ‘let’s get this over with’ laugh.    

Comedy experts (on the open mic scene) suggest taking a comedy course improves your chances. A quick google comes up with more comedy courses than gigs: Performing Comedy, Stand-Up Comedy, Workshop Comedy, Maximize your Comedy, Impro-Skills Comedy, Clowning Comedy, Physical, Musical, Buffon, NLP, Mimicry, Storytelling, Satire, Character, Advanced, and finally ‘Comedy Course in the Lake District – Stay in Your Own Caravan’. Uh? No thanks. Plus none of them include a 100 per cent guarantee that I’ll win.    

So instead I enrol on a three-day course with a self-styled winner guru, called Be A Winner! Three days? A lifetime of losing can be changed in less than it takes an avocado to ripen? I’ve wasted so much time! 

I will be able to ‘Unleash My Power Within’! First I have to ‘Unleash my Credit' with the bank, because it’s £1,000. Expensive, but what’s a little (more) debt when I will also ‘awaken the tiger’ in me? Not sure about having animals inside my body – as anyone who’s watched Alien will confirm.

With hope and anticipation I get there – ready for success. I'm thrilled to see 7,000 other losers! I hope they’re not all going to enter comedy competitions. It’s like a Loser’s Anonymous, except we wear nametags: ‘My name is SONIA, and I’m a winner!’

I’m really impressed – the course hasn’t even started and I’ve already achieved it.

My £1,000 ticket turns out to be a cheap seat. I’m so far from the stage I could be in another time zone. I hire binoculars for (extra £50) and can just about make out a tiny dot on stage informing us that we are all special.

Tiny Dot explains that once he had been overweight, homeless, jobless, no one loved him, his father in prison, his mother washed other people’s laundry he suffered from BO, acne, dandruff, halitosis and … didn’t go to The Prom. It’s so sad … I mean not going to your prom? I cry into my binoculars.

But Tiny Dot transformed his life, because:  YOU CAN BE WHATEVER YOU WANT TO BE!

We are asked to write down what we want to be. Middle-aged guy next to me writes down: AUSTRONAUT, petite lady on my right: BASKETBALL PLAYER. Boy! People are really going for their dreams! I write down WIN ALL COMEDY COMPETITIONS (in the world). That should cover it. 

Next Tiny Dot informs us that we have to ‘walk on hot coals’ to conquer our fears. Hot coals? Like in the Spanish Inquisition? Excuse me, I've just remembered that I've got athlete’s foot and my GP insisted I didn't aggravate it.

Binocular Section look at me with disgust and go for it. OK fine! But if being a winner guarantees not burning your tootsies why does everyone look petrified and a medical team is on standby?

Despite not doing the barbecue walk, I still get a Certificate Of Participation. This includes a 50 per cent discount on the next course: Be A Winner Among Winners which I’ll take because with all this winning … I think I’ve lost the plot. 

Sonia Aste is a stand-up.  Her website is and she tweets here.

Published: 10 May 2017

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