Jules and I both decided to follow our dreams when we finished running the hotel. In my case as a writer In hers doing stand up comedy and acting generally.
Her success has been a bit more immediate than mine – though as she says she’s been preparing for it all her life from a winning performance at school that gained her the role of Head Girl, through success in amateur theatre companies, to performing old time music hall on the Wellington Pier at Great Yarmouth through to running and appearing in a range of events at the hotel. So far she has done ten five minute slots and has six more plus four weeks of a one woman show in Edinburgh lined up – My Sister Says I’m Special . She has also guested a few times on Fubar Radio. If you want to get a flavour follow her on Twitter at julesmaxine@iamjulesmaxine .
This isn’t the first time she has done stand up – she did the Kings Head in London before we went into the hotel but had no real chance to follow it up. It’s been great watching her develop her craft as I develop mine although I’m not the best audience as I’ve heard the set half a dozen times by the time she performs it live. However as she often goes off script there are always new jokes I haven’t heard.
Comedy is different to write (I’ve observed as I haven’t tried it) as you need to factor in the performance. What is similar in ensuring you get in enough information to make sure the audience understand the joke, but not too much so they lose concentration. You do need to build in an element of timing in writing fiction as well – people like me who speed read can miss some jokes unless you are careful to use punctuation and paragraphs to break up their reading pattern. I tend to say the words in my head as I type them (I’m guessing all writers do this) and hear the distinct voices of each character. Having a stand up comic in the family helps as some of the sharpness that demands will hopefully rub off.
It has also given me the bravery to appear myself without the shield of a guitar or band. My appearances on the Channel Four quiz Fifteen to One are on this week (spoiler: I didn’t win) and we have both just attended an open audition for film extra parts.