If You Do … Then Here’s My Story!
Don’t worry I’m not going to give you my life story, just the storybehind the:
Anyway here goes …
After leaving school at 16 I had the various jobs below:
- Inland Revenue – (Post room worker)
- Knowsley Safari Park – (Litter duty, toilet maintenance & gate operator)
- Pension Company – (Night shift) (Removing staples & scanning documents)
- Sports Shop – (Selling sports stuff)
- Gardener – (Edging, brushing, weeding & mowing)
I’ve Done Everything From Opening Envelopes To Feeding Baboons
As you can see all the jobs I’ve had have been a real mixed bag. I must be honest I didn’t really like working for the Inland Revenue or for the pension company, as office work just wasn’t for me. The sports shop was good fun but I was happiest when I worked for Knowsley Safari Park and when I was gardening as I love animals and nature.
Even though all my jobs have been very different they all had one thing in common. Which was:
They Allowed My Mind To Wander, Daydream And Think Up Loads Of Weird Stuff
Most of the time I could go into automatic mode as none of my jobs were mentally taxing. So for example when I was removing staples, cleaning toilets or brushing driveways my mind would play around and think stuff up. When I was walking on litter duty or scanning huge piles of documents I would create weird worlds, situations and characters in my head. I suppose I was just trying to entertain myself to help pass the time a bit. Sometimes the things I thought up would amuse me and make me laugh.
When I was working for Knowsley Safari Park I started writing my ideas down and making notes. I did this in case I could use any of my ideas in the future as comedy material. You see becoming a comedian was one of the first things I wrote on my “Bucket List”.
I Wrote My Bucket List In A Tower Watching Tigers
My job at Knowsley Safari Park was only a temporary position and I was given a variety of things to do. The first job was walking around the grounds collecting litter, next was toilet cleaning duty and if I was lucky I would get to feed the baboons.
However most of my time was spent operating the electric gates in the tower next to the tiger enclosure. Tigers are one of my favourite animals and it was such a privilege to be that close to these majestic creatures on a daily basis. I spent the whole day alone and whilst I was watching the tigers I use to think about what I wanted to do with my life.
I would often write down all my goals and dreams for the future and during this time I also made myself a “Bucket List”. You know things to do before you pop your clogs.
I thought it must be a wonderful thing to be able to create laughter and make people smile. Having a go at comedy was definitely something I wanted to do in the future.
Anyway enough about my bucket list back to what I was just talking about, which was writing my ideas down and making notes.
I Started Using Note Pads And Scraps Of Paper But Later Progressed To A Second Hand Dictaphone I Found On Ebay
The second hand Dictaphone I bought when I worked for the safari park was such a good investment. It meant I could quickly record my ideas during the day and then write them out when I got home at night. After a few years I had loads of notes but it was a big unorganized mess. I kept putting off organizing my notes, as I must admit it was a bit overwhelming. When I was working in the sports shop I eventually decided to bite the bullet and make a much-needed start.
I Got All My Stuff Organised With The Help Of … Tesla
When my Grandma passed away 10 years ago she left me a £1000 in her will so I could buy myself something nice. I eventually decided I would use the money to buy a computer, which I named “Tesla”.
Well because Nikola Tesla is a personal hero of mine. He was one of the greatest geniuses to ever live and was a real life mad inventor. One of his visions was to provide us all with free energy for life, he was a true humanitarian. Unfortunately he isn’t very well known and also shrouded in mystery.
I wish someone would make a Hollywood blockbuster movie about his life and cast the incredible Daniel Day Lewis to play him. What an amazing movie that would be!!
Where Was I ? … Oh Yea Tesla My Super Computer
I used Tesla to help me organize all my stuff. This was done by creating lots of Word documents, which I filed away into folders and sub folders. It took me ages to sort through and categorize all my notes and although it was hard it was also great fun. I made sure to back it up in case it got lost!!!!
When I had finished I decided to try and use my material to build myself a little 5 to 10 minute comedy routine. Out of all the things on my bucket list becoming a comedian although still very difficult seemed possible for me. Most of the things on my bucket list were a bit ambitious but hey it’s good to think big.
Anyway I decided I should learn more about how to become a comedian.
So I Went To My Local Library To Get The Heads Up
I borrowed a few books from my local library to help me learn how to become a comedian as I definitely needed as much help as I could get. You see I wasn’t just unsure about all the basic stuff, I was even unsure about my own voice. I didn’t really like my voice you see and I was thinking of using a false voice instead ( please see “Finding My Voice”).
