Comedians and performers show up to an empty audience. The chairs are empty and the barman is bored…
THE PROPOSAL | A Comedy Short Film
A restaurant waiter finds an opportunity for promotion when he discovers a nervous gentleman preparing to propose to his girlfriend.
In most occasions, I tend to try and write specifically about a subject, but on this occasion I don’t have one…yet, as I just described to my sister-in-law, I do enjoy using the first line, “On a dark and stormy night…” to meander off into subsequent variations of the theme before reaching the point, in order to jump-start the creative process.
And here’s the result.
On a dark and stormy night…
…well, a slightly dark and stormy night, really. In July in the southern hemisphere. And but slightly, I really mean sort-of dusky with a small chance of drizzle.
And when I mean by stormy, really some drizzle with the possibility that your eyes will seem accustomed to the African sun after a few months of the blanket of clouds hanging overcast like a comfort pillow thrown over by an over-protective mother that still loves you despite yelling you a few hours before for leaving your bike out in the yard.
And when I mean drizzle at dusk, I really mean an occasional smattering of one or two droplets descending upon the earth like a few Spartans entering a battle…without their mates, resulting in totally defeat by the Persian horde, that sort of smattering.
And dusk is such a relative term. I would say about 9am, the sun easily penetrating the window like a geriatric peeping Tom with a pace-maker that ticks away like the timepiece in the crocodile that ate Captain Hook’s hand from Peter Pan, the old badger ruffling through the plants trying to find a good view up your nose as your bed faces feet first towards the window.
So anyway, on a slightly morning-ish time of the day with a slight smattering of droplets…I discovered you can get Jews on a train far more easily if you charged them half.
I’ve been here two months, did a few shows, got into a few interviews and caught up with a few friends and family. But nothing, so far, has been as awe-inspiring as spending time with my Dad.
I wrote a joke back in London about my dad saving me from something when I was very small, which is part of the bigger truth, of the bond between us I missed for so long growing up in a matriarchal home. But now, after 12 years away, I’ve been relishing the little moments we share together, for as a teenager I never fully appreciated the impact he had on me, and in his twilight years fraught with medical uncertainty for his health, I aim to take the time to enjoy every moment.
In a nutshell…he may be the quiet one at the back you should look out for, but in my life one of the funniest men I’ve ever known.
I know, I know, ironic huh? Nelson harped on for ages about his addiction to going online on Facebook and wanted to get off it as it was so time-consuming and affected his relationship with other people, his performance in work, and wrote a few short blog-posts bleeding his heart to the wide world of human beings about his fragile ego needing a rest from a virtual fashion show of people’s lives.
And then he’s back on it.
Well, if you haven’t seen by now, I’m in South Africa spending time with la familia, my dad having been ill for so long and me wanting to be around him before time runs out. But since 2 weeks ago, this I can see will impact greatly on my career in the videogames industry, fragile and precarious as it once was before.
And now, I need Facebook…to contact people.
For all my good intentions of shooting the proverbial shit with my dad and the rest of his brood, no one needs a producer in little ol’ Cape Town, and I found that out the hard way after 2 months of being strung along by someone. It’s time to step up, get off my bum-bum, rewrite my Curriculum Vitae and become a full-fledged rat-race chaser, doing whatever odds and ends necessary to pay for petroleum for a run-down ve-HIC-le that will take me places for work purposes AND for comedic endeavours.
In terms of Facebook, that means being exposed to people again, promoting comedy shows and varying my repertoire, talking to long-lost “pals” and convincing them that I’m a gorgeous good-looking, charming little piece of ass-et that you can’t do without.
AND THEN I’ll be offline, keeping my head down.
So, you can call me a hypocrite for being weak-minded…OR you can stand-up and say, “Nelson…there’s a guy that needs a handyman, I’ll send him your number.”
Yes, yes you can do that.
And a wonderful to you all from a finally overcast Cape Town, South Africa.
From my little room I share in my brother’s wonderful house in the suburbs, I woke up dazed and confused early this morning to find two things that perplexes even the most astute of single gentlemen that walk the earth as directionless as I am:
1. A phone call from my sister demonstrating a cheap car on Gumtree called a Ford Lazer (yes, I write this wishing I could show my fingers making the Dr. evil signature move)
2. A black cat called Peanut licking itself in area devoid of appropriate testicular contents.
It’s been a surreal week and a half getting to know my family once again, regaling them with wonderful anecdotes of stories from the colonial master land that is the United Kingdom, and wishing them health and love as best I can without sounding TOO droll. As yet, I have not had the chance to meet up with old friends due to a distinct lack of transport (public utilities usually consists of a man driving a van with a monkey-wrench for a steering wheel) but when I do, I hope it will be fun and interesting.
And yes, hun, I’m still waiting for you to answer.
Monday night saw me perform my first set for over a year at a lovely little bar in Rondebosch, expecting droves of UCT students eager to giggle their sides, and to be fair the 10 guys staring at me gave me the challenge I wanted most: a chance to test my mettle as a all-round entertainer.
And true to their word, they tested me.
Still, it was nice to walk off stage and blokes coming up afterwards saying, “China, you was ace, eh?” followed by a handshake and a shoulder-bump, a clear sign of me being accepted into the audience acumen of approval.
Ever been shoulder-bumped? It’s like an audience Jay Leno nodding and saying you’ll go far.
So today I’ll be setting up a portfolio of shots thanks to a wonderful photographer I know, looking for menial work, openings up the money-grubbing bank account and reading up on the day’s stories for new and exciting material, to mold and shape it into wonderful jokes that will leave them thinking that their lives can be for the better if they look past the errors of yesteryear and just accept that inside, we…are all…pink.
Cape Town, bring it on.
See me Thursday night at the Chilli Bar in Southfield where I’ll be sweating it yet again.
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?