Stand Up has always been the number one fear to conquer for me. And it was even more scary than i had anticipated! I’ve always had an irrational fear of being the centre of attention.
But there is a chihood memory which may have been the birth of this fear.
It was a talent competition in Butlins in the 80s with several hundred parents watching kids perform.
My little brother had gone up and was mid way through his tap dancing routine, the audience were crying. Everyone loved him. As usual. The Christmas before he had brought the entire school and all the parents to tears with his rendition of The Snowman. The hardest kid in the school turned up at our front door with 50p for him the next day, coz he loved it so much.
I was a weird reclusive type who mainly locked myself away and tapped away on computers. I was weird. But in Butlin’s i thought id get up and tell some jokes. I remember having a loose plan in my head of some stuff i’d talk about to the big crowd and i was up for it. I tugged on my tearful Mam’s shoulder pad,
“I’m going to go up.”
“Hmmm?” she said turning back to cry at my sequined brother do the Good Ship Lollipop.
“Mam, i wanna put my name down.”
“What? What would you do up there?’ she asked
“I dunno, tell jokes and stuff,” I replied.
She looked at me, tapping me gently on the leg, “shhhhhhhhhhhhh” she said. She continued to tap as she turned her attention back to my ginger superstar bro.
Jealous? Well i never wanted to be a tap dancer. But I wanted to have a go at speaking with the crowd. Shushed by my Mam. No Jase, what the fuck are you thinking?
I never touched a mic. I never was at the centre of attention. And whenever it seemed like i was about to be. I would fall apart. But i developed an amazing coping strategy: LEG IT. It seemed like the only way. Just get the fuck out of there as fast as possible. I often wonder what would have happened if i had walked onto stage in the 80s. Would i have been a hit! or a flop. would it have helped me overcome my shyness or made it worse?!
Even when i was in my band, touring for 8 years, i managed to stay hidden in the shadows. I took care to never stand out, and somehow managed to escape the limelight despite our growing fanbase. Most people didn’t even know i was in the band. And that was the way i liked it.
So what is this all about? Why am i like this?
I’m all for facing my fears and pushing my limits so i decided i’d try and face this weird aspect of myself and iron it out. I joined a Speaker’s Club in Cardiff. This was terrifying. I done my first speech, to introduce yourself, to a crowd of about 20. I went into some dark stuff and scared the hell out of my fellow club members. I left in an embarrassed flood of despair, and didn’t manage pluck up the courage to return for almost 2 years.
I then rejoined and done a couple of speeches and freestyle speaking, some went well and some were total disasters, but i made some great friends in a friendly supportive environment. I still didn’t know why i was doing this, and when people asked I said i had no use for public speaking and that i was simply doing it to overcome a lifelong fear.
Then i went for it. I went for the big one. I was booked on to do my first ever 5 minute comedy warm up slot. I had guidance from Keith Palmer, who, without, I don’t think i could have done it. He spent several weeks helping me pull a set together. On the night the Fear was unreal . I was backstage with several other folk who were doing it for the first time and we were all a total mess. Sweating, pacing, crying, talking to ourselves, rocking, and lying on the floor sick. My name was called. I had a friend, my partner and my parents in the crowd. I had told them about it, really didn’t expect them to turn up to St Pauls in Bristol on a Saturday night! Especially as my Dad was usually in bed by 8. There it was. The lights were hot and 30 years after Butlins my Mam was sat there waiting for me to take centre stage. I was about to die in front of my loved ones. I was fucking terrified. My body shook. And i was ready to run. fight or flight? i was definitely preferring Flight! Who the fuck was I to say hey everyone, you bought your tickets, and hey, im the entertainment, and I THINK IM FUNNY. And thanks to everyone who drove here and made the effort. IM HERE!!! fuck fuck fuck . I didnt wanna go. Keith stepped up moments before i hit the stage. He shook my hand, Looked at me deeply in the eye. I felt like i was tripping. everything sloooooowed down. The compere introduced me . I cant go out. Clapping!! oh fuck.
Keith said ‘ TAKKKEE YOOOOOOOOOUUUURRRR TIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIME. GO SLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWLY. YOU’LL BE FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE’
I stepped out, about 70 people looked at me and the host whispered into my ear, take your time, and shook my hand….. here’s what followed:
youtube link here
below is my original script as it looked the day before i went on stage, as you can see most of the ‘jokes’ didn’t land, and i forgot half my fuckin script. but hey… and the hecklers?wtf…. Any how, it was exhilarting and im chuffed as fuck i’ve finally done it. I may get back up. i’ll decide after i’ve got over the complete trauma of my 1st gig. Cheers for checking this shit out.///..
Hiya. Hello wembley. How are we?
I am Jason! Hello!
I am from Wales! (arm gesture to get crowd to cheer)….
Did you know Welsh is the fastest growing language? The number of WElsh speakers doubled last year. From 2 to 4.
I learned some Welsh phrases.
Yakidar!!!! YAAAAKIDDDAAAAAAA – Popydping
Bulbosbluuch -that means i have a spacehopper for baLLS….
