Class Clowns Contestant Blogs: Joe Gardner

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Joe Gardner

I entered Class Clowns after a suggestion by my drama teachers. I did have to think about whether I was really cut out for it or not. I went with the, ‘Opportunities wont come and find me’ attitude and just applied but I made it through to the workshops.

As they reached nearer, word spread about my participation in the contest and I was extremely lucky to have a large number of friends keen to see me perform. The pressure was already on but this gave me support and furthered my sense that maybe this was the right game for me to play.

Workshopping my material was a saviour. Lead by an extraordinary group of friendly, honest, complimentary comedians and writers, I was given feedback on my set at every opportunity. At the first workshop, I told a joke which absolutely bombed and no one laughed. My confidence was knocked but I can only imagine how it would have been had I told it at the final without the advice from the mentor! They were genuinely keen to see us flourish on the night.

I went home, honed my set, rehearsed with a deodorant can for a mic and waited for Tuesday. I was so impressed by my other competitors that I was beginning to doubt myself but I was too excited to pull out. I couldn’t wait for Tuesday night.

After developing my successful jokes from Sunday, I had an incredible rehearsal on Tuesday evening, which received a great reception from the mentors and GB staff. I sat and waited for 7.45pm to arrive. It came; It was time for me to try my stand-up for real.

The room was filled with my friends and even my drama teachers popped along too. Return of the Mack blared from the speakers and then I began what felt like the quickest 5 minutes of my life. I was not just putting myself out on a limb by doing the routine but remembering that I actually fancied someone in the audience added more personal pressure. It was over in a tick and I loved it. I was so impressed by my fellow young comedians that I thought that this would be a close contest. I did not anticipate what happened next.

Karen Koren asked us to the stage and invited Jo Brand (guest judge) to announce the winner. Jo said Joe. This was one of those moments that I will remember forever. The room simultaneously erupted with applause but seemed to go quiet in my head as I could not believe what had just happened. Jo and the judges congratulated me and I had my photos taken in those traditional comedian poses.

I still feel on top of the world and can’t quite believe that it was me who won. I feel so honoured to have been chosen the winner of the first Class Clowns at Gilded Balloon. I will forever be thankful to the team there for helping me to become Scotland’s funniest teenager.

It was a close call however: Judith, Connor, Adam and Lois all did incredible jobs with their equally diverse styles of comedy. It’s been a pleasure to see you in your early days. I think we all have a future in comedy.

Now – what’s next for me? I’m still coming to terms with Tuesday night’s victory but I am returning to Gilded Balloon next year for the So You Think You’re Funny? heats. I might try this ‘n’ that, here ‘n’ there. Who knows?

This has been an incredible experience for me, I would say the exact same win or lose. It’s been a well-supported journey of laughter, underage drinking and medication (if you saw my set, the last two will make more sense!).

Thanks again Gilded Balloon and your incredible team for organising this magnificent event. Thanks to the judges for making me feel so amazing!