I spotted a post on LinkedIn for the Liverpool BID Company Comedy Course that they were running, asking local businesses to put themselves or staff forward to attend the course. This would result in a stand-up gig at a city centre comedy club that was listed as part of the Liverpool Comedy Festival.
I have had a year of wanting to push myself out of my comfort zone, packed in my job, started a new business and decided I was going to give this a go! The course itself was 6 weeks long but I could only attend half of it due to a holiday and work commitment but was keen to get stuck in. I was thinking that it would be “taught” and be prescriptive to whip us in to shape. In truth, it wasn’t like that at all. The course was run by award-winning Liverpool comedian, Sam Avery, who was very funny as well as a great guy and mentor. He helped to bring the best out of people. Each person wrote their own material and Sam gave pointers and feedback about timing, tweaks and changes in an amazingly supportive and diplomatic way, even when some of it just wasn’t funny!
By week 4/5, most in the group had started to gauge what they wanted to deliver and had only tweaks to make. Everybody in the group got involved and gave feedback to each other, facilitated by Sam and in a short space of time, a real team bond was developing. Finally, week 6 was here. I should say that I have done many presentations in front of small and large groups over the years and had been excited about the prospect of doing this. I know many of us hate presentations/ public speaking but I was used to it, so would take it in my stride.
People started to arrive and it was show time. I was the last of 6 acts on the night and can say that the previous 5 all gave a great demonstration of how it should be done. The audience were loving it and I felt very proud of what they and Sam had achieved in such a short space of time. Before I knew it, it was my time. Sam came and gave me a few words of encouragement. My intro music started and Sam introduced me, this time I had to deliver. The next 8 minutes seemed to go well and people complimented me at the end. The sense of achievement and adrenaline was amazing.
I won’t be giving up my day job any time soon but I will never forget the experience or the bond it created.