A while back, my solo show took a very swift turn into completely fuckin’ stupid. In a good way.
The original idea for the show was pretty high-minded (yawn). I wanted to hold up a mirror to the patriarchy; show men the ugly, brutal reality of their fantasies about women. I wanted to be a Sylvia Plath for the 21st Century; giving a no-hold-barred insight into the human condition. In a comedy show.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love me some pretension. I can enjoy reading a heavy tome, I like thinking about complex ideas, and I’m not above a 5am DMC (deep and meaningful chat, for those of you who weren’t teenagers in the UK in the 2010s) about the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. And some comedy successfully pulls these complex ideas apart. The issue is, if you’re doing comedy, it still needs to be … funny. If people ain’t laughing, it ain’t comedy (or at least it ain’t good comedy).
So, after the inevitable dark night of the soul moment of realisation that I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing with my show, I decided to just … enjoy myself. Write what was funny. Take stupid inspiration from shows like “Tim and Eric: Awesome Show, Great Job” and just do what I found funny and/or fun. Suddenly, the ideas were pouring out of me, without me having to trauma dump about every time a man has distressed me.
By releasing myself from any need to be clever, I get to be funny. By allowing myself to look like a fool, I get to present something that will (hopefully) make people think. It’s easy to be earnest, but earnest stupidity takes a lifetime to re-learn.
The show is still about what it’s about. There’s a lot that is critical of men and society. But instead of being an hour-long tirade against the wrongs of the patriarchy, it’s a funny, stupid, anarchic look at the roles women can, do, and have to play. With fake blood, magic tricks, and a killer soundtrack.