By Phil Le Brun
A darkened room full of people. A hot white stage-light brings you into isolated focus. The low crackle of feedback the only sound as you inch towards the microphone. Eyes fixed on you in still silence. A heady mix of expectation spiked with dread.
For many, the prospect of standing up in front of people armed with nothing but your wits is the stuff of sweaty nightmares. For us, this is now a reality. Less than a week from today, a number of this year’s intake (and Marc) will do our first ever stand up comedy gig.
In September this seemed like a great idea… Like young British men at the outbreak of the First World War, we flocked to enlist, brave and stupid. We’ve lost some of our battalions along the way, but in less than a week, we’ll be going over the top. Let’s hope we don’t get ripped to bloody shreds.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been put through our paces by Mr. Cee from the Comedy School. We’ve made each other and ourselves squirm, laugh and cry but with our final rehearsal taking place this week, everyone has come into their own. This experience has taught me that anyone can be funny. With the right techniques, timing and crucially confidence anyone has the potential to squeeze at least a chuckle out of someone.
Comedy school has taught me much more than how to be funny. In fact, I’m not even sure it’s taught me that yet. I guess we’ll see on Sunday.
Even if I crash and burn, the last couple of months have been invaluable in becoming a better creative. Comedy can be a great tool for advertising. What better way to make a consumer actually feel something for your brand? So many of my favorite ads are just branded comedy sketches. I remember growing up wanting to write Orange Wednesday scripts. But it’s not just crafting funnier lines, scripts and playing with wordplay comedy school has been useful for.
I’ve become far more observant, consciously looking to find humor in the world around me. Which isn’t difficult. The world, despite what we try and make of it is funny. My life may not have much of a plot yet, but it’s got some hilarious casting. But there’s humour to be found not just in the quirks and behavior of friends and family. It doesn’t stop there. People are funny. I watched a man’s quiet descent into total panic earlier today when he realised he’d accidentally been perusing in the women’s section of Urban Outfitters. He looked around like he’d accidentally had one of his bollocks out.
Observation isn’t just for laughs, it’s where insights come from. We’ve learnt that the best insights are the rare truths that everyone knows, but not everyone can see. Some of the greatest campaigns of the past few years could have been built around a comedian’s observation. The flip of the ‘the walk of shame’ we saw in a Harvey Nichols’ ad a few years back is something you could have laughed at the Comedy Store.
Finally, the skills we’ve learned in delivery and timing are so important for making our ideas have an impact. For storytelling. For selling.
Come watch us next Sunday @