Schneider in honest performance shock

Springtime for Hitler. I expected similar results.

Springtime for Hitler. I expected similar results last night.

I’ve had a major breakthrough careerwise. Yesterday I showed an audience my pyjamas. It felt true, honest, edgy – though in retrospect maybe I should have washed them (they were toothpaste stains, ok?! Toothpaste!)

It’s often said that comedy = truth. Which isn’t totally correct otherwise the statement “Weasels vary in length from 6 to 17 inches and have long slender bodies” would be funny. Which I guess it could be if I said “weasel” is a euphemism for “penis”. But generally, although not everything that’s true is funny, everything that’s funny is rooted in truth.

Weasel. Not a euphemism for penis.

Weasel. Not a euphemism for penis.

For stand-ups, it’s important to know your own truth. Because if you don’t the audience may well tell you. I should know: the gap between being introduced onto a stage and getting to the mike is the sort of sub-atomic measurement that only the Hadron Collider team could calculate, but when I was doing standup there were at least three occasions when that was enough time for someone to shout “Big-nosed c*nt!” at me. (A different person each time, in case you were worried I had some persistent gig-to-gig stalker). Still, impressive stuff – as not only did they instantly spot I had a big nose but they also realised I’m a c*nt.

(I’m not.)

In order to avoid these situations, most stand-ups will always:

a) Identify their distinguishing feature: “I’m I’m fat/thin/tall/ginger/Pam St.Clements off of Eastenders”

b) Identify their minority status: “I’m black, gay, half-goat/half-fawn (I did a couple of gigs at Jongleurs, Narnia. Tough crowd)

standup3I’ve never really been that sort of performer. Never really talked about myself on stage. Until last night at a gig which I’d come to know as “In Future Learn to Say No”.

I’d agreed to do some material about the Holocaust – whether’s it’s possible to make jokes about this very taboo subject? I won’t share them with you now as what I realise is it’s all about context. You have to know that I’m not the first Jewish Nazi and I have to know that you, dear blog reader, dear “bleader”  (if I may coin a hip Web 2.0 contraction that’s bound to catch on)  aren’t one of Nick Griffin’s fascist pet dogs.

But the material I wrote did make me talk about my background for the first time in that stand-up way. I enjoyed ranting about the Holocaust obsession of my upbringing, about how truly paranoid it’s made me, spotting potential anti-semitism in everything, from a neo-nazi door-handle that snags my jacket to the most innocent of requests on Facebook to, ahem,  “become a fan of Auschwitz” (what next: “John Demjanjuk Wants To Be Friends – Confirm/Ignore”?).

Fan of Ausch3

Which is where my pyjamas come in. Obviously, ladies, I mostly sleep in the nude. I’m that kind of sexy kind of sexy guy. That’s the image I want you to imprint on your brain. But if I have to wear night attire, I do have a favourite pair of pyjamas – it’s an OCD- type thing, I get my best night’s sleep in them. And to my shock, I realised as I was writing my material for the Night I Should Have Said No To, that they were blue and white PJsstriped ones. OK, they don’t have a yellow star, but hell, what does that mean about what’s going on inside my head?

So yes, last night I showed an audience my pyjamas. And they laughed. It’s something I believe we should demand of all our public figures –  Gordon Brown, Arsene Wenger, Susan Boyle. Only then can we really know them. Show us what you wear to bobbies and we’ll tell you if we like you or not.

  1. Taps Arter says:

    Susan Boyle is an incredibly talented lady who’s been subjected to considerable criticism in the media. IMHO she deserves all of the success that she is currently enjoying.

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