Hi, I recently did stand up in Derry. I decided to do some character comedy
I’ve been doing stand up semi-regularly for approximately five years. Let me tell you: I wasn’t good.
I watched Dolemite Is My Name and the most interesting thing was Rudy Ray Moore created the character of Dolemite.
It gave me the idea to experiment with some character work of my own. I mean, I couldn’t get any less funny, could I?
I came up with a basic idea of a character called Basil Cowan. The plan was to keep it simple.
Basil’s father had died and the reason he was doing stand-up is because he’s been told talking about things openly will help him get over the death.
I liked this idea because you can put in some relatable dad stuff and do some naff puns. Make the death ridiculous so people don’t dwell too much on the suffering.
It needed a subplot, a mystery element. Something I could call back on. How about Basil may or may not be involved with his father’s death. It’s not original but it’s solid.
Character Comedy: Commit to the bit
I bought a costume. A farmer’s flat cap, a green Gillet and a pair of glasses. The glasses so I look more trustworthy and less threatening. I’m 6’4 and have a resting bitch face. Here’s me using every trick in the book to get the audience on side.
When I arrived I stayed in character. There was one guy there who knew me from before who was put off by my odd behaviour. Now you’re probably thinking what a diva or what an asshole and you know what? You’re right. There are a few reasons why I did this.
1: Concentration – When I was practising the accent it kept going Scottish. I wanted to keep the focus
2: Fun- I’m going to be honest, I like trolling people in real life. It keeps me engaged.
3: Ego protection – If I arrive and leave as Basil Cowan then Kieran Majury can leave with his ego intact.
While I was there I only drank Guinness. Now, I don’t like Guinness but it’s what Basil’s father drank so it’s what Basil ordered.
How did it go?
I was expecting it to go OK, however, I was not expecting it go as well as it did. With the exception of one joke (guess which one), everything landed so much better than expected. Like as in they were laughing so much at other stuff it messed up some of the punchlines but no one noticed.
The worst thing is, there is no proof or record of any of this happening.
You’ll have to take my word for it.
I’ll be doing it as a video and you can make up your own mind.
In the meantime, here is the script. This is the third draft. It’s approx 800 words and took me around 7 minutes to perform.
Keep an eye on the structure too as it incorporates my own Simplified Story System.
1: Introductions and players – Basil is here to talk about his father
2: Things go well – Remembers his father fondly
3: Realisation – Understands his father is mortal
4: Choice – How do we remember those who have died
5: Aftermath – Reads the poem, to sum up, relationship with father
This was my first time using the system to tell a story with some jokes.
Basil Cowan – Chicken Box 13-2-2020-Third Draft
Hello, everyone, my name is Basil Cowan. If you wonder how I got my name you’d have to ask my father, Oregano Cowan.
You’d be waiting a while on the answer because he is dead.
Very dead. 100% verifiably dead.
He fell into a combine harvester.
As you can see I’m clearly cut up about it. Not as cut as he was.
However, I’m upset. Not just because calving season is coming up but because he was father and I miss him.
I have been told by a therapist the best way to get over a deeply traumatic event is talk about it openly.
So I’m here entirely of my own accord, I must stress that this is not a court order. Thought it would be best to come before you tonight and share some memories of father. His death was ruled an accident you know?
I have been told time heals all wounds but not a decapitation.
What they mean when they say time heals all wounds is one day you’ll look back at all this and laugh.
And you know what, they’re right.
I’m now able to look a back and laugh at the horrific death of my father last week.
The funeral was on Tuesday there.
People will tell you every cloud has a silver lining. His decapitation saved money on the coffin.
I am here tonight to talk about the man I loved. Father.
He was my hero through most of his life up until the moment he died.
Father made a great impact on the lives of those around him especially the picnic he drove into that time.
He was found to be not responsible. Just like me. Like father like son.
He was a great giver of advice. He said to me he said “Son you should invest your money. But only in things you use frequently,”. Well, I took him at his word and bought some chicken stock.
He was a fantastic storyteller too.
Father would tell us all stories of when he worked in the shipyard at Harland and Wolff. He told us all about what he would do on the big ships.
I would remember all the conversations we would have.
We would sit and he would ask, “How was your day” and I would go “Alright”.
I’d go on holidays by myself. As soon as Id’ get in he’d ask “How long was the flight” and I’d say “Not that long”.
He’d follow it up with “Was there many on your flight?” I’d say “Not many”. He was quick like that.
It wasn’t always plane sailing, at one time he got shingles which was strange because I thought it only affects rooves.
He said he had acute angina.
I don’t care what you call it, still looked like a cock to me.
He also had memory problems.
When he was diagnosed I was there with him. Doctor comes in and says you have Alzheimer’s. He was sad for a moment. Then he cheered up, looked to the doctor and said. Could be worse, could be Alzheimer’s.
It turned out it wasn’t that severe.
He might not have had Alzheimer’s but he definitely had some Zhimers.
He would tell us that he would forget his head if it wasn’t attached. In the end, he was right.
When you’re a weeun you think your parents will live forever. You think they’re immortal.
But they’re not.
I realised my father was mortal when his head was separated from his body.
It was good to be with him in the end. I cradled his head in my arms. Then I got up and put it with the rest of his body.
The police say there is no crime to answer for.
Things will not be the same.
His love for mother knew no bounds. These two were proof that opposites attract. She loved talking to people, understanding them and getting to know them. Whereas father enjoyed not listening.
Mother’s was hardest hit so who’s going to do that now? and that’s coming to an end. She’s talking a lot more too.
I really do miss father everyday.
It got me thinking, how do we remember the ones we love? Is it through words or actions? Stephen Hawking did neither yet we remember him.
We knoweth not the time or the hour especially father who never wore a watch.
I have decided to remember father in death as he was in life. Mucking around with a combine harvester.
Before I leave you tonight I wanted to read you a wee poem I wrote about how father’s never listen to their sons.
(Take out a piece of folded up paper and read from it)
I Basil Cowan of sound body and mind can no longer take the burden of guilt.
Father, watch out for them blades,
They’re while sharp
Father, watch out for them blades,
You’re while close,
Father, watch out for them blades,
They’ll while cut ye,
Father, father, father,
I told ye,
What did you think?
If you liked it would you mind considering signing up becaue there’s much more for me to share with you.
Have a great day whatever you’re up to.