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Stand Up Comedy Saved My Life

Someone once said ‘Creativity should be ignored at your peril’. That was true for me. I spent my early twenties submerged in corporate bullshit; utilizing my big mouth and thick skin to make unjustified amounts of money flogging flats to wankers. To say I was unfulfilled would be an understatement. I was dead inside. Money didn’t excite me – so I swapped it for cocaine and £16 Mojitos.

QuoteI was an A-Class bellend masquerading as a ‘party girl’. Uninspired by anything and without an outlet for my devious humor, I relied solely on powder and booze to get my giveashit-o-meter above zero. My creativity was manifesting itself into a lust for fucking myself up, which coupled with my addictive nature, meant it was only ever going to end in tears. Life turned into a sequence of obscenity linked together by galactic come downs and 5-HTP. To make this more interesting, I’d say I was sleeping around as well. Truth is, I was usually too wired for that. In fact, on the one occasion I did manage to lure a bloke back to my overpriced Chelsea twat pad, I nipped to the bog to poke the last specs of Boutros Ghali into my dual cyclone power nostrils and he did a runner. I think I might have talked too much.

drunk

My head was always full of ludicrous ideas as well as fluctuating levels of serotonin. I am also blessed with the attention span of a gnat with ADHD. No surprise then, that when I announced during a severely messy NYE ‘kitchen’ party that my resolution was to become a standup comedian, it was met with sniggers. I’d show them. Unlike my previous flash in pan resolutions, this baby was going to make it past the first trimester.

I sat on it for a little while. For 14 months to be precise. I like to call it the ‘gestation period’. Comedy was growing inside of me, absorbing all my weird, twisted thoughts. I went to watch a mate of a mate at an open mic night in London Bridge. There were some decent acts but there was also some utter dogshit which made me think I might actually be able to have a go without looking like the most deluded tool in the room. I booked myself in for the following month. I had a deadline. All I needed now was 5 minutes worth of jokes.

charlie chaplinPacing up and down in front of a mirror, talking into a banana and watching endless Frank Skinner clips on YouTube. That’s how I started. The first joke I ever wrote was based largely on the fabricated idea that I was Polish. It was an office joke at the time; I look a bit Eastern European. ‘My Dad is from Essex and my Mum’s from Poland, so I love sex but I also love cleaning… I take an anal approach to both…’.

I know. It’s fucking horrendous and technically flawed, but it was a start. It became my opening line. The rest of my set was equally as highbrow. There was the obligatory comparison between doing my first gig and losing my virginity, a tale about catching my dad wanking over a picture of me and a charming finisher about the perils of using Crunchy Sunpat as lube. All in all, it was massive up yours to taste and decency / a pretty brave debut.

Brave was not how I was feeling as the guy before me on the bill started their set. I can still taste the warm bile on my teeth mixed with Marlboro Lights and Strongbow. I have learned to love that taste. The bastard was good, really good. And squeaky clean. Fuck. I was about to drop a racist buggery joke straight after his cute routine about cloak rooms and cereal. My set was the equivalent of the rape scene from Deliverance popping up in the middle of the One Show. That bastard was Rob Beckett.

comedy storeThe rest is a blur; hearing my name, being shoved out from behind a curtain, waiting for the applause to die down and then, -pause- out shot the first line. The relief was comparable to taking a piss after a 24 year car journey. It shocked them into rapturous laughter, sending a rush of adrenaline through my veins and rewarding me with a better buzz than any I’d had before. There and then, in front of a dozen pissed city boys and a few open jawed comics, I’d found my new addiction.

That was three years ago. I am still gigging and I keep my nose clean. I have some better jokes now too. On stage I effectively become a 4D caricature of my hedonistic past self. It’s a careful mix of truth and mountainous bullshit through which I can effectively reveal just how much of a tit I was without too much accountability. And it’s cheaper than counseling.

Although I haven’t exactly been an overnight success, I’ve had my moments and some unforgettable cheap thrills, like getting away with dropping a joke about Princess Di’s ghost giving Prince Will a hand job in front of an audience of 500 at The Comedy Store. But it almost doesn’t matter how far this goes. Comedy means more to me than a shot at the big-time. It’s my baby. So regardless of how successful it ends up being, I’m not going to give it up. It gives me the rush I can’t live without, and for that, I owe it one.

Follow Hannah on Twitter @deasyface

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