Is it OK to mess up? Try out something that doesn’t work? Experiment? In today’s manufactured world everything has to be polished, these days people demand perfection. But how do you get there if what you’re doing is new? Originality never came easy. Your man Van Gough wasn’t exactly a success while he was alive. The first series of the TV classic Only Fools and Horses fell right on it’s arse. Would Nirvana have been as big if Kurt had stayed around a bit longer? Ideas risk failure, that’s what makes it so exciting, and it’s also why so many of today’s comics spend much of their time on bland panel shows in-between knocking out DVD’s. No risk = no failure.
As a direct challenge to this kind of thing comedian Jo Enright has launched Rough Works, a new material night at the Glee Club in Birmingham. Experienced comedians can get a 10 minute spot trying out new ideas and new comics can catch a break at one of Britain’s top comedy venues. There is only one rule… be prepared to fail. And what a breath of fresh air failure is! To see comedians having fun, playing with ideas, messing with words, egging each other on. It’s such a laugh. I’ve seen the fabulous Barbara Nice make the whole audience play an impromptu game of musical statues, been wowed by new acts with new things to say like Christopher John Hall and had mega stars like Sarah Millican pop up on stage for a 10 minute spot. This may very well be the start of something big. Then again, it might also be a complete flop… but who cares, as long as it’s been a good laugh along the way. If ever you’re in Brum check out the Glee’s website to see if Rough Works is on, or keep your eye out for one of D4’s posters.