My First Day

by Jason Pestell

Today I sit down and begin to collate and write what will be my fifth solo show: I Can’t Promise You Won’t Fall In Love With Me. In five days it will be ten years since I began my comedy career. I can’t think of any better way to celebrate then to MC One Mic Stand at Rhino Room on January 6th, 2014. I also began to think about my favourite ten moments in comedy. Whilst I will list the memories on stage they certainly don’t take away the memories made off stage only made possible by incredible audiences, other comedians, promoters, bar and door staff. You can stop reading now if you wish but in summary every gig has taught me something, good or bad, that I have learnt from. Here’s the first one…

1)  January 7th, 2004. Rhino Room. Raw Comedy Heat One.
I invited none of my friends to come, my first of many mistakes. The support of your friends is so important in your early career and I recommend to any aspiring comedians that they do their very best to maintain non-comedy relationships. Anyway, this gig had everything. I can remember during the first break almost leaving the Rhino Room because I felt totally out of my league. Some of the other comedians were truly brilliant. I knew nothing about comedy. I have since realized I still know nothing about comedy and love that it constantly surprises me when I think I got it worked out.

I took to the stage second in the second bracket, brought onto the stage by an eager crowd crafted by Scott John. I had a heavy beard, was wearing brown ugg boots and opened with a joke about ‘A Country Practice’. More mistakes… Then it happened: the first laugh, followed by an applause break that I talked over because I had no idea. I don’t remember much more other than watching the rest of the show. Witnessing the genius of Steve Sheehan feature to a packed Rhino Room whilst the judges made their decision. Steve was heckled and challenged the heckler to ‘come here and say that.’ The heckler then began to walk towards the stage and I recall the fear in Steve’s eyes. I watched as other comedians went to stand in the way of the heckler whose phone then rang with Aqua’s Barbie Girl as a ringtone. Game over!

The judges returned and announced Jason Chong and myself as winners of the heat. It was surreal and surprising. I was then introduced to Craig Egan and Frehd Starr. I hung out for a bit, met other comedians then went to the Wilson Car Park next to Rhino. As I was paying $3 for parking (yes that’s right $3!), the heckler from the night came straight towards me. His exact words were, ‘You were funny but my mate was way funnier’ (His mate had done jokes read out from a joke book). I thanked him for his unwelcome input, cheekily suggested a new ringtone and ran to my car.

I believe Raw Comedy is a great way to start comedy. However, it’s not the only way and it’s not the end if you don’t get through. Many other comedians have taught me this. So if you think you got something to offer comedy why not check out Raw Comedy.

Follow @JasonPestell on Twitter or visit his blog for more.

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