Dan Roberts

Feeling Funny – November / December 2015

“You’ve got to laugh or you’ll cry”

dan robertsThis is an overused phrase that I’ve heard a million times, usually by the annoying one in work who’s just dumped a mountain of stuff on me before taking a long weekend; adding to the hamster-wheel/rat-race feeling that just never seems to abate.  AAAAND relax Dan, relax…. Keep it light, yeah?!  This is supposed to be an enjoyable read…!

Anyway, the long-winded point I am aiming to make with the opening quotation is that it’s absolutely not true.  Laughing and crying are not mutually exclusive emotions.  I found this out at the Blue Bar with tears of laughter rolling down my face at the acts I was lucky enough to share a stage with.  I’d watched their routines being honed and tweaked for the preceeding weeks at the top of the Radio City Tower, so the material itself wasn’t new to me at all, they were just all brilliantly funny and talented people to be around.  It was a true pleasure and a massive sense of communal achievement to witness it all come together in the final showcase.

My story is pretty simple really, certainly not as colourful or interesting as some of my fellow cohorts but bear with me and here goes; I’m Dan, 33, from the mean streets of Childwall(!).  I may joke, but South Liverpool is getting worse believe me…. I once saw a lad drop litter outside the chippy.  It was a dark day for L16 as the ‘Childwall in Bloom’ title may have come into question.  My parents always wanted me to be a laywer and my Dad once told me “You won’t amount to anything sitting on your backside doing next to nothing”.  I made it my life’s ambition to prove him wrong.  Now I’m getting paid monthly to sit on my backside doing next to nothing in the Civil Service(!) 

As you can probably already gauge, I see life through a sarcastic lens and this course was the first time I openly admitted, let alone discussed through the medium of comedy, the fact I suffer from depression.  ‘Cathartic’ is probably the most apt word to sum up the whole experience on a personal level.

I got into it by pure chance really.  I’d heard Sam Avery, the Comedy Director, on the radio talking about the ‘Feeling Funny’ course.  I can’t really understand, or even explain to myself, what made me email to say I fancied it.  Maybe I was bored, maybe it was a because my mates have always said I’m witty and dry, maybe I wanted to challenge myself, maybe I’ve always thought I could do it and wanted to give it a bash, maybe I just sit in so many meetings that I’m constantly thinking up jokes to pass the time.  Maybe it was a combination of all of the above.

Whatever the reason, it was more than worth it, I’d recommend it to anyone, and I’d do it all again tomorrow.  Granted, it is probably the most natural laxative one can take – but if you’re anything like me, once all of your verbal bile is out in the open, the laughter from the audience is like a metaphorical loo-roll; wiping your nonsense clean, leaving yourself feeling immeasurably lighter and fully satisfied.

Oh by the way, toilet humour is frowned upon.

 

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