I've written more material and ideas for this character in a week than I've managed to muster in 3 months for my usual stand-up routine. I'm not bored of performing as myself, don't get me wrong, but I feel like I'm tapping into a creative part of me I haven't seen for a long time.
Before doing stand-up I did many sketch shows, revues, pantomimes and plays over the years, so performing on stage as someone else was all I knew. Writing for a character feels like writing without limits, it's exciting. But is it any good I hear you ask? He's had 2 outings this week (I haven't fully decided on a name yet, he's that new), both of them different, both of them successful. He was well received at Long Live Comedy where I was also able to get good feedback off my peers and he went down well at The Playhouse in Ilkley last night (where he went by Mr Finley. It would have been Mr Lineker if Lee had his way!). There's more work to be done, but I'm feeling more inspired than I have done in a while.
But what inspired this character? Another excellent question. Lots of things to be honest. At the most simple level, I watched a clip of a comedian in a suit last week and thought he looked smart, but thought if I wore a suit it would look like I'd just come from a meeting. Boom, a man in a suit holding a meeting was born. I started writing material, as I practised it I started doing a voice from a character I did 2 years ago for a YouTube video and with that voice came the moustache (you can see the video below, it's the character of Q) Originally I think the moustache defined the voice, as I've practised the character to myself with a few different moustaches and it's just not the same. So there's the premise, an older gentleman with grey hair and moustache holding a meeting with the audience as his employees. Currently it's a nice mix of audience interaction and personal tales, but the ideas are flowing free and fast and the more I think of interacting with the audience the more potential I see.
It's the character of Q he most resembles.
On a deeper level, the last day of my Edinburgh Fringe Festival inspired me greatly. I saw 5 shows in the last day, 3 of which were Tony Law, Stewart Lee and The Boy with Tape on his Face. Stewart Lee I've seen many times over the years so I knew what to expect, but it's still impressive to witness his disregard for typical comedy conventions. Tony Law however was new to me, and his show was overwhelmingly inspiring to watch as an aspiring comic. Towards the end of the show I felt my breath taken away as I realised 'this is what can be done, this is what can be achieved'. You can imagine I was feeling equally inspired after seeing The Boy with Tape on his Face for the first time. Both shows made me realise that it's possible to look beyond words and actions and that the power of an idea should never be overlooked, whether that idea be hanging elephants from the ceiling or filling the room with hundreds of red balloons.
I'm not saying goodbye to performing as myself, but I'm planning on riding this wave of inspiration for all it's worth. I'm excited about writing, excited about performing and I'm excited that I'm excited because I think there's a lot to be said about doing what you enjoy. It's exciting that I'm still discovering that.