And so it begins… 

I lost my job at the Muller Yoghurt factory. Well they said I was cutting corners.

That was the first joke I told at the very first stand up gig I ever did. I know it’s not exactly Woody Allen but it got a few chuckles and I was off!

Like many people who start doing stand up comedy, I’d wanted to try it for a while before finally taking the plunge. I knew I could make people laugh in social situations and quite a few people had suggested over the years that I should give it a try but I never had the confidence to get up on stage and actually do it.

In the end I booked myself onto one of Logan Murrays stand up courses figuring that over and above any skills I’d learn (and I learnt loads), the fact I’d paid a fairly substantial amount for the course would mean my natural tightness and desire to get value for money would outweigh any fears I had about giving it a go.

And so it proved. I did my first open mic in July and have now done approximately 25 gigs to date.

In comedy terms I’m hardly even on the first rung of the ladder – my feet are still largely planted on the dog shit strewn pavement below the first rung – but at least I’ve got started and am now looking up the ladder as opposed to gazing enviously at the ladder from the other side of the road wondering what if….

My overriding feeling having finally given it a go is that I wish I’d done it years ago. I can already sense that there’s a fairly lengthy learning curve that is pretty unavoidable as you need to build up a certain amount of experience in order to reach a baseline level of comfort on stage, and as an ‘older’ comedian (I’m in my forties), it doesn’t feel like I’ve got a lot of time to get there.

On the other hand though, I think being a bit older means perhaps that learning curve is slightly shortened as I’m more comfortable in who I am and what I have to say. I can see young comedians who may be talented but are still struggling to find out who they are offstage let alone onstage. I am simultaneously jealous of them for their youth as well as thankful that is long behind me.

I’m currently trying to do one or two gigs a week which is about as much as work and family commitments allow. I’ve got a couple of decent 5 mins together which seem to go down well and trying to work up to a 10 mins slot over the next few months.

I will try and update this blog as much as I can with my experiences and share any lessons/mistakes I encounter. I have to say my track record at committing to things like this is not great – we were all allocated a pen pal at school and mine wrote to me three times without my replying once but I will do my very best to update it regularly which, as with my stand up comedy, is all I can really say.

Paul Entwistle 

@pfentwistle