A personal taste of Nelson de Gouveia

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low self-esteem

The Offspring said it best…Low self-esteem

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The past two performances, involving me in a small speakeasy dungeon that helped little for my burgeoning claustrophobia, and the other in a themed comedy night about “love” where I spilled out a new joke at the beginning and was not helped by the competitiveness of winning £100, made me realise a fundamental flaw in my mental machinery.

I have low self-esteem.

There, I said it, I hate writing these where I sound like I’m looking for pity, and in reality it’s exactly what it sounds like. I’m actually yearning for a group of people to raise me up and say, “Don’t worry about your self-esteem, everyone has that, what we want is for you to continue trying, please, we want to see more.”

Cos, in my head, everyone else gets that.

I usually have phenomenally wonderful ideas about activities to partake in, including creating tiny little webisodes, radio podcasts that involve scripted events, even a sitcom within a sitcom, a photographic makeover involving friends together posing as the Avengers, or just a stand-up routine featuring me ironing a shirt to Queen’s “We are the champions”.

And inherently, I never do them as I think I’ll be crap.

Before I used comedy as a small step in self-therapy, getting out of my shell to do something spectacular that I believed I cold never do, and now with 15 minutes under the belt and a lot of experience with small tiny rooms of willing guinea-pigs eager to hear the ear-candy I spout from my verbal blow-hole I find comedy less theraputic and more of a job.

Which I don’t mind, getting paid to make people laugh is amazing…if I got paid.

It take something special now for me to get out of my shell, find a niche target that involves something other than trying to “tell jokes”, but I realise my support to go forth and experiment comes only from one source here in London…myself. Me, I, alone.

Don’t know how it will be in South Africa, la familia isn’t too concerned with how to entertain people and I’m fearful of becoming the younger reject that depends on them for food and shelter. But my instincts say that if I gamble on trying to do comedy there, I will have to REALLY work hard just to avoid the sight of me on the couch writing notes and the first reaction to hear would be, “When are you getting a job?”

Meeting two people I hadn’t seen for a while did help me out quite a lot. First, the lovely Sara, with her amazing partner in crime that looks different I see him, Alfred. She’s the purveyor of hard work, studying Greek and Latin at university while at the same time also entering the stand-up circuit with both verve and tenacity, and herself supporting stand-up so much she has a blog with recorded interviews and reviews, which you can find here, www.comedyblogedy.com

And Steve Allen, one of the sexiest voices on radio. Why he doesn’t have more work and we have to keep listening to Z-list celebrities churning out their babble on L’Oreal adverts is beyond me. His podcast about the news is, to be frank, spectacular, you have to listen. It’s so professionally well-edited and funny that I’m equally surprised iTunes hasn’t sent a team of engineers to his house to edit his recordings hourly, having breaks inbetween for tea and Jeremy Kyle. His amazing talent can be heard here, www.somenews.co.uk

My point is, is that even with writing a blog-post now in this current state, being brave to hear the ridicule and scorn from my peers about “oh Nelson, stop looking for sympathy.” well yes, yes I am, but I don’t need sympathy, I need a deadline. I need to be told to produce something different and then it will be scrutinised, reviewed and dissected for me to understand what both people want and what I wish to give, regardless of how sad and weak I feel most days.

So, I’ll pick myself up from the hole I’ve dug in slowly, carry on trying my absolute best, and one day remind the people that helped me out that there’s free milk and cookies in the French chalet I’m gifting them with (future fame assured).

FYI, this blog-post is emotionally sponsored by Mr Steve N Allen, www.mrstevenallen.co.uk

marc maron

Marc Maron – WTF Podcast

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Marc Maron, an American comic spanning over a decade or more, has been hosting a podcast interviewing entertainers now for a few years and has been quietly gaining popularity for his insightful and personable interviewing skills, getting some great acts like Chris Rock, Norm McDonald and Donald Glover into the “garage” for simply a good chat. You can catch his show weekly over at his website, WTFPod , via iTunes or even through his mobile/smartphone apps.

“*slurp* Pow! That’s justcoffee.coop!”

connecting

Connecting with Your Audience

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As a comic, one of our initial tasks as performers is to connect to you guys, the audience, to share both emotions and relative ideas and in this first piece of material I’d like to share with you my love for… breathing.

Yes we all need to breathe. Presumably all animals alike, the fish in the sea, the amoeba growing in the primordial soup, all of us require oxygen to live.

And yes, we all love to breathe. It’s so taken for granted considering that love doesn’t always factor into the equation, we all have to breathe or else we perspire, we fall and our life-force will leave our corporial shells to float away in some inter-dimensional existence, if those robe-wearing monks in Tibet are to be believed. But in my head, I do enjoy the art of intaking a lung-full of oxygen and exhaling explosive carbon dioxide into the clear and present atmosphere, that same atmosphere that provides all life on earth with the ozone (I still cringe at the fact that mathematically I have or will breathe in a remnant of Hitler’s farts).

