Monday, September 6, 2010

Tent Hurdles

I have approxiamtely 5.5 hours to go until the Funny Women Semi Finals and it's safe to say I'm officially nervous now. Not nervous that I might not go through to the finals - because due to the nature of my sneaking into the semis I'm ok with resting here and being amazed at how far I got. I'm also not nervous that I'll die on my arse because I think it'll be a friendly crowd and I've heard great things about performing at the Leicester Square theatre and I have lots of people coming to watch that I don't want to disappoint.

I'm nervous about my material. I've chosen to wear only felt and velvet and this choice of material is seriously making me doubt how well I will do. It was bad enough sweating on the tube this morning and worrying about the strange looks I was getting - why did I think this would be a good idea for a gig? I'm pleased I opted for the cape as I think a certain level of swishiness always adds good things to visual gag. And the hat, well, someone would say it's too much but I happen to think stuffed animals are cool so I'm going to go with my gut. The trouble is I have IBS and therefore going with my gut is often shit. Crude but honest. That's the way today is shaping up.

I'm also worried about my other material. I have a big dilemma. The difficulty is that this competition is called 'Funny Women' and there is a big hooha and to do every time anybody starts talking about gender difference in comedy. Personally, I think it's both twaddle and true which leaves me baffled as to what to do personally.

Performing my strongest material tonight will mean I need to end the set on a frank discussion of my sexual inadequacies and use the word clitoris. This will get good laughs as it's material I perform often and it got me into the semi finals. But there's a voice in my head asking whether I should be performing this kind of material at a competition where there are only women performing. It's my voice in my head so I'm fairly certain it's barmy (not least because I just tried to spell cerain surten...oh faithful red wiggly line). But, by talking about sex am I -

a) Confirming everyone's worst fears that all women can talk about is their shit boyfriends and periods?
b) Subverting the expectation by talking about it from a different angle?
c) Performing honest material that I wrote and like and have every right to perform but am worried about doing so because of the afore mentioned expectations and the stigma they hold?

My theory is that a single woman doing comedy can be, and often is, just as funny as a single man doing comedy. They can be just as unfunny too. The difficulty lies in the material choice. We are used to men doing comedy and being everywhere as we are still dealing with the remnants of a very male orientated society. There was a time when 'blue' comedy was difficult to accept and people struggled to find it funny, but we got there. But we only got there with 'male orientated' blue comedy I think. We are now ok with men talking about themselves and sexual subjects. We're not 100% there with women yet. It's still been done badly and for shock value too many times and there's not been enough exposure to get people to accept that there isn't 'comedy' and 'female comedy' there's just 'comedy' or, if you really want 'male comedy' and 'female comedy'.

My worry tonight is that I'll either be totally generic and not stand out despite it being good material. Or I'll try something newer and slightly off the wall and feck it up completely because I'm in a tizzy. Is it better to bow out doing strong but not exciting stuff or to be exciting and know the material isn't ready yet? It feels delightful to even be worrying about this because it shows I'm in this competition far sooner than I should really be anywhere and so I have many years to contemplate it. But all this lack of penis really does both complicate and improve (because I don't want a penis or any other dangly bits thank you) any attempts you might make at being a funny person.

So, my dilemma remains. Perhaps I'll just put a bucket on my head and sing them a song.

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