I didn't feel all that nervous about my gig at The Takapuna before I got there and that's always a bad sign. I felt a little bit of nerves as a stood in the actual venue, it seemed to fill up quite quickly and there was a little poster which said "Hallam FM's Nick Margerrison" stuck up on the door as you went in. However, my names was rightly overshadowed by the moniker of Roger Monkhouse who is a massive comedy star in the North of England. He was in our comedy hall of fame back at the flat I used to share with Matt Mackay and some of his performances at The Lescar in Sheffield were the stuff of legend.
I started to get a little more nervous as I sat opposite a bloke called Killian Monson who I've seen perform a couple of times. He went on first and as I watched him I kept thinking; "f#ck I've got to do that soon". Then I started having, "f#ck it, I could just pull out" thoughts.
"I don't have to do this after all. Just run off. Big John's having a BBQ, I could go to that. Yeah, I could just do one. I'm sure the organisers wouldn't mind. After all this is my penultimate performance. I'm a radio DJ not a stand up comedian."
It's a sign of real nerves when you start worrying that if you drink too much diet coke perhaps it'll make you burp onstage and you'll ruin a punchline because you can't suppress one in time;
"I grew my hair long to look like John Lennon and I ended up looking like Meat-BURP". Not good. My imagination is starting to run away with itself a bit. I avoid talking to Matt about my nerves because it just makes them worse. Instead I just say that I'm a bit nervous as my mind races away:
"What if my mind just goes blank? Oh dear. I can't do this. I think I'll go and have a poo."
So I pop to the toilet and sit there. Then someone else comes in.
"Man, I hate this. There's nothing worse than someone else being a party to your noises. A man's toilet based noises are his own private and personal business. They're not something designed to be broadcast" - PLOP - "to strangers."
It's stage time! I'm up. I do my stuff. They laugh. I carry on doing my stuff. They carry on laughing. I start to realise that this is actually going quite well. I carry on doing my stuff and stick to the script. It keeps going well. I resist the temptation to f#ck about too much and carry on with what I initially planned. It continues to go well. I'm looking at an audience of people who are enjoying themselves. I keep going. It still goes well. My mind races:
"Holyf#ckballs this is actually going really well".
I continue doing my set and don't deviate at all. It goes well. I'm finished. They loved it. It actually went well. No catch*. No joke. I'm in a state of happy, giddy, shock.
*New readers may not understand the significance of this. If you want to compare and contrast my progress read this entry.