I was right about the cat and the duck. They were omens.
I used to be good at improvised comedy. I started off doing it in the early 90's and soon became the funniest man in all of Theatresports. Yeah. My ambition wasn't huge. When it came to being Winston Churchill with a spatula in an aeroplane toilet, I was your man. Can you imagine Trainspotting performed in a Shakespearean style? YOU DON'T HAVE TO! I could do it for you. But that was years ago and, due to lack of practice and lack of talent, the knack to weave solid gold out of someone giving me the suggestion "gynaecologist" seems to have left me.
Last night was fun and terrifying. I was one fourth of the London Improv Players at The Phoenix, just off Oxford Street, along with Brendan Dempsey, Tara Flynn and Rufus Hound. On my way to the gig I became more and more nervous and by the time I got there I was pretty much a wreck. I certainly wasn't given a confidence boost by the venue spelling my name wrong on both signs outside the venue: Tara Legge. That's quite a typo. Not that I complained about it. That would be a block.
Brendan and Tara do improvised comedy a fair bit. They used to perform together in a group in Dublin. They've already clicked comedy-wise so they'll be able to cover all my mistakes. That made me feel a bit better. Plus Rufus has never done this in his life ever ever. Not that that phased him. Rufus is incredibly confident. He might be the most confident man I've met and the thought of going on stage and doing something he's never done before barely caused him to shrug. I bet he's never climbed a mountain before either but take him to Mount Everest and an hour later he'd probably be at the top fucking your girlfriend and her sister. In the bum. He's confident is what I'm saying. All three would cover up my mistakes. And they did. They had to.
At one point, Brendan turned to me and asked why the Pope had suddenly gone on to approve of condoms. Instead of coming up with something witty or inventive, my entire brain just shrugged it's shoulders and said "Don't look at me". My brain is a prick sometimes. So I just sat there and said words. In a stupid accent. Not my own accent, an even stupider one. One that I kept forgetting the more I used it.
Still, the gig didn't last forever and the others were funny and, chances are, no one even noticed I was there. That's all good. Not that I had done spectacularly badly, I just know I hadn't done that well. I knew by the honesty of Miles Jupp who was bravely in the audience. Normally, no matter how badly you did someone will say something that seems postive. Something like "Well done" or "Good stuff" or, much more horribly, "Did you enjoy that?" but Miles is a good man, a nice man, an HONEST man. He said "You should do some workshops". I haven't slept since.
He's right, of course. I'd love to keep doing impro with these guys so I'd better get better. Plus I've got The Conversation, the improvised two-hander I do with John Voce, this coming Wednesday. If someone can please teach me how to be funny then for the love of humanity don't keep it to yourself.