Stand-up Comedy

A New String to my Bow

Stand-up Comedy

I never had thought I would have ever been doing something so out of my league like this. Well, in quite a nutshell, I never imagined myself with a microphone in my hand, speaking to an audience and making them laugh.

In early 2018 I joined Counterpoints Arts (an organisation that works to promote and celebrate Migrants and Refugees and their contribution to the UK through the medium of Arts) as a Marketing intern. those months were the best of my life where I not only explored the refugee focused charity sector but also made very good friends with the team. In the fall of 2018 Counterpoints Arts decided to start a new project called No Direction Home - Stand-up Comedy. The idea behind this project was to give a platform to refugees, migrants and non-migrants a chance to do stand-up at different events and venues. I was one of those first few, Counterpoints Arts asked me if I was interested in being part of this project as a performer which I accepted initially just to do just once.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I and other participants attended workshops organised by Counterpoints Arts to learn the art of stand up. One of the things which really inspired me and due to which I am still hanging around the stand-up scene instead of just one-off as initially thought was the amount of effort put in by everyone. I would like to mention especially our mentor Tom Parry who is himself a very witty comedian and now a good friend. The way he ran those workshops and made the concepts and ideas so easy to grasp really deserved 5 stars.

The result of those workshops was outstanding with me performing in so many gigs at Camden’s People Theatre and some other places including the biggest one at Southbank centre on 23rd June 2019, all organised by Counterpoints Arts. My overall experience of this can’t be explained in a few sentences. There are so many aspects of this project which I admire and enjoy. Performing In front of an audience in itself is a kind of authority which you enjoy once the mic is in your hands, although it’s always scary for the first 30 seconds. Out of all of the performing arts, I think that comedy is the medium where the liberty and limit of saying something is very loose. The things you can’t say otherwise are the things you can easily talk about in stand-up. During this journey, I had a chance to meet some very good artists, Nish Kumar, Romesh Ranganathan, Lou Sanders, Suzi Ruffell are some of them. Moreover, I had a chance to work with some very creative people who started just like me but became very good friends and made me and so many others laugh. I have nothing but praise for all of these people and it is because of all these good people that I am still part of this and still enjoying it.

I subsequently organised our very own standup gig under HAVEN Coffee on 12th December 2019 with the name of Laffucino at 2Northdown which delightfully was a success. As our mission is to promote refugee artists and arts (both visual and performing) and so we will keep on organising events like Laffucino and more. So keep looking out on our Instagram or by signing up for our newsletter for latest updates.

comedy
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usman khalid
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