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Blog: Acurrate Factually Inaccurate

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On Monday evening I found myself travelling across London, nervously eyeing my fellow passengers, convinced I was coming down with The Lurgy due to a dodgy stomach, headache and shortness of breath. Every few minutes I realised that what this actually was was The Fear, that distantly recalled symptom of Being About To Do A Gig that I had almost forgotten about, but then I DID forget about it and panic for another ten minutes before realising once again. It was tiring!

For LO! The Fear was back because I was doing a GIG, and this time without The Validators or indeed any SONGS for LO! (again) I was performing at Factually Inaccurate Stand-Up, a "lecturer based stand-up comedy" evening. I had initially mis-read the name as "Factually ACCURATE Stand-up" and so part of the reason I was getting NERVES was that my TALK was 100% completely accurate (as all my talks and indeed songs always are) and was hoping I had not once again Horribly Misjudged The Situation.

These fears were somewhat assuaged when I arrived to find the organiser Mr J Walsh, who informed me that everybody had a very different idea of The Brief and thus the accuracy was more of a SPECTRUM than requirement. Phew! James went off to do Comedy Admin while I had an EXCELLENT discussion with his friend Ash about The Beatles, before James returned with news that the projector wasn't working. This was like a BAT SIGNAL to me, so I went upstairs and had a very pleasant 15 minutes in the company of various Young People pressing buttons and googling things until we finally got it to work - for some reason whoever used it last had set it up to be a MIRROR IMAGE, so everything looked like it was written in Russian. Why on earth would you want THAT as a setting, Epson?

My experience of pubs etc In These Covid Times has been pretty much uniformly positive, and this one was no exception, with check-ins, table ordering (which I must admit I'm getting used to now), many many hand wash dispensors and social distancing, including upstairs where the gig was. This basically meant setting the room up in THE CABARET STYLE i.e. with tables to take up space where chairs might go, which I always enjoy. This reduced capacity, plus of course the excellent array of artistes, meant that the evening sold out! HOORAH!

The evening kicked off with James compering (excellently) then doing a CHARACTER who talked about Modern Archeology vs Modernist Archeology. As ever when people do this sort of thing it felt perilously close to REALITY. The comedy version of pretentious/increbibly niche Academia is A LOT closer to the real thing than I think OUTSIDERS realise! After that it was ME (to be discussed ANON), then a chap did some CLOWING (NB not the red nose kind, but the Fancy Kind that I remember discussing with Mr H Carr when I did ny MA) which was dead good, followed by a break and then a very funny talk on Pettiness by Ms V Leyton. As with so many things, being back in a black-walled room drinking beer listening to comedy felt very familiar very quickly, and it was a shame I had to LEAVE at that point to get my train.

My bit went pretty well I think. It was all about Periodising The Marvel Aga, and was basically a version of a presentation I've given at various conferences (including one coming at the end of this week) but with added swearing e.g. I don't usually refer to Post-Modernism as "a load of old wank" as I did this time, although it is heavily implied. THUS I knew from the start that quite a lot of it didn't actually have jokes, so spelt this out at the beginning and BARRELLED along taking the LARFS as Added Bonuses rather than Vital Milestones. I seem to end up doing a stand-up set every four or five years, and on past occassions I have been put off by (amongst other things) the CRUSHING DOOM of a joke not landing properly. Clearly the answer is not to worry about LARFS at ALL and just HECTOR an audience, much like doing an Academic Talk. THUS, for the first time in many years, I was not completely put off the idea of Stand-Up. Who knows, I may do it again next in LESS than four years this time!

posted 13/7/2021 by MJ Hibbett

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