What's new with Janey
16 May 2008

Comedy is my life

Not expecting much from a job is how I have lived my life. When I owned a bar many years ago, I accepted that it would generate much needed cash and allow me to buy stuff that I wanted. Simple as that.

I was a good barmaid, many people told me so, I never drank, smoked but spent a lot of time swearing and shouting at drunken Glaswegians, that was my one perk of the job and I used it up greedily.

When I went into stand up, I expected to make less cash (and I did at first) but I got more job satisfaction. I got to travel, got to say stuff out loud and finally got my dream come true- I got paid for talking. I talk too much and getting paid for the one thing that most people hate about me was very satisfying in a deep perverse way.

Though to put it all into perspective, I understood it was just a job. An interesting job no doubt, but when it all comes down to it, comedy is a job. Like many stand ups, I made my job my life. I was determined to get better, eager to learn and the more people told me to give it up, the more I did it. One comedy promoter even went to great lengths to tell other people not to hire me, but I suppose the less said about that the better. Again, the more they told me to shut up the more I spoke. It all worked out in the end.

My family never told me to stop, both my husband and daughter always had some strange unshakable belief that it was the right career path, but then they are both slightly mad, so maybe with hindsight I shouldn’t have taken career advice from a small child and a man with Asperger’s Syndrome.

But now I am glad I did. I am now 47 years old and cannot quite fathom out why I never did all of this comedy lark earlier in life. I suppose I was too busy being a barmaid to consider it. Life finally threw me a curve ball in 1994 that gave me the chance to leave the bar and follow my own path.

I love the job, and the great thing about comedy is your NEVER stop learning, every single gig sheds a new light on your performance. Every show teaches you something you didn’t know five minutes earlier and that’s why I adore it.

It’s not like being a secretary where you are going to know everything you need to know in the first six months. Comedy is great for reflection, it’s wonderful for learning more about yourself and it gives you the most satisfying feeling in the world when you do a great gig.

The down side is, when you have a bad night, every single tiny piece of low self esteem can bubble and rise to the surface and almost smother you in the wee small hours when you can’t sleep.

But then you get back up onstage and do it all over again.

It’s addictive and mad, but my job is my life and I realised today for the first time in that life that I am never going to stop it. I am going to be one of those really old women who still get onstage and do their stuff.

Even if no one is listening, I am determined to be the oldest woman on the circuit in the future._

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