Back in 2000 I embarked on my first solo show. I had been in a musical comedy duo known as The Bunta Boys for just over five years from 1994 to 1999. At the end of 1999 I returned from travelling overseas and decided to start all over again as a stand up comedian. At first I thought I would be as good at stand up as I was at being in a musical comedy duo but my naiveté knew no bounds as I struggled with my first few months. It is like the game of cricket. You can be good at 20/20 but that doesn’t mean you’re good at Tests regardless that it is the same sport.
I wrote and wrote and wrote. I performed at gig after gig after gig. I wanted to improve and do so quickly. I started my first proper solo gigs in August of 1999 and without a moments hesitation decided I would put on my first solo show at the 2000 Adelaide Fringe. Regardless of the trepidation they were exciting times. “Screw You Misery, I’m the Karaoke Guy!” was a story about me in Amsterdam performing at a karaoke bar where memories and realisations clashed in a heady mix of hearty laughs, surreal encounters and brutal truths. The show began with a song in the dark and finished with me leaving behind the bar and the past with my imaginary sister. Looking back at the script recently I found alien thoughts and familiar themes. I wanted to cringe and cry all at the same time.
I’m now performing my 12th solo show (not including all the shows written for The Bunta Boys or last year’s play “Goodbye Ruby Tuesday”) and feel equal parts old and inspired. All these young kids that have burst onto the scene have so much energy and desire to speak about comedy and nothing else. I look at these guys and gals and it reminds me of the good times I had writing and performing this show. I had no idea if it would work but it received good reviews in an era where I deeply cared about what reviewers think. Now I just appreciate a good review and ignore the rest. There are good reviews here and here.
I wonder what the inspired Justin of “Screw You Misery…” fame would think of me now? Maybe a bit disappointed? Maybe a bit excited? Definitely wondering why I never had a better photo shoot for a poster, I can tell you that much for free! Check out the poster here.
Looking over the script I find hidden gems and best-forgotten gambles. I wonder what it would be like to rewrite this show and maybe present it at the Melbourne Fringe. A bit of spit and polish might give it a new shine that brings it fully kicking and screaming into the future. Then again I just like to look forward, to move on never forgetting the past achievements but always aiming for something better just up ahead. It might not be stand up, it might not be here in Australia but whatever it is I hope I never forget the ambition of that young boy who didn't know any better.
April 1st, 2010