Anyway I discovered from reading the books that becoming a comedian is far from easy. They said that almost all of your material even though you think it’s good still wouldn’t make people laugh. Instead only a very small percentage would actually work and make it into your finished routine. One book said just 1% of all your material would be good enough!!!! Professional comedians have my utmost respect.
They Also Said The Best Way To Get Feedback Was To Perform Lots Of Live Gigs And Test Your Material On Real Audiences
I had been writing and collecting my silly ideas since 1993 when I was working for Knowsley Safari Park. It was now 2008 and I couldn’t believe that fifteen years had passed so quickly. Having a go at becoming a comedian was always something I wanted to do as it was on my bucket list. Unfortunately though like most things I just never got round to doing it.
However I decided it was time to make a start and get some feedback about my stuff so I booked my very first live stand-up comedy gig.
I Went All The Way To Bath For My First Live Gig And Decided To Make A Day Of It
My nerves got the better of me and I decided rather than do a local gig I would travel away from home instead. I know this seems a bit strange but for me it was a lot easier and much less stressful. So I looked on the Internet for some places that had amateur open mic nights.
There were a lot but I was instantly attracted to the one I found in Bath, as that was a place I had always wanted to go to for a day out. I thought why not combine the two and turn it into a bit of an adventure.
I booked my Travelodge and train tickets well in advance to save money and I had four weeks to practice before the big day.
I’d Never Even Held A Microphone Before Let Alone Used One … So I Stuck A Tennis Ball On A Piece Of Wood And Spray Painted It Black
After a few coats of paint my pretend microphone started to look the part and it was time to get busy practicing. I knew it was very important to be in the right state of mind just before I went on stage. The last thing I wanted to be was scared or nervous instead I wanted to be full of energy and raring to go.
For some reason coffee really affects me, after a cup or two of strong coffee I feel like running a marathon! So twice a week I had two strong cups of coffee and when I was feeling the effect I played one of my favorite pieces of music, which was:
Sigur Ros Hoppipolla
After a while when I played the music it would recreate the feeling of drinking two cups of strong coffee! I learned this trick from Dr Richard Bandler who calls it anchoring. Thanks Dr B.
Why Did I Want To Link Coffee To Sigur Ros Hoppipolla?
The reason was so just before I went on stage I could quickly listen to it and get in the right mood. I thought how could I possibly be nervous when I was so hyped up and excited.
Why didn’t I just drink some coffee?
Well I thought I mightn’t be able to get coffee at the gig plus it can take a while to kick in and take effect. The great thing about linking the caffeine feeling to music (Hoppipolla) was it was instant and all I needed was my little old mp3 player. Plus it was much more fun this way!!
Anyway regardless of my so-called clever idea.
I Almost Chickened Out And Retreated With My Tail Stuck Between My Legs
Just a figure of speech as I wasn’t a cat then … that comes later. Anyway I arrived in Bath very early and after I got settled into my room I went for a little wander to see some sites. In the evening I had a really nice meal and went to bed early to have a good nights sleep. The next day I practiced my routine all day in my room with my home made microphone.
It was getting near the time so I set out with my mp3 player armed with Sigur Ros Hoppipola. I knew where the venue was because I had checked the day before, I definitely didn’t want to get lost on my way there. It was pouring down and I can vividly remember walking in the rain in my sandals with huge butterflies in my stomach.
After I arrived I watched the other amateur comedians who were really good and I must be honest I started to feel very nervous and out of my depth. A few times I almost chickened out but I was determined to get through it and achieve my goal.
Just Before I Was Due To Go On I Played Hoppipola And Got Ready To Face My First Live Audience
The music did its job well and I felt totally buzzed and hyped, unfortunately it did nothing to cull my nerves!! I was so nervous I thought I was going to collapse and I felt totally out of my comfort zone.
As I had practiced my routine so much I basically went into automatic mode and before I knew it I had finished and it was all done and dusted.
So How Did I Do? … Did I Bring The House Down? … Did I Get Booed Off ? … Did I Collapse And Faint In A Puddle Of Sweat?
Basically I got through it as best as I could. I got some laughs and some strange looks too (lol) but I was really happy I had got up on stage and done it. A few people came up to me afterwards and said they liked my stuff and thought it was original and different. In fairness they were probably just being nice as it was obvious that it was my first time and I was very nervous. Plus the other comedians got a lot more laughs and praise from the audience than me.
Another comedian came up to me afterwards for a chat. He asked if I had ever been on a comedy workshop. I found out that apparently there were comedy courses you could take to teach you how to become a stand-up comedian. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a stand-up comedy course so when I got home I decided to give it a shot.
