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Our Token Brit is Taking a Stand-Up Class at Dallas Comedy House for Your Amusement

Gavin Cleaver, stand-up rookie.
Gavin Cleaver, stand-up rookie.

Gavin Cleaver is the Observer's British barbecue correspondent.

I'm not a consistently funny man. And while I'm a huge fan of stand-up, I've never looked at it and thought "I could do that!" I might be mildly funny in text format sometimes, but in text I have the chance to step back, breathe, re-format, and hone jokes. It's just easier.

Even when there's no stage or mic or crowd, I'm not the best at humor on the fly. I'm prone to inserting my foot directly into my mouth. And rather than take it out, I usuallly seem to just continue chewing for a bit.

Which I believe makes me the target audience for the stand-up comedy class being offered by the Dallas Comedy House, Deep Ellum's comedy venue and factory.

Our charming editor, Joe, is clearly determined to make me funnier, as we would both profit from that. So for the next few weeks I will be writing for you, dear reader, a weekly dispatch from said comedy class, chronicling my struggle to finally be consistently amusing, at least when my surrounding humans have a minimum of two drinks in them.

I will try and report as honestly and brutally as I can about my efforts to overcome my inner awkwardness, like a comedic Rocky, and give you the impression of what it's like to submit yourself to a class in being funny.

The best and worst part is that, at the end of my course, I will give a five-minute performance of original material in front of a proper Comedy House audience. (Charming Editor's note: This will be heavily publicized both before and after.) At this point I'm of the opinion that me bombing would be funnier than any of the jokes I can currently come up with, so, given that I have no material right now, I might decide to self-sabotage in the name of comedy and then just move back home.

If the audience can get past my accent (and that's a big "if") then hopefully they will see my inner genius, but you shouldn't hold your breath on either the accent thing or me possessing anything approaching genius. As long as I'm allowed to write my own review, and Joe doesn't send anyone out to cover it, someone might even be hoodwinked into letting me do a second performance. That is, if I haven't died of embarrassment first. We'll see.

Either way, it should be quite the ride, with a payoff that's bound to be satisfying (for you, not for me). Tune in same time next week to find out how many people I manage to alienate with off-color jokes in the first class.


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