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Nothing funny about being a decent human being

Chris Harris continues Diary of a Stand Up with a look at his life when not gigging…

The past month has been a bit of a dry patch in the comedy element of my life, with only one gig, albeit one for a good cause. As this is “Diary of a Stand-Up”, that one gig really is the focus of the next five-hundred-ish words.

I don’t organise many gigs, as I don’t really have the patience or time to deal with people. However, with a dissertation deadline looming, and my uncanny knack for procrastination, I had to find a legitimate excuse not to be burying my head in mounds of literary theory.

I hunted around for excuses and, other than inventing the holiday month of Christember, I figured that charity work was my best option; it’s good for me, and its good for the community in general.

On a side-note, however, charity work is not always good for me. Covering the Breakfast Show on Nlive Radio one Monday, I realised I would be on air for six hours straight, given my own show Undiscovered Northampton would air straight after. Informing the station manager, Shelly Stevenson, she requested that I turn the six hour stint into a six hour (publicity/charity) stunt; I was to run a half-marathon in the studio, while researching and presenting a radio show, as well as dealing with a technical fault with the news system.

This was to raise money for Nlive’s charity of September, Cynthia Spencer Hospice, and quite possibly as Shelly’s revenge for me taking the previous Wednesday off. Now, I haven’t ran since secondary school. At all. And I’m incredibly unfit – a fact I was unaware of before this.

After a morning of running on the spot in the studio, with the occasional wonder around the office for a change of scenery, I did it, and collapsed into a heap. Checked the justgiving page: £40 from two donations. Totally worth the sweat and leg cramps then…
That aside, I decided that the charity I would raise money for with a comedy night would be Q Space Northampton, an LGBT+ youth group that meets every Thursday evening. Knowing this, I used all my cunning – spoiler: not much cunning – to get an event booked on September twenty-third. Why was this cunning, I don’t hear you ask? Because that date was bi-visibility day, and it made sense.

Now, as I mentioned before, talking to and organising people is not my strong suit. Luckily, I have friends who do both music and poetry nonsense, so the night was changed from a comedy night to an event which was imaginatively titled “Charity Comedy, Music and Poetry at The Black Prince”. Soon, I had the line-up filled with little incident.
Or so I thought.
*Cue dramatic music, possible thunder sounds*

Three acts dropped out on the day of the event. All with good excuses, but it left me in a mad-dash to replace them. In the end, I replaced two out of three, which was fine. The night itself went great, aside from an angry vaguely stabby man in the audience and someone I could only describe as a Scottish Joey Essex wanting to constantly chat. Nice bloke though, just very drunk.

Money was raised in a way I’d seen done by Pete Prodge at a charity night called Kanned Komedy. The audience votes for the best act of the night by putting money in bowls corresponding to the acts, the most money in an act’s bowl means that they win that night. I stole that idea, and we raised just over £70 for Q Space. The winning act was acoustic musician Cameron Grace, raising just under £20 himself.

Since then, nothing has happened. I’m currently organising another Charity Comedy, Music and Poetry at The Black Prince night for October twenty-first. Looking forward to that, should be great, raising money for Q Space once again, as it is the start of asexual awareness week and end of hate crime awareness week.

All in all, not much funny has happened, but I feel like a half-decent human.

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