So I Enrolled On A Local Comedy Course To Learn How To Become A Proper Stand-Up Comedian
The course was very good and the tutors were brilliant. At the end you got to perform in front of an audience made up from the family and friends of the course participants. This was really helpful as it was a lot less stressful than a proper live gig.
The six week course flew by and before I knew it I was due to perform for the second time. I still got very stressed and nervous but must admit it went a lot better than I expected it would. Even so there were still a few problems that I had which I needed to fix and sort out.
Afterwards the tutors said the best thing to do was to get out there and do another live gig as soon as possible. I took their advice and booked another gig a month later.
This Was My Third Live Gig And It Was Also To Be My Last
This gig was like my first one as it was in front of a proper audience not family & friends. It started off o.k but I got gonged half way through which basically means you’re told to get off (lol)!!
I had no problem getting gonged or criticized by the audience, as that is all part of the process of becoming a stand-up comedian. You have to take it on the chin and get on with it like everyone else. However for personal reasons that I won’t go into I found it very stressful and difficult. I thought about it all the time and I eventually decided that I wouldn’t book anymore live gigs.
I Was Very Depressed And I Beat Myself Up About It Pretty Bad
I must admit I felt like a bit of a loser as I realized I wouldn’t be able to become a stand-up comedian and cross it off my bucket list.
I still kept on writing my material as for me it was the ultimate in escapism and I really enjoyed it. The process of thinking up ideas then playing around with them and combining them with other ideas was very rewarding. I found it therapeutic in a weird kind of way so I carried on with my writing. However things changed when I discovered “You Tube”.
I Got Addicted To You Tube And Online Comedy Videos
A friend of mine said he had seen a lot of amateur stand-up comedy on “You Tube” and recommended I check it out. I didn’t really go on “You Tube” much to be honest, just now and again really and I never thought to search for amateur stand-up comedy. Anyway I had a look around and I loved how amateur comedians were using “You Tube” to get feedback about their stuff.
People could like or dislike their videos and also leave positive or negative comments too. A lot of the videos were filmed at live amateur open mic nights but there were also videos of people just filming themselves casually in their own home. I got really excited about this and became a bit of a “You Tube” addict for a while. Not long after this I had my so-called big idea, which was:
If I Find Gigging Live So Hard Why Can’t I Try And Become An Online Comedian Instead!
I thought there must be a way to get more detailed feedback about your videos. Rather than people liking, disliking and commenting about the whole video wouldn’t it be awesome if they could rate the individual bits you wanted feedback about.
Then you could start to get rid of all the garbage and just keep what actually works. I already knew from reading the books from the library that probably only 1 % of all my stuff would work and make people laugh. If I could use “You Tube” to help me find my good bits or (1%’s) I could then use them to build myself a decent little online comedy routine.
The great thing was I could do this all online without having to gig live.
This Isn’t As Good As Gigging Live I Know But It Sure Beats Having My Stuff Just Sitting On My Computer Doing Nothing
I got excited because I realized if I could build an online comedy routine that makes people laugh then I might still be able to become a comedian after all. Not only that but I would also be able to cross it off my bucket list too. Now I know being an online comedian isn’t the same thing as being a real one and I appreciate it is a bit of a contradiction. Even so I was over the moon and couldn’t wait to get started on my project.
Things were looking up and I began endlessly searching the net trying to find out how I could make one of my dreams come true.
I Discovered The Ultimate Dynamic Duo … Polldaddy & WordPress!
I already knew about “You tube” and how good that was but I really wanted to find out how I could get more detailed feedback about my videos. The answer was:
They had 5 star rating widgets which I could use to help me get feedback about specific bits of my videos. Not only that but they also have quizzes, polls and surveys so you can get more detailed feedback. I have used some on this page along with other pages to try and make the Cat Comedian Video Blog more friendly and interactive. Anyway here is an example of a Polldaddy 5 star rating widget …. behold !!
However to use their brilliant 5 star rating widgets I would need my own blog or website. After much searching around online I eventually found.
This brilliant site allowed you to have your very own customizable blog. Plus they would host it for you and even teach you how to use it with their brilliant tutorials.
My Dream Of Having My Own Website And Using It To Get Feedback About My Stuff Was Possible … Plus It Wouldn’t Cost Me A penny!!
I was amazed that all these brilliant services were completely and utterly free!! Plus I realized I could also make myself a free Twitter page and Face book page too. We really do live in amazing times. Not only was it all free but it seemed like this was something I could actually do.
