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How I became the sworn enemy of obscene language

Chris Harris continues Diary of a Stand Up…

As November came round, it was back to gigging. After a dry-spell in October and September with only MC-ing work to be ha, it was nice to get back into the swing of things with a no-frills ig at Northampton’s The Lab. No enforced structure, no censorship, nothing! I was hyped.

Family friendly?

Oh dear.

Suddenly, the rush to replace every instance of swearing in a set with the word “fricklefrack” was on, and the process of going back to basics of my comedy career began. Before realising what Northampton audiences liked to hear, as well as what I could get away with on-stage, most of my routines were based heavily in anger and rage, where I just pointed out things that I either hated, or pretended to hate, such as café chain Pret a Manger my most heinous nemesis, even if they don’t realise it, jam with bits in, shopping trolleys (they’re dangerous, I tell you), and Italian ghosts (long story).
Recently, my brand of comedy has moved away from things that anger me, and now focuses more on myself.

Take that how you will. Unfortunately, the topics become increasingly family unfriendly from there, and this gig was being broadcast live over the airwaves throughout Northampton, as well as over the internet.

Yes, this was Nlive Radio’s Shoetown Sounds event. A great event to show off Northampton’s music scene. Why I was asked to open the show is still a mystery to me. Why I agreed to it was even moreso. The last “family friendly” gig I did was at the Green Meadows festival in August, and I kept swearing through that because I was overconscious of not being able to say certain things. I knew this couldn’t happen here, or else Nlive would have Ofcom on its back.

But it worked. I arrived, nervous as heck. Not because I was bothered about dying on stage, but about slipping up (and maybe a little bit about dying on stage). I was prepared, bringing with me an array of puns, a few pages of anger, and a budget Batman costume.
The word “fricklefrack” was poised as a backup in case I felt the need to swear.

I wobble up on stage. The microphone doesn’t work. Part of me cheers. Maybe it won’t be broadcast. The microphone is fixed. Part of me thinks fricklefrack. But it all went well. People chuckled, people laughed, and someone liked my stuff so much that they bought me a drink afterwards.

These articles don’t usually have a moral, but if this one had one then it would probably be something like “why use swearing, when you replace it with cheap jokes and rage”.
A worthy message, don’t you think?

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