Friday, June 10, 2011

Gloom and then shine

I didn't prepare as well as I could have for tonight's show. It wasn't the hour I spent at the physio, lying face down with a machine vibrating my shoulder. It wasn't the pain of the spasm in my shoulder, still knotted up after all the tweaking. I don't even think it was coming home to an enormous electricity bill.

No, I think my principal mistake was lying down for half an hour and reading some more of Nothing To Envy, a book about North Korea since the 1990s. Clearly this was never going to be a barrel of laughs, but as I read it there were occasional extra bursts of misery, sucker punching me when I didn't expect it. I got as far as welling up at the sacrifice a Chinese farmer made for the Korean wife he'd purchased, and figured it was time to put the book down and get outside.

It's not that it's a bad book. It's a very good book, although quite surreal when you start to read about some of the idiotic evils visited on the Korean people. And like Emergency Sex, a book I read about UN workers last year, there are these landmines hidden in the gloom, so just when you think you're accustomed to the misery you're reading about, something else awful happens to somebody who's not a statistic, and you feel ever more ruined.
I've written a new joke about people's perceptions of Canadians, although I don't think it's quite right yet: I need something punchier about chips covered in gravy. I'm thinking that 'Belgian' is probably funnier than 'European' but the punchline isn't quite there yet. Or perhaps I needed an audience entirely of Canadians. Or Belgians.

I did rescue it with a bit of sheer arrogance, claiming the British are the best nation on earth. Rather playing to the gallery, as there were a lot of drunk Brits in the room, but it rescued me from a dead spot, and sometimes you have to cheat your way to success.

Tomorrow is the second comedython - twelve hours of comedy. I'm hoping my shoulder can cope.

Like it's such a difficult physical task, talking into a microphone in front of a usually quite agreeable crowd, sheltered from the elements, in an air-conditioned environment supplied with a copious amount of booze.

(Well, it is a T1 according to the weather forecast, which means there a typhoon in the same hemisphere... Better batten down the hatches, ladies and gentlemen.)


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