Spurtle

I was saddened to learn yesterday on the news that hundreds of teenagers are jeopardising their careers by only having an 800 word vocabulary. I say saddened, but if this comedy lark ever goes wrong, it does mean there’ll be more job vacancies around for people like me who can talk properly, which is helpful. 800 words though? And that’s it? How can you not like words? Words are brilliant. For example: plinth, rotund, spasmodical. Didn’t you enjoy that? I bet you did. I love finding new words and yesterday I learnt the word ‘spurtle’, which is a word specifically for a tool that’s used to stir porridge. Amazing. I bet teenagers don’t even have a word for porridge. Here’s the article:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/6960745/Teenagers-only-use-800-different-words-a-day.html

I’d be curious to speak with someone who only knows 800 words though, just to see exactly what substitutes other words. There are only so many ‘but’s, ‘yeah’s and ‘no’s you can put into a sentence before it sounds less like talking and more like a beatbox from someone with a severe stutter. No wonder kids are supposedly stabbing each other and getting each other pregnant too early, its because they keep thinking they’re saying other things to each other. Two no’s probably means a yes and vice versa.
‘No, no no no no , but yeah yeah yeah, no no no.’ Ah! Maybe its morse code? Perhaps we’ve been looking at it all wrong? Maybe its far more intelligent than we ever thought! I doubt it though. I also hope that despite what the Telegraph says, it’d be great if the 800 words they did use included some proper doozies (yeah I used that term) such as dacnomania and mellifluous. I hope we can bring back the importance of words. Today I’m doing Comedy 4 Kids and I’m going to make a point of teaching all the kids some important new words, starting with ‘spurtle’.

Last night I did a 10 spot for a big club chain that I currently don’t work for. Despite having a few try outs for them in the past I’ve never really pursued it as I’ve always had this gut feeling that I wouldn’t really enjoy it. Its so very rare I’d do a free open spot for anyone now, but with nothing else in for yesterday and a longing for some gigs that pay me well on a regular basis, I did it. It was amazing how quickly I was proved right. Not so much the venue, which is a great venue, nor the people, who seemed like a nice crowd with a notable absence of hen and stag do’s. No, sadly, it was the other acts. I will not name anyone in particular but the compere made a grand job of making the audience feel insecure by calling them all cunts and picking on a few of them in a personal manner that was past the borderline between ‘bullying’ and ‘Guantanamo psychological torture’. Its this sort of compereing that has ensured, over the years, that audiences don’t like sitting at the front. It also encourages heckling and bravado as the only way to challenge this display of machismo. I can’t stand it and I think when you watch someone like Greg Davies or Russell Kane compere a big club, you notice just how much of a difference being friendly makes. Suddenly people relax, they feel more prepared to laugh they open up a bit. I mean really, in what other job can you act that way to people you’ve just met? Only prison warden possibly. I say be all nice, and then if you need to be vicious, you can bring it on as and when like a silent heckle assassin. That’s what I class myself as anyway. Along with beverage heretic and master of sitting.

Then the acts that followed said lines such as ‘I’m African, and I know what you’re thinking, how come if I’m African, I’m wearing clothes?’ This made me cringe to the point of pulling a muscle, especially as the lone laugh of one man gut roared over the crowd above nothing else. When I eventually walked on, the audience were fairly non-plussed about it all and I couldn’t really give a shit about my set so just ploughed through. It didn’t go badly, it didn’t go great, I just felt rather cold about it all and spent the whole 10 minutes with visions of my dinner at home to keep me going. I even ended on a line I knew they wouldn’t like, on purpose. I’ll wait and see if I get any more work from them. While my bank will hate me if I don’t, I’d like to think my comedy dignity will do a little dance of happiness. Don’t get me wrong, some great acts do these gigs and they can be good nights but last night was a glimpse into what its like to stop enjoying what you do for a living.

Right before I go shout at kids, I was meant to be doing a charity gig in Rochester tonight for a very worthy cause. Sadly due to car tyre issues, London gig issues and not having enough dosh for a train fare, I’ve had to drop out. The cause is for this:

http://www.doitforcharity.com/SianLetley

Sian is going to be trekking across the Great Wall of China for Have a Heart, which is an impressive feat. I mean she has chosen the best wall to do it across. Not the ‘Alright Wall of Taiwan’ or the ‘Pretty Good Wall of Norwich’. No, she’s gone for the ‘Great Wall’. Please donate if you can.

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