Saturday 17 August 2019

Change is possibly the most invigorating thing ever, apart from public humiliation, that is

Stand-up: Sophie White. Photo: Tony Gavin
Stand-up: Sophie White. Photo: Tony Gavin

Sophie White

I feel so alive. Can you believe it? I faced my fear and did not die or fall over or discover that my clothes had suddenly fallen off as I stood before an audience of 40 people, all waiting to be entertained.

And did I succeed in entertaining them? Well, that is hard to say as I can barely remember the performance myself, beyond knowing on an intellectual level that it did indeed take place. I could tell this by the people who came up to me afterwards and quoted me back to me. "Ah, so I did do that bit about the vaginal facelift," I thought in a detached way.

I think this memory loss may be an extension of some mild form of shock - perhaps Dr Ciara can confirm? I genuinely felt quite shocked when the MC called out my name and even more shocked when I obediently walked up on stage. I was the second-last act of the night, ninth in a group of intimidatingly funny, accomplished performers.

This meant that I'd had to sit in the crowd, battling chronic dry-mouth and contemplating my fate for well over an hour. Incredibly, listening actually made me forget why I was there. Safe in the crowd, I had fun.

In the approximately three days that I'd been a stand-up comedian, I had wondered what exactly does one do right before going on stage and trying to make people laugh. What is my - and this is going to sound really wanky - process?

It turns out that my personal process is to have a good meal of a banana split around 4pm on the day of a 'gig', then cycle into town running through the lines of my 'bits' in my head to the epic sounds of Sia's anthem Alive, quick nip into Zara, then down to the Ha'penny for two glasses of Guinness before proceeding, quietly petrified, to the stage, opening my mouth and hoping for the best.

And what have I learned so far? I've learned that the power to change is indeed inside me or at the very least the power to chance it. I'm due on stage again in six hours; I'm eating a banana split and, to quote Sia: "I'm ali-i-ive."

TIP: The hardest part of making a change is the moment right before doing it. Once you start it gets easier.

Sunday Independent

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