Jamie mimed ‘look’. I was on a Zoom call. He was on the other side of our glass-panelled dining room door. He nodded towards the item in his hand. It was a trophy. I winked and gave a thumbs up. All the while I maintained professional contact with my colleagues in Berlin and Cologne. When the call ended I rushed upstairs to his room to find out about the trophy. It was the Headteachers prize. Pride swelled within me. As an after thought, he added - “Oh, and I also got this.” He handed me a plastic trophy. It looked like an Oscar. His teacher had given each pupil their very own personalised trophy. Jamie’s read “Most Likely To Become A Comedian.”
Is it wrong that this award filled me with even more pride?
He is, unquestionably a funny wee dude. He makes people laugh. There’s a joy in seeing him do that. And a pride when someone tells me of how he’s achieved the same. There’s something more though.
I have spent much of my life intentionally trying to make people laugh. It’s a massive part of who I am. I do it because of how it makes me feel. Doing something or saying something that produces a smile, belly laugh or better still, an uncontrollable ‘snort’ - creates an indescribable high. Some of those highs are short lived, others linger long in my memory.
I hope Jamie feels the same way.
Throughout my life people have asked a variant of the same question - “Have you ever thought of being a comedian?”
Even being asked that question feels like validation that I am, in one way, shape or form, a ‘funny wee dude’ in my own right. The truth is even the thought of standing on stage with the intention of making a group of people laugh fills me with dread. As flattering as it is, I have never harboured any ambition to be funny for a living.
In that sense I am a vocational comedian.
There was a time, relatively recently in fact, that I questioned this compulsion to make people laugh. Was there something wrong with me? Was my desire to create moments of joy a sign of something deeper? I even spoke to a professional about this. Having that logical conversation with a very smart woman made me realise that there’s nothing deeper than this - I find joy in other people’s joy.
There have been times in my life when I had to work hard at my ‘comedy’. The truth was for a few years, being funny was the only way I could mask the reality from my friends and family. If I was being funny. I was Kev. If I wasn’t, it was a tell-tale sign that something was wrong. And, yes, something was wrong. I was the cliched clown. Hiding a truth behind my humour.
Those days are behind me. Forever.
I’ve never been more comfortable in my own skin. I know I have a form of comedic Tourettes. An opportunistic reflex to say or do something that will at the very least produce a smile. I see it as a responsibility to share.
Our existence is incredibly intense at times. Too intense in fact. Any sense of perspective lost in the hustle and bustle of this thing we call ‘life’. More than ever, we need to find the joy and the happiness that surrounds us. We need to make a conscious effort to embrace moments, rather than ignore them. We need to be liberated from the paralysing fear of letting go and, you know, living a little.
And that extends to all aspects of our life. Including how we earn a living. During a recent Zoom call I shared two words in a chat box, inspired by something that someone said. I now realise that those two words sum up my personal philosophy on life. Those two words. Scale fun. Whatever we do, we should be seeking fun. And when we find it, we should amplify it. Make more of it. Rejoice in it. We need to ‘go-large’.
Fun is good for the soul. And let’s be real for a moment - our collective soul needs as much help as it can get right now.
My personal commitment is that I’ll continue to make myself and other people laugh as much as I can. My absolute hope is that you, dear reader, can do the same. Find your own moments of joy. Share when you can and rejoice in that feeling of giving the gift of fun, joy and yes, the occasional involuntary snort of laughter.