You see all my mates were very good with computers but I was a bit of a technophobe to be honest. I always managed to get by as best as I could but I found computers quite difficult to get my head around. The idea of building my own website seemed like something that was totally beyond me. However after learning about WordPress, Polldaddy and You Tube it started to seem possible even for someone like me.
Don’t Get Me Wrong This Website Has Taken Me Ages To Finally Get Boxed Off
I have spent countless hours learning how to use You Tube, WordPress & Polldaddy. It’s strange to think it’s all done now, a bit of a miracle really to be honest, but hey I got there in the end.
The point is if you would love to have your own website, you can, trust me if I can do it anyone can. In all fairness you would probably do it in half the time it has taken me maybe even quicker again. If you do decide to make a website or a blog I thoroughly recommend wordpress.com to you.
Introducing … The Cat Comedian Video Blog
After much thought I decided to call my website “Cat Comedian”. It’s more like a video blog than a website really as I will constantly be adding new stuff to it over time. Anyway regardless of whether it’s a website or a blog I must admit I’m chuffed to bits with it. Now it’s not the best blog in the world I know but I am really proud of it to be honest even though it has taken me so damn long to get finished.
It’s actually the WordPress.com 2010 default template but I wanted to make it more like home so I have played around with it a bit. I have done my best to use pictures and images to make it a bit more friendly and interesting to look at. Microsoft Paint, which came free with my computer has been a massive help to me along with another free paint software I found called paint.net.
Unfortunately Copyright Law Kicked Me Right In The Guts
After collecting a lot of images to use on here I discovered that you had to be very careful where you had got them from. I just searched online in “Google Images” but later found out that big stock picture companies like “Getty Images” could fine you and even take you to court!!! So I made sure to only use images that are either my own or from the public domain. If I do use an image from the Creative Commons I make sure to give a photo credit and full attribution.
By the way I found a fantastic website called Clker.com which is so good and has helped me no end. All the images on there are from the public domain and most of the images on this blog came from clker.com which were then tweaked and customised using “Paint.net”.
Anyway it’s all very nice having a pretty looking blog with pictures and text but I needed to get my stuff on here so it was time to start filming.
Before I carry on with my story out of interest:
I Shot All My Footage In My Studio Den After My Damp Cellar Wrecked Everything
Originally I built a studio in my cellar on a real shoestring budget. I had cheap quilts in black duvet covers held together with kilt pins to try and improve the acoustics. It worked really well funny enough and I noticed a massive improvement.
My light kit was made from reptile heat lamps (job lot off ebay) combined with cardboard and mic stands. I even had a second hand blue velvet curtain that I used for my backdrop. Anyway to cut a long story short everything got wrecked.
I therefore decided to retreat back up stairs and turn my old den into my very own budget studio or as I like to call it my “Studio Den”. If you want to know more about my “Studio Den” including info about my camera, microphone and lights then click here to find out more. Don’t forget to come back though.
Once I Had Shot My Footage I Used You Tube To Help Me Get My Stuff On Here
After I had finished filming I used Windows Movie Maker 2.1 to help me edit my footage. This great piece of software came free with my computer (Tesla) when I first bought it 10 years ago. After I had finished editing I would save it as a movie file and then upload the finished video onto “You Tube”.
Once on “You Tube” I could then embed the video onto my blog. WordPress makes it really easy to get video onto your blog by using simple short code, which is really handy and very simple to do. After that I just had to decide which bits of my video I wanted feedback about so I could use polldaddy’s rating widgets to help. For more info about feedback please see “Rating My Stuff.”
That’s it really.
Oh yea your probably wondering why I’m a cat, what’s that all about?
Well I’m Actually Meant To Be A Puma If You Must Know And It’s All Usian Bolts Fault
This is a bit weird so bare with me.
When super star sprinter Usain Bolt dominated the Beijing 2008 Olympics I along with everyone else was totally gob smacked. I had never seen him before as I didn’t follow athletics but I did like watching the Olympics when they were on. Anyway after watching Usain Bolt become a super star over night I had a grandiose big idea.
Now I must point out I was always having mad ideas and like most people they usually stayed in my head and I never acted on them. However I was determined to act on this one.
So What Was This Mad Idea Of Mine?
Well it was an idea I had for a T.V advert that “Puma Sports Company” could use to advertise their brand. They sponsored Usain Bolt and as he had just become a global sensation now was the perfect time to act!!!
