Can Cycling Be Funny?

Me trying to be funny

 

Last year I completed a stand up comedy course organised by the very knowledgeable and lovely Jill Edwards who, through no fault of her own, has also ended up living in Worthing. The course was a real eye-opener and went so well, I graduated by performing at a New Act gig at Komedia, Brighton in front of a sell out 250 people (the audience was a combination of the graduates’ friends, families, work colleagues, former comedy graduates and ramdom people off the street and it was incredibly nerve-wracking). Since then I attended the Advanced Workshops to develop material and did a couple more gigs until my son arrived in May.

Now its time to go back to comedy school after a prolonged Paternity Leave. Although becoming a new father should provide acres of material, I was wondering if anyone has ever got any mileage out of cycling for comedy material?

Below is a picture of the brilliant comedian, Dave Gorman. Even when he’s not laugh out loud funny, he’s nothing less than fascinating to watch. For part of a tour he did recently, he cycled 1,600 miles to the four cardinal points of  Britian (most westerly, most easterly etc). This of course produced some interesting venues to perform at (and would make a fascinating CTC Touring Route Sheet) but the material wasn’t about cycling.

Dave Gorman on his ‘Sit Down, Pedal, Pedal, Stop And Stand Up’ Tour

So far the only potential snippet I have for inclusion regarding cycling into my set is as follows,

‘I’m a cyclist because I don’t think I received enough verbal abuse and persecution as a child….’

Obviously there’s a ton of other hilarious material that fits around it (trust me!) but I’m trying to develop the best way to approach this sort of material as cycling is a fundamental part of my life and always has been to varying degrees. The Golden Rule of comedy is to tell the truth from the heart.

Cycling has featured in comedy classics before such as Jacques Tati’s ambitous postman in Jour de Fete or the Bicycle Repair Man and Pither’s Cycling Tour sketches in Monty Python’s Flying Circus. But can material be gleaned from something utilitarian that we do every day? If Michael McIntyre can get mediocre material about driving into his set (about overtaking generally), I want to see if I can develop something funnier about cycling.

I thoroughly recommend Jill’s stand up course and I thoroughly welcome your thoughts. No jokes about Bromptons though. That’s just sick.

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5 thoughts on “Can Cycling Be Funny?”

  1. “Although becoming a new father should provide acres of material”

    Oh, yes, brilliant — why has no stand-up ever thought of that before?

    😉

    I never saw Richard Herring’s Christ On A Bike — I assume that was about cycling, though.

    1. Joe

      There are certainly loads of jokes about fatherhood. However the humour comes in with your personal take on what would be regarded as well trodden topics which allows the audience into your World and lets them get to know you. So I suppose Cycling could be introduced in a way that doesn’t turn the majority of the audience off, in so far as its part of my World and the majority of the audience would have ridden a bicycle at some stage in their lives.

      As far as I understand, Christ on a Bike was Richard Herring’s take on [what he regarded as] inaccuracies in the Bible. Although cycling obviously didn’t feature in this (Mary & Joseph obviously having to use a Donkey to get to Bethlehem as opposed to using a Thorn Tandem with Carradice panniers to look for a CTC approved camping barn), it does involve an argument with Jesus that’s settled with a bicycle race.

      Yours in cycling

      Jim

  2. I mused along the following lines: I’m white, I’m middle-aged (well, young side of) and I’m middle class. How can I get more identity politics in my life? I know! I’ll become a cyclist 🙂

  3. You know I once did a stand-up bit about the time someone tried to kill me on my bike by crossing the median and running into me from behind at 65 MPH (~100 km/h for the Imperial deficient) and it was hilarious! Well not the trying to kill me bits, but the part about waking up in the ambulance and already being more than halfway through the set-up to the joke about “did anybody get the number of that truck?” after already telling the cops the wrong address, state I was living in, and my parent’s phone number at a house I hadn’t lived in for 15 years at that point, that was comedy gold. It’s like stoner jokes, you don’t have to be a pot head to get them…

    1. Personal experience is always best for stand up comedy. Stoner humour also worked for me but that was because I was inside that particular tent during my late teens/early twenties. It should come as no surprise that I happily discovered the Slow Bicycle Movement during this period 🙂 For me, the late, great Bill Hicks is a shining example of stoner humour that carried over very well, again because he spoke of personal experience and he had passion.

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