Friday 17th January 2020.
This is it. The debut. I’ve been practising hard and rehearsing the routine. I even bought a Boris Johnson wig to add to the authentic feel. I’ve got the voice…..now I just need the material and the jokes to make it work.
People have been commenting on how good the voice is, the mannerisms and the thoughts of our current PM. I thought he’s a current person in the news, he’s a flamboyant character and his recognisable gestures and bumbling incompetence could be the perfect vehicle for me.
I was busy watching the news and YouTube and copying the voice and trying to get into Boris’s head a little bit. With a week to go before curtain up, I saw my name down on the act list with several others. The nerves started to kick in. I thought “My God, this is really happening isn’t it?”
Then the afternoon of the 17th. Nerves, self criticism and all the inner talk of “You’ll be rubbish and it’ll go really badly” we’re surfacing. I managed to suppress them sufficiently and set off for the venue in plenty of time.
The comedy night which I performed at gives acts with physical, mental and learning disabilities the chance to showcase their talents. I qualify by having Autism Spectrum Disorder, which is a lifelong disability that affects my ability to function on occasions.
I arrived in the room, there were only 15 or so there with 45 minutes to go. I thought “This will be ok, a small audience”. How wrong I was. Within 15 more minutes, the audience grew to about 60. A small, intimate room, I watched on in wonder at what I’d let myself in for.
I was third act on. I put the wig on, and script in hand, I made my tentative way to the mic. The first act was excellent and I had a very high standard to live up to. All of a sudden, I was away. Within 60 seconds, I said “I’ve got this. I can do this”.
The jokes and material went down well and the act, without sounding pretentious, was authentic. I dressed as Boris Johnson usually does, with a smart suit and tie. The audience really liked the seven minutes. There was laughter and applause and all the preparation paid off – handsomely.
What a buzz. I’m not into recreational drugs or alcohol or anything like that, but they surely can’t compare to the buzz of people actually laughing with me rather than at me. I felt so good and I was on cloud nine. Beginners luck? I don’t know. All I can say is that I received some tremendous support from friends and family and the background work of doing presentations helped with the confidence.
Marvellous feeling. I enjoyed the rest of the night with two other acts in particular, really performing to a wonderfully high standard. I thought wow, what is this all about?
When I got home, I watched the video back that someone had recorded. One small point a friend of mine picked up on was the fact that the Boris voice wasn’t quite there as I displayed in practice. Fair point and probably the nerves played a part.
I didn’t come back down to earth for a couple of days. No one could take the feeling of euphoria and wonderment away from me. 47 years of age and finally being able to do something worthwhile with my life at last, I hope.
The feedback was amazing and the comedy bug had bitten me. Incredible experience and one I shall never forget as long as I’m drawing breath. Here’s to many more!
Yours in comedy,
Ian L. Fullbrook