Some experiences and advice from ex-members of the Comedy Society
Experiences since leaving: In the summer I went to Edinburgh to do a three-hander with my friends Kat Sadler (former Warwick Comedy legend) and Joe Bowley (former Warwick Comedy member). Since then, I’ve just been gigging and half-heartedly looking for jobs. My life is quite boring. I read to try and entertain myself, but I’ve been reading this book by Yanis Varoufakis about the Greek financial crisis and it’s like 500 pages and it’s so boring mate. It’s just a like a dry account of all the meetings he went to as finance minister. Don’t read it, honestly mate.
I joined comedy society because I was lonely and wanted to meet people and do something creative. I’ve always thought comedians are the coolest people in the world, and the opportunity to start performing stand up with the comedy society really excited me.
There are so many great memories with comedy society. I’d say in the top 10 memories of my life, 9 of them involve comedy – the other is the first time I watched Click, starring Adam Sandler. Absolutely fantastic film. One that stands out is when I was in the semi-final of Chortle. It was in London and so many people from comedy society came to support. It was ridiculous. I felt very lucky to have so many great friends.
Advice for new members: I’d say just don’t be nervous about stuff. If you wanna perform, just throw yourself into it because it’s so rewarding. Also, at first you’ll notice there’re loads of inside jokes. If you don’t get why LT Smash is a funny nickname, don’t worry about. Be patient. You’ll get in a few weeks and it’ll be hilarious mate. My final piece of advice is, whatever you do, don’t read Adults in the Room by Yanis Varoufakis. I can’t emphasise that enough.
Comedy plans for the future: I’m just gonna keep gigging. It’s sick.
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Since graduating, I have started writing and illustrating a humour blog (www.joannesarginson.com) which is mostly about my unsuccessful attempts to operate as a fully-functioning adult.
When I graduated and left the Comedy Society, I wanted to make sure that I was still writing comedy regularly and thought that starting a blog would be a good way keep practicing. I decided I wanted to add a visual element to my posts – I’m terrible at taking photos and am slightly less crap at drawing so I decided to illustrate the blog.
My advice for anyone wanting to get into blogging is to take full advantage of social media networks. Last year, I started posting my cartoons on Instagram which was a great way to increase my audience. I’ve also been approached by various media websites and magazines through social media channels and was featured in The Metro after they saw one of my blog posts on Twitter.
I was already writing comedy before I came to Warwick but being part of the Comedy Society gave me the confidence to start performing it. I was part of the Warwick Revue’s first Edinburgh Fringe run and I also did my first stand-up gig at Warwick. I’ve carried on performing since graduating by doing comedy improvisation workshops and performing stand-up whenever I actually manage to grow a pair and get up on stage. In my final year, I was the secretary of the society and this made me sound very organised and professional whenever I mentioned it in interviews.
Favourite society memory? Definitely our Edinburgh Fringe run in 2014. This was something I never imagined I’d do when I first started uni and I learned so much.
Since graduating from Warwick (and the Warwick Comedy Society) I now work as a Comedy Publicist working with various acts across their live shows, Edinburgh Fringe runs, and TV shows. Being part of the society during uni was invaluable experience as it gave me great background knowledge of the industry and good exposure to working in live comedy.
My favourite Comedy Soc memory would be getting horrifically drunk with the gang at the Dirty Duck after our second (and worst) show. I have a strange fondness for the show which has since gone down in history as the absolute car crash that it was. Either that many diabolical and glorious failed board game nights which we did for a while as Comedy Soc socials. We never completed a single game.
I did my first stand-up gig at an open mic night on campus when I was a first year at Warwick. A comedian called Kate Smurthwaite came to do a comedy writing workshop and put on this gig in the evening. It came as a bit of an epiphany for me and I quickly became obsessed. I joined the Warwick Comedy Society (I soon became the Performance Officer), where I did loads of stand-up and sketch comedy, and made some of my best friends. The gigs you do at university are always really friendly and supportive, and they’re the perfect environment in which to give comedy a try for the first time.
Since leaving Warwick I’ve done three consecutive full runs of shows at the Edinburgh Fringe and I’m currently writing my debut hour of stand-up and character comedy for 2018. My advice to anyone wanting to do stand-up would be to gig loads, experiment on stage all the time and try to do the things that you’d find really funny to watch.
My favourite society memory would probably be a fairly disastrous show we did in my second year. We were booked to do a sketch show in the SU Atrium, which is a huge, loud room, and the microphones we were given didn’t work. Nobody could hear anything we were saying and the show went terribly, but we all went to the pub after and had a really fun night bonding over how badly things had gone.
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