It was July 2005. With the help of a colleague, I'd written some material and been rehearsing for days. Now it was time to have a go at stand up comedy in front of an audience. For my first gig, I'd picked a local open mic night - Bohemia Night at Reading Town Hall.
It's a low key, no pressure event with singers, comics and poets performing to a small audience of other acts and their friends. Even so, I was scared witless. (Don't you love rhyming slang?) I was way more scared that night than I was later when I appeared live on national television in front of a studio audience of about 500.
No other time is like that first time. It is so scary and such a total high.
On the night, I got on stage and discovered that I didn't know how to hold the microphone to project my voice without shouting. So, the first 30 seconds saw several people shouting at me to speak up. At least they weren't asking me to shut up!
Being brand new, it didn't occur to me to start again. So, I ploughed on from where I was. People laughed, not just my friends but stranger as well. They laughed at the stuff that I had written. They laughed despite my barely adequate delivery. THEY LAUGHED.
At that point, I knew that I had to keep doing this comedy lark.
A week later I took part in my first competition, over at Newbury. I wish that I could tell you that I stormed it and won my heat. I didn't. But, people laughed again and I got some kind comments from audience members and from fellow comedians.
Yes, “fellow comedians" for now I was a comedian too.
Mike Facherty is an up and coming comedian based in Reading, England. He is also a freelance journalist and an IT wage slave.