Comedy is hard work say Howick College students Josh Black and Catherine Thomas who recently performed at the NZ International Comedy Fest.
Fourteen-year-old Josh along with 16-year-old Catherine Thomas auditioned for an impromptu stand-up hosted by Class Comedians 2018, a group of comedians who visited the college.
The scholarship drama students didn’t realise there was an ongoing selection process and were pleasantly surprised when they were told that they had won themselves a place in a 50- hour free workshop with some of the best internationally-known comedians.
“Though both of us are drama students, doing stand-up is far more terrifying,” says Catherine. “In a play you are hiding behind a character but here you are on your own. Though once the audience starts laughing at your first joke then it gets easier.
“The best thing in life is to make people laugh and though comedy was never on my radar, I’ve discovered that I love doing stand-up and I want to keep doing it,” she says.
They also learnt that there are different genres of comedy that range from story- telling to observation, one liners, comedic theatre, musical comedy and lots more.
“We didn’t realise there is so much theory work involved,” they say.
Josh says the trick is to write a joke and keep working on it until it sounds better.
“The first time I auditioned, I spoke about the annoying habit my parents have of talking loudly on the phone,” he says.
“You can tell a real story and add some drama to it. Or then look at things in your life that you’ve had a wee giggle at and then develop characters.
“Like for instance I have a friend who is quite weird so I use him as a character and keep adding things that he may or may not have done,” says Josh, who has always enjoyed theatre sports.
“You have to keep going over and over your one-liners and use them on your friends and see which one works the best.”
At the Comedy Fest, Josh spoke about the time he broke his leg on a playground while on a date with a girl.
Catherine, who enjoys a political slant, told the story of her being a hockey umpire but has no control over the men who are much older and don’t respect her.
Now that the duo have had a taste of stand up comedy they have been doing more Open Mic nights, and both agree that it been rewarding and has made them more positive as they look at the funnier side of life.