FROM THE DESK OF...
From the Desk of Stuart Goldsmith
Posted by Stuart Goldsmith On the 5th May 2014
OK, so who's done a best man speech for their dad before?
I've just started writing mine, and i've got about two hours to finish it – I thought there was probably just time to dash you off something “from my desk”, before I go back to slamming my own head in the fridge door for inspiration.
The problem is, the problem is, you see the problem actually IS, that I'm freaking out. I'm having one of those manic episodes that my girlfriend refers to as “the giggles”, you know why?
Because I've partially blocked it from my memory, but I can't totally wipe it out - the last time I attempted to be professionally funny in front of my dad and his friends, I DIED.
About 5 years ago he persuaded and cajoled and ultimately guilt-tripped me into doing ten minutes of stand-up at his sixtieth birthday. I opened with a little joke - “i didn't want to do this gig” I said, “but I needed the money”. NOTHING! NOT A TITTER! On and on I went – impro: dead! Anecdotes: dead! Actual stand-up I'd written about him in the past, which has killed in actual comedy clubs hundreds of times: dead, dead, double dead, why are you ruining your dad's special day?
I thought I'd left this kind of fear far behind me! This is the sort of white-knuckle arse-clench you get before going onstage at your first 100 gigs or so, when you're cracking some godawful semi-joke about reality TV, and you look down and see your hand visibly shaking, and look up into the headlights of 30 punters mentally asking “Why? Why would anyone do this to themselves?”
I've been a best man once before; yummed it up! But it was for my best mate. No-one cared if I took the piss out of him, there were no societal lines to transgress. But this is my dad! How do I tip the nod to his disastrous relationship history without causing offence? How do I make ribald comments about his love-life? HE'S MY DAD!
And why did the bastards have to spill the comedy beans?! I said to them, “no, no, i'll come up with something appropriate, something” – as I always tell prospective best men whenever they ask me for advice – “something heartfelt, clean, and above all brief.”
“Oh no,” they said – “We're expecting 15 minutes of funnies. WE'VE TOLD EVERYONE YOU'RE A COMEDIAN.”
Thanks a bunch, prospective technical step-mum! Now I've got to bridge the schism between what fifty to a hundred sun-burnt, ex-pat, geriatric Brits think is a comedian, and the stark reality of what I actually am. They won't be happy until i've done ten minutes on mothers-in-law, described the cake as being “in tiers” and then done a visual gag with a big comedy pair of knickers.
Thank Christ, frankly, that my new show “He-Wolf” is ready for the NZ International Comedy Festival... Honestly, if I had to get through this best man bullshit without knowing that I had a brand new, rock-solid hour of “expert standup” (Sunday Times) under my belt, I think I'd lose my mind.
If I was wading head-first into this familial firefight temporarily unaware that i'm an international award winner, a multiple award nominee, and was once called “a festival must-see”, i'd be climbing the walls.
If some sort of momentary amnesia had struck me and I forgot that your country is the comedy equivalent of Valhalla – where only the most worthy comedians spend their days carousing with big crowds, horned helmets and glistening flagons of cider – and that I had to look forward to three weeks of smashing out my best ever show, in the best place in the world to do it...
Well, then I'd be absolutely cacking myself.
In fact, stuff them. I'm ditching the wedding, and coming to you early. New Zealand - you can be my new parents!
in Auckland at The Classic Studio - Fri 26, Sat 26, Mon 28 April - Sat 3 May, Mon 5 - Sat 10 May, 8:45pm - Book Here!
PS: I'm doing a podcast too. I probe the excellent UK comic Carey Marx about how he writes his jokes, and why offensive gags are good for the soul... Live, in-depth, a gift from the comedy gods. The Comedian’s Comedian Podcast
is in Auckland at The Classic - Sat 26 April, 5:30pm