I even love the moments when I hestitate, the times when I need to hold my breath in anticipation of that big reveal that eventually comes, or the shock that you get when you realize that what you were hoping…actually happens.

Like that last episode of Friends when Ross listens to the message Rachel left on the answering machine when she’s trying to leave the plane, “I’m sorry, I’m really sorry, but I need to get off the plane, ok? I need to tell someone I love them!”

The stewardess says, “Miss, I can’t let you off the plane.”

And Ross screams at his machine, “Let her off the plane!”

Rachel responds, “Oh please miss, you don’t understand!”

And when the message cuts off, Ross leaps to his feet, yells at the top of his voice, “No! No! Oh my God! Did she get off the plane? Did she get off the plane?”

And at that moment, you wait, hoping that with the power of your own mind you change the outcome so positively that nothing else matters. Eventually then, you hear this little voice, stage right, that fulfills that wish, and that line is:

“I got off the plane.”

So, who likes farting?

introductions

Introductions

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Not that I post blogs everyday, but I just thought of something that I find exciting, and whomever comes along to read, hope it gives you a giggle, especially about introductions.

Since October 2008 I’ve been performing stand-up comedy in and around London, England, and it’s been a fascinating journey of experiences, loves, hates, lost in the city, new friends made, etc etc…and I have enjoyed building a small reputation to the ire of some folk that believed I’m no more than a waste of silly space.

One aspect I always found challenging was the Introduction…

It’s stupid of me to say that after a few years of performing in front of crowds big and small, I’ve grown so accustomed to whatever comes my way, but in effect I’ll always get nervous no matter what the crowd, especially last’s night lovely free night in a theatre bar/restaurant.

What I really get nervous about, though, is the first impression. That sets the tone for everything you do (you could even take into account the host welcoming you on stage, even) and you’re pot out of luck if the audience don’t agree with the first set of words or actions travelling light-speed from your stage persona.

I’ve built up a repotoire of introducing myself by using my full name which I won’t say publicly in case some tries to steal it (yip, I know, big ego), but I’ve managed to write up new ways to accentuate the whole schpeel with different punchlines.

Last night, though, was just too easy…

“Hi, my name is Nelson xxxxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxxx de Gouveia, I’m 30 years old, was born in xxxxxxxx, to a xxxxxxxx family and grew up in xxxxxxxx!”

Audience member: “Yeah, I thought so.”

A big laugh insues. I didn’t need to use my list of potential punchlines. The rest of the set smacked the room and even my housemate, the amazing www.ryancull.com give me some pointers on how to improve some of the jokes I do.

My point is…working hard on something brings great results. But everything, even the introduction, is important.

Edinburgh – Wow oh wow

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Sorry I haven’t been writing for ages, and in addition writing for Edinburgh, which I should as I’ve been having a mad adventure here. It’s literally an occasion like no other, an experience I will certainly never forget and a rollercoaster of emotion that is incomparable to anything else.

One: obviously about me, I have become religiously confident as a stand-up…it’s been a mix and match of comedy quality from gig to gig, and I’m happy to announce that I’ve had an amazing Edinburgh debut at the Kasbar room in Espionage, to a packed room of people (after helping to flyer), then after a better delivery with lesser laughs, but hey, it’s what I do to learn and grow.

Next up I’ve been roped in to warm up an act everyday for the entire run, which guarantees me 5 minutes each day to perform freely without being stuck onto the same material time and time again.

And finally, news of me is spreading amongst the smaller people while the bigger ones at least see my face, and whether I’m on stage and die a little death, they will at least remember that and in the future notice an improvement, if any.

Not to mention running into people, socialising without cause or effect, meeting new patriots to the cause and supporting live comedy everywhere I can get to.

As for work, I obviously can’t see the reaction of my colleagues but I’m managing the time between performing and doing any work I’m needed to do as best as I can. I fear for some delays and repercussions won’t be nice, but I will try my very best and try not to let them down, as they are awesome folks and I love working with them.

Two: Giada is with me and didn’t have a wonderful debut, but we have two different minds regarding what we both want from the Fringe. Hopefully she’ll get her vibe in other shows and do well, which she is far more capable of doing than I am.

Three: Imran Yusuf performed at Michael McIntyre’s Road Show on Sunday, and he’s received 5 stars for his Free Festival show, An Audience with Imran Yusuf. The guy’s over the moon and I’m really blessed to have been around to see it, and thankful he got me into it too. All the best for him and hope he invites me to his LA mansion (he’s sitting next to me as I type this, hope he notices that last bit :P)

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