Posted: 15 December 2015

Advent: What happened when I reached comedic puberty

In you, My God, I put my trust… Comedian Andy Kind shares his experiences of chasing success in today's Advent calendar blog. 

Ten years ago I was a fledging comedian. I also had more hair on my head and less on my back and bottom than I do now, but let’s gloss over that. I was down in London, entering one of many ‘new act’ competitions that offer newbies a vain hope of escaping the bottle-neck of desperate amateurs into the promised land of professional stand-up. 

The competition was in a venue where the ‘Specials Menu’ declared, ‘We don’t serve no food’, and where bar brawls weren’t reported to the police unless there were more than two fatalities. Still, the prize money for the winner was £250, and that’s a lot of Pot Noodles - the staple diet of any struggling artist.

I really wanted to win the competition, and I only had one tiny obstacle in my way: I wasn’t very good at comedy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m awesome now - but back then I had yet to reach comedic puberty. I had about four jokes (if we can call them jokes, which we can’t and mustn’t), a poem that was more harrowing than funny, and a series of impressions that would have been very effective if I could do impressions. My only press quote had been from the Manchester Evening News, which had described me as ‘also appearing that night’. So, not an odds-on favourite for glory. Do not let me be out to shame.

Waiting for my 15 minutes

I stood in the luxurious green room disabled toilet, eyeing up the other young comics (two of whom have since been on Live at the Apollo) and pretending not to notice every time one of them ushered out a nervy trump of gas. Nor let my enemies triumph over me.

But then I won! While everyone else struggled to make the modest audience titter, I ripped it up from the start. Even the harrowing poem garnered cheers and applause. But then it would, wouldn’t it, when everyone in the audience was from my phone book?

I had cheated. Knowing that the result was decided by audience vote, I had arranged for my friends to turn up early and mob-handed, so that 95% of the gathered throng was on my Christmas card list.

It was my first ever competition win, and would pay the bills and rent for a month (NB. I basically lived in a shed back in ‘05). But as I got out a fat roll of twenties to pay for my celebratory kebab, that phrase I’d read hit me. Shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.

I was a new Christian, but I realised I couldn’t act like this anymore. Do not remember the sins of my youth.

I sloped back into the venue (having first destroyed the kebab) and confessed. I was called numerous different words that can’t be printed her. But I’d finally done the right thing. He instructs sinners in His ways.

I may have never won a major comedy competition since, but it is my job, and I don’t have to eat Pot Noodles anymore.

And my hope is not in success, but in Him. All day long.

By Andy Kind - Guest bloggers

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Advent: Parliament is taking notice

Posted: 14 December 2015