When Antony Jay, the creative genius behind hit BBC sitcom “Yes Minister” was a young man he was deeply interested in politics. Shortly after leaving high school he was determined to get involved in politics but soon found the system so farcical and ridiculous he decided the only way he could work proximate to politics, was by making fun of it. My experience was somewhat similar to Jay’s. In year 12 I had written a satirical political play called The Puppet Show for English but otherwise but otherwise I intended to take politics seriously. After all I did leave high school with a certificate adjudging me the most likely person to become Prime Minister. Like Antony Jay however I found grassroots politics to be awful and nowhere near as fun as The West Wing made it out to be.
I must confess I was also fairly disappointed by the quality of some comedic television programmes on Australian TV at the time, I won’t specify which ones in case someone I know worked on them but I was imbued with a nauseatingly egotistic belief that I was easily capable of writing something of comparable quality. I began researching how it was someone got into these sort of larks and given I had no creative background aside from The Puppet Show the avenue which seemed most practical was stand up. I did this with full knowledge that I had also received a certificate in High School proclaiming me the “Lamest Joke Teller” but in fairness I didn’t write the joke that got me that accolade, Flacco did.
So I embarked upon the predictable route of open mic comedy. I wrote some awful material, spoke way too fast on stage and dragged to a couple of god awful open mic nights those friends who could be trusted
- Not to snigger at my pursuit and
- Not to tell people who would snigger about it
But invariably it did seep out and most people now know. If you didn’t already, you do now. I shan’t try and limit who knows any longer. And as one friend recently put it to me, it’s a pretty strange thing to be embarrassed about having shared the stage with Tom Ballard, Kitty Flanagan, Sam Simons, Fiona O’loughlin and Claire Hooper. That audiences generally laugh quite a bit at mostly the right parts of my sets these days is also an odd thing to be embarrassed by, but I don’t talk about that.
So there it is, I’m an Open Mic stand up with ambitions to become a television writer. I haven’t come remotely close to achieving those outcomes as of yet but I’ve had a marvellous time in the process and met some extraordinary people. I always refer to myself as “an open micer” not as a comedian. Comedian seems to denote some sort of occupation and it is certainly not my occupation. I am a gardener who studies law. Hitherto I’ll be putting irritating requests for people to come check out gigs I’m doing on facebook, sorry in advance if this irritiates you but the promoters on the Sydney Comedy scene who put together these nights are enormously self sacrificing and I feel terribly guilty towards them for not encouraging more people to see the fruits of their labours more often already.
For the record I still don’t think I’m particularly funny, I think I’m clever. Everything I have ever written has been written through a mechanical process of applying writing techniques. For example I use simile’s a lot. I like to find an example of someone doing something for which they are not renown for doing well, then I compare this example to someone who has also done something poorly to highlight how poorly they have done it. The final product is “… Justin Bieber giving political advice is a bit like Bert and Pattie Newton dishing out parenting advice.”
So please, come to this show, Peter Berner is famously funny, whilst Brent Thorpe, Jeremy Keast and Danny O’toole are all comedians who I’ve gigged with a number of times, they are all excellent and will make your evening well worth the price of admission.
Thank you Kindly