The most recent happened just last Friday at The Cabana in Napier.
Kiwi comedian Raybon Kan is touring the country with his latest stand-up show.
Being a fan of his, I shared the gig details online and sent him a welcoming tweet offering to buy him a coffee and tongue-in –cheekily saying if he needed a warm up guy, I’d be happy to help – and thought little more of it.
Raybon’s reply was a little more than I expected:
I like to think I’m reasonably funny – I get chuckles out of friends and colleagues, I’ve performed on stage many times and regularly MC cricket club events, quizzes and the like so doing a five minute stand-up gig couldn’t be too hard could it?
Cue that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach for a couple days…
I formulated a list of my best, most trust-worthy jokes, but the presentation order – heck the presentation itself was left pretty much up in the air.
Friday night rolled around and I wandered into The Cabana, gently trembling with adrenalin, and met Raybon in person for the first time.
We discussed how things would go – I’d be on for five minutes – there’s no clock or timer visible from the stage and the problem with stand-up comedy is you have no real concept of time up there (If things are going terribly, a minute can feel like five. If things are going great, five minutes feels like one) so either Raybon or the sound-man would wave their cellphone when it was time for me to finish, I’d introduce Raybon and leave the stage.
Then more waiting – The waiting is always the worst part, because all it does is increase the level of unknown, or time to worry over what MIGHT or MIGHT NOT happen.
Then it was show time – Music played and I made my way onto the stage.
It sounds horribly clichéd, but the worry vanished as soon as I set foot on stage. My brain went “Right, you’ve been here before, just do it!”
And I did
I told jokes.
I didn’t stuff up!
I saw a waving cellphone, introduced Raybon and left the stage.
I’D DONE IT!
I checked the time on my phone and found I had been up there for 15 minutes – not five, so I couldn’t have been too bad.
I sat quietly in the back of the venue and watched the professional do his work – he was great!
At half time he came back and we talked. Raybon said I had been great, but said “Couldn’t you see us waving the light?”
“The one at the end? Yeah I saw that and then introduced you.”
“No, no, that was the last one we used, we’d waved a light at five minutes, but you mustn’t have seen it – we tried a couple”
Cue that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach again…