I’m only three episodes into vlogging and I have already realised how apologetic I’m being when I try to promote them. I had hoped that having the guts to upload those first videos would have allowed me to overcome the confidence barrier and just get on with it. I’m not so sure that’s happened.
The problem, in essence, is this: I’m trying to make you laugh – but I’m also worried that I might fail and so am trying to save face by acting as though that’s not my intention. It’s like if a person you have a crush on mentions they want to go see a new film that has just been released and you try and seize the opportunity to ask them out by saying ‘Well I was going to see it on Friday, I suppose you could tag along if, you know, you were free or whatever. But I can just go by myself, as that’s what I was going to do anyway, you know?’
Trying and failing to be funny is excruciating. Everybody knows this. During university I did stand-up comedy on occasion. I hasten to add that it wasn’t a dearth of good jokes that made me abandon it. Most of my gigs went swimmingly. One of them didn’t, and it’s painful when you’re on that stage, relaying a story which you think has great comic potential and getting very little response from the audience.
Vlogging is a bit like being a stand-up comic. In fact, that’s the reason I started doing it. For one reason or another I don’t really have the opportunity to do comedy where I live at the moment. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think up new routines. My colleagues in work have the unfortunate burden of being the test subjects for whatever observations, anecdotes, or analogies I think up during the day.
Just to sidetrack for a moment; being known as a bit of a comedian means you always get that awful scenario where, after having just uttered something hilarious off the top of your head, someone smugly asks ‘You’ve been waiting for an opportunity to use that one for months, haven’t you?’
Maybe that’s why I’m so desperate to get on a television panel show. People don’t often accuse panel show contestants of having prepared their jokes months in advance. Especially if it’s a satirical news show, about stories that only happened a few hours ago.
Anyway, back to the main issue. I suppose a more confident – and therefore, likely, successful – blogger or vlogger probably promotes their articles and videos along the lines of ‘Hey! You should check out this latest update, it’s really funny: you’ll love it!’
My promotional strategy is akin to that used by charity muggers: I have practised the phrase ‘Excuse me but do you have a minute to… Okay, no worries, thank you for your time, have a great day’ so that I don’t even have to wait for people to brush me off mid-pitch before trying to backtrack on my efforts.
So I’ve decided to just admit the problem, and then it’s not a secret. No point being embarrassed about saying something that has already been said. It’s like turning to a co-worker after a year in the office and saying to them: ‘Sarah, I have something to tell you: I work at this company’.
Rather like Alcoholics Anonymous, admitting the problem is halfway towards solving it. Not that I want to cure my desire to make people laugh. That’s an addiction that I want to be thoroughly enabled. I don’t want to find myself one day sitting in a circle of strangers at a comics’ self-help group, telling them how I went from ‘just trying to get a few giggles’ to ‘refusing to leave the library until at least one person bust a gut’.
But I will admit it, so here goes:
My blogs and vlogs – not to mention my books – are largely meant to be funny. My name is Rewan, and I want to make you laugh.