Im really Proud to be welsh , i love wales….. i m moving to france tomorrow..
my freinds in wales describe me as…………………
A Big Issue Seller
A Short Arsed Hairy Jippo Bastard ….Cheers Nan! (thumbs up)….
Any one got any phobias……
I got one…… WEIRD Fucking Noises!!!!!!!!!!!
Volume ,,,,, everything same]
More gentle sounds can send u nuts cant concentrate…..
Ii have been pursued my entire life. Pursued By Small Noises. Small crap noises that
don t belong where i am. They are not meant to be there but they turn up and fuck with
my mind. The common ones are breathing and eating….
I came across an article recently and it exists, and its called Misophonia! Thankfully i
have found that this is actually a recognised disorder I text my my girlfriends Ive got
Misophonia! she relpies Ok ill stop making you Miso soup . It s weird how in Alcoholics Anonymous there first thing people tell you is their name.
At last i belong to a group…..I am Jason and I am a Misophonic.
I love silennce…… Except at a comedy gig -when i need laughter!!!!!
Breathing in here back there . Keeep it downnn/////
i m not sure if im completely mental but even right now, (pick out a sound – traffic / seat
squeeking / etc) i am listening to that and am finding it very hard to concentrate on
speaking to you.
Big noises don t bother me. They are supposed to be there. These are the sounds of
things happening. What i m talking about is the noises that dont belong there. The ones
that sound apologetic for existing. Just creeping up behind you like some weird sex pest
that keeps stroking you.
My flat mate, well, my ex flat mate, was a lovely Chinese guy. I really liked him.But at
5am every night from the opposite end of my flat the coughing would begin. Quiet and
pathetic. Like a Chihuahua with a pube in its throat.
(Ch Ch Chu Chu Cheugh).
Then minutes later he would be over the toilet clearing his throat of phlegm Cecking up
flem all over my toilet. I would lay there listening. (Puking sound eeeeuuurgghhh
wwwwuuuughhh wwrruuugh! )
I would then slip back into a dreamy silent sleep. At 7am he would be having Noodles for breakfast! (Schhhhklllllllluuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurp pop
DAN SNORING!!!! My friend, wouldnt wake up, I Stood him up! still snoring….
A Fart 3 blocks away in the middle of the night and im up and on the prowl with a torch…..
A previous flat mate (theres been a lot) used to sleep in all day. He would come into the
kitchen around 2pm most days, and glide past me crusty eyed with his cat in tow. I
would be working at the kitchen table (laptop keyboard gesture) and he wuold open the
fridge behind me and take out some sliced ham. He would then take a scissors and begin
to snip the ham into smaller pieces and put into his cat;s bowl. The creepy ham snip
behind my lug hole was enough to send me over the edge.
Schnnnniiip Schhhhhhnip! Schhhhjnip! >>>>>>the sweet sound of a nervous
breakdown . More sound in roommm……… Point it out.
This strange disorder has been with me all my life. AS a child i would awake 2 hours
before my family to enjoy some peace before school. Pure bliss. Then my mam would
come into the living room. She would cross the living room carpet, her slippers slapping
on her heels:. (Thhhhhhh slap Thhhh slap thhhhh slap). Then she d open the blinds
(chhhh chhhhh chhhhh chhh).
Id go and eat my sugar puffs in the kitchen/. Now dont get me wrong, I dont mind if you
stir your coffe with some vigour. You know grab the spoon add gthe sugar and stir the
fucker up and dissolve the sugar like that (vigouroues stirring motion) VOILA!!!!
However, a feeble coffee stir in the morning is one of thr worst wounds in the universe
for me. Dont ask me why but it has always sent me into a rage.
Tin Tink Tin Tink Tin Tink tink Tink.
Now the odd thing is I love to MAKE noise. I am a music producer! I love dance music….
Big it up….. Maybe i chose this career to get my own back! I love the sound of my own
At the moment i took a job on the side, all great performers have to take side jobs
Roni Size had a paper round, Pete Tong was the Avon Lady, And …..I, I sell Eggs.
My mam is well proud of me! I love to eat eggs, I fucking hate selling eggs. But the eggs
are paying the bills…. Just stood there all day as people come up and ask about the fuckin
Are they happy chickens? – squeeky voice
No, they are on Prozac mate.
Do they have space to roam around?
No mate, They’re under the counter….
I have become pretty successful at selling eggs, much more than i have as a music
Each week while I am selling my eggs a busker comes along to the market. Now i love
buskers. I fully encourage people to perform in the street, However this busker is the
bastard love child of James Blunt. That cockey rhyming emotional wimp who croaks out
his song which for some reason millions buy. I mean have you heard his voice? This is
the same voice as the busker who joins me every week. How can something so FEEBLE
make me so MURDEROUS? Sounds like he s crying……….
(himmy himmy heeem himmmy heeeem heeeem) <<<<<<<<<<<<<<shorten it………
Im off now, please keep it quiet. And gimme a shout if you want some eggs.
massive shout out to Keith and The Comedy School and all the excellent charity work they do, respect.