I wrote my idea down and started thinking about it day and night and also what was the best action I should take. A few days later I decided it was very important that I do something out of the ordinary to get Puma’s attention. I wanted to make sure that my idea got to its destination safely compared to it getting lost in the post room, misplaced or thrown away. My goal was to have Puma’s advertising and marketing manager read my proposal in person. After much thought it suddenly became all clear to me and I knew what I was going to do.
I Decided To Try And Negotiate A Deal With Puma Headquarters … Cat To Cat
Well puma to puma actually.
Now I know what you’re thinking, this is not only nuts but it’s stupid too! Well looking back I agree with you but it was also a lot of fun to do!!
I started experimenting with Snazaroo face paint and after a lot of practise and some horrendous creations I finally ended up with my puma character. Next I wrote my script, memorized it and then filmed myself in a shirt and tie presenting my idea to Puma’s Advertising & Marketing Manager. To finish it off I made a special box to house my proposal, which I put onto a DVD.
When it was finished it looked like a really expensive present wrapped in green paper and finished off with a big gold ribbon. I made sure that when it was opened it smelt of roses and even contained complementary sweets (Roses). This is great I thought and it can’t fail.
What Happened? … It Failed, There’s A Surprise!!
I didn’t even get a letter from them to say that they had received my proposal. It would of been nice to get something back even if they told me to go and jump off a cliff or words to that effect.
Anyway it wasn’t a big surprise to be honest and even though I had completely failed as I so often do I didn’t want to part with my Puma character just yet. You see I put in so much time and effort to create him that it seemed such a great shame to disregard him or throw him away so soon.
So I Decided To Use My Puma Character To Help Turn Myself Into The “Cat Comedian”
So that’s why I look like a cat (Puma) and why I am called the “Cat Comedian! “ It’s all Puma and Usain Bolts fault.
If you think about it though it’s quite fitting really that I’m doing this project as a cat. You see when I decided I wanted to become a comedian all those many years ago and wrote it down on my “Bucket List” I did it when I was watching tigers.
Anyway let me quickly round up and summarize my whole story for you, as it was a bit long I know.
My Whole Story In A Nut Shell
Here is a 20 step simplified version for you. If you came her first I don’t blame you to be honest as I realize I did get a bit carried away writing my story. For some reason if reading the simplified version below changes your mind and you feel like reading the whole story then just click the post it note to your right and it will take you back to the beginning. Or instead you can just scroll back up to the top.
Anyway here goes …
- I dreamt of becoming a comedian whilst watching tigers in the safari park and wrote it on my “Bucket List”.
- I use to daydream at lot at work and write down my ideas as none of my jobs were mentally taxing.
- I started making notes on scraps of paper and then I progressed to a 2nd hand Dictaphone I got off Ebay.
- I bought a computer I called “Tesla” to help me organize all my notes and ideas.
- I borrowed some books on stand-up comedy from my local library to get some much needed help and advice.
- I started to practice with a pretend microphone I made by spray painting a tennis ball black and putting it on a stick.
- I traveled all the way to Bath for my first live gig and made it into a holiday.
- I enrolled on a comedy course to try and get better and learn from experts.
- I did two more live gigs and then decided not to do anymore for personal reasons that I won’t go into.
- I kept on writing as I found it was very therapeutic and helpful.
- I found out about “You Tube” and realized I could use it to help me get feedback about my material online.
- I set myself a goal to try and become an online comedian instead of gigging live.
- I discovered WordPress & Polldaddy and used them to help me build my very own video blog.
- I decided to become the Cat Comedian by using the puma character I created to try and negotiate a deal with Puma about Usian Bolt.
- I shot all my footage in my “Studio Den” after my damp cellar wrecked everything.
- I want to use the Cat Comedian Video Blog to help me find the 1 % of my material that actually works by sorting through all the garbage.
- I would like next to take the good bits I find and use them to try and build a decent little 10 – 15 minute comedy routine all online.
- I can then hopefully make people laugh online instead of at live gigs.
- I therefore might still be able to achieve my goal of becoming a comedian (online).
- I can then at long last get to cross something of my bucket list once and for all!
There You Go That’s My Story About How The “Cat Comedian Video Blog” Came To Be And Why I Look Like A Cat (Puma)
Thanks a million for visiting this page and for taking the time to read my story. It was a lot longer than I originally intended (lol)!!!
Any feedback you can give me about my material to help me find my funny bits is massively appreciated.
Hopefully I can finally realize my dream of becoming a comedian and make people laugh and smile.
Oh yea feel free to heckle, criticize and take the Mick out of me too. I don’t take myself too seriously (lol!!).