reviews and recommendations

Workshop: How to stand up… like a fish

I was lucky enough to experience one of Funny Women's regular ‘Stand Up to Stand Out’ workshops at Leicester Square Theatre recently. I had been looking forward to it with a mixture of trepidation and anticipation. The blurb says that this workshop improves confidence & frees creativity! Sign me up! But do you actually have to get up and do five minutes of stand up at the end of the day? Oh that's a whole other kettle of fish…

It's all in the name really. All that was running through my head on the way there was ‘be funny, be funny. Shit! Be funny!’  Complete brain blank! Of course, I can't think of a single funny thing to say, even to myself.  Where will I start? ‘I'm a Coley, they're a funny fish’? Poke fun at myself and make everyone laugh at me? That's the best way, right? Can't beat a bit of self-deprecation to be a funny woman.

The first exercise was to tell an anecdote about our lives to test listening and memory skills. It was really good as we all have stories to tell, whether it's dealing with complaints in Ikea, dancing on tables in Germany, or catering for hundreds of people at a dinner party, there's lots of fodder there for material or bait for your hooks if you will…

The next exercise was about perceptions and how other people view us, which is always enlightening and amusing, followed by an exercise entitled ‘I love, I hate, I wish’. Fresh off London's public transport system I was straight into a rant about everything ‘I hate’ about living in the capital!

My two minutes in the spotlight were getting closer and I was thinking ‘there's no way I'm getting up there’, but as my time came, I decided that as I was there to have a go, I would have to see it through.  I did a bit about my addiction to my mobile phone and our love/hate relationship. I'd devised a list of things you never usually get round to doing if your mobile phone ever dies when you’re on public transport: pelvic floor exercises, bum clenches (something for the boys too), split-end cutting and even flossing your teeth!

I learnt a lot, from whether or not there is an actual lipstick called ‘Gay Geranium’, to the fact that (more importantly)  even the smallest things can be funny. It seems that there is no fish too small to fry when it comes to comedy, or any fish analogy too far when it comes to me writing this review! It also confirmed a few things that I knew already: being funny is fun, laughter is always the best medicine and cliches are best avoided unless you're named after a fish. 

There are plenty of workshops in the comedy sea, but do the Funny Women one! It will change your life! It may even get you hooked on comedy for life!!

Rebecca Coley is a freelance writer, director and performer who makes both comedy and drama and also managed LOCO 2013 (London Comedy Film Festival).  Follow her on Twitter @beckycoley