My International Comedy Career
I am glad to claim that, among the many honourifics bestowed upon me over the years (such as ‘Mister’), I am also an International Stand-up Comedian.
I can say this, because I once performed on a beach in Thailand. What happened was, some friends and I were sitting around drinking too many cocktails like the fat lazy westerners we were, and down on the sand this street performer guy started hosting a show of various acts. It was a terrible show, full of trainee jugglers and apprentice fire-twirlers, and a tightrope walker who defied everyone’s expectations by traversing a rope suspended five centimetres off the ground.
‘The stakes could have been higher,’ said someone, pointing at the stakes.
However, because the host was another Aussie, and kind of looked like a mate of mine from back home, and I was drunk, I thought it would be a great idea to go and tell him I was a very talented comic, and if he wanted me to perform my act in his show, then that was something I would definitely consider.
The guy turned out to be entirely accommodating and brazenly enthusiastic. He accepted my boasts in an amazing show of blind good faith. He even said I could go on next if I wanted! I agreed to his terms and thus, not many moments later, found myself being introduced over a crackling headset mic to the scattered crowd of tourists who had been ‘enjoying’ the show so far.
I strode across the sand to take the headset mic, confident its evident faultiness would prove no hindrance to me. I then launched into a stand-up routine which definitely requires a firm grasp of English, to a crowd of Thais, French, Swedish, Germans, Africans, you name it, through buzzing, broken audio equipment.
My audience regarded me with the kind of politely puzzled expressions that comedians everywhere crave. I smiled to let them know it was going well, before telling them more jokes in English. I found myself wishing I had some firesticks after all, having developed a new appreciation for the way they transcended the language barrier. Either that, or I could use them to ignite the cocktail fumes wafting from me and make a spontaneous exit.
Instead, after a few more minutes, I said, ‘Well, that’s my time, so welcome back to the stage, er … um …’
Try as I might, I could not recall the generous, risk-taking host’s name. It wasn’t the name of the mate he reminded me of, that much was certain, but that still left me with a whole bunch of other names to choose from.
‘Give it up for … that guy over there! Your MC! Give it up for … him … ladies and gentlemen! What a great guy … he is!’
I think everyone was very relieved to see him return with an oversized deck of cards.
My friends thought it was all very funny, of course. Certainly, for me, it was a gig I shall treasure for as long as my mind is still revisiting nightmares.
And that’s my international comedy career thus far. Can’t wait to find out what happens next!