To be or not to be Jack Dee

9 08 2011

I’m a funny person. I know this because my friends tell me so and because people I meet when I speak at a variety of events tell me so.

It’s not the “an Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman walk into a pub and the barman says, Is this a joke?” kind of funny but I do have the knack of seeing the absurd in most situations and coming up with witty one liners.  So when Lynne Parker, founder of Funny Women, suggested that the3rdimagazine should host a comedy challenge in Scotland naturally I was up for it.

The essence of the event is that six businesswomen are trained by Lynne and her team to help them prepare 3 minutes of  stand-up to be performed in front of an audience. I agreed to handle the logistics, specifically recruiting the six businesswomen, and since I wouldn’t ever ask anyone to do something I wasn’t prepared to do myself, I agreed to be one of the six.

How hard could it be? It’s just 3 minutes.

My laptop takes longer than 3 minutes to boot up in the morning. And I’m a child of the 70’s and I knew from the public service films of the time that you could unscrew all your doors and make a perfectly serviceable nuclear shelter well within the 4 minute warning you would get of the coming Armageddon, so I figured 3 minutes was about the time it would take to find a screwdriver.

But it is hard. I’m writing this as I sit on the train bound for Edinburgh and part two of the training workshop. Part one was fun and if you get the chance to go to a funny women workshop then grab it. It is much more about presenting yourself with confidence than it is about being rolling in the aisles funny. So even if you don’t fancy yourself as the next Jo Brand you’ll get loads out of it.

I’m writing this blog partly as a record of the day but mainly as a work avoidance tactic as I’m writing this rather than writing my stand up script.

Writing a 3 minute script – or “set” as we in the business call it – is hard. Much harder than I thought it would be. Try it. Thing of something that you feel strongly about and try to write a 3 minute presentation. Now make it interesting. Now make it larger than life. Now make it funny. Now say it out load. I guarantee that even if you thought it was funny in the first place then it will lose its appeal after 50 repetitions. I don’t know how the professionals do it. They tell the same jokes every night of a tour and still laugh at themselves. I’ve seen Eddie Izzard do his routine live in Glasgow, seen the video of him recorded in London where he does the same routine and heard him on the radio performing the same routine in some city in the north-east of England. And each time he laughed at the punchline.

I suppose Jack Dee is the exception. Maybe I could be Jack Dee. Maybe I will be Jack Dee.

You’ll just have to come along on Thursday to find out for yourself. In the meantime, since I’m already at Edinburgh Park, I’d better get back to my homework


The evening will help raise funds to help trafficked women in India. HIV/AIDS is growing across India and in the state of Karnataka in South India and in particular among ‘Devadasi’. They are young girls from poor Dalit families who are ‘dedicated’ to the goddess Yellamma and then used in the practice of socially and religiously sanctioned prostitution.

We would like to help make a difference in a small way by raising funds towards helping the Good Shepherd Healthcare team to establish a mobile health unit that will go out into the villages around the Yellamma temple and can offer good medical care and nutrition to those who are often too unwell to travel for help.

Hosting the show will be Scottish actress, comedienne, playwright, journalist and author Janey Godley!


Karen Birch is Managing Director at the3rdimagazine

“I’ve made presentations in front of hundreds of people at venues as diverse as The House of Lords and The Glasgow Concert Hall but the idea of stand up comedy takes me completely out of my comfort zone. But if I am to challenge other businesswomen to perform on the 11th August I have to be prepared to do so myself!”

Ruth Walker is Managing Director at Turquise Insight,

a consultancy specialising in helping organisations and individuals achieve successful progress and change through strategy development and mentoring. Ruth has a particular interest in the charity sector and in mentoring and coaching younger leaders. Ruth has been leading the project to raise awareness of, and much needed funds for, Good Shepherd Healthcare.

Jackie Cameron owns Cameron Consulting.

After a long career as a tax consultant Jackie wanted to “work with other people to make a difference” – which is still her mission. Jackie has coached clients from all types of organisations including business owners, directors, educational leaders, new managers and recent graduates.

Michelle Rodger is a former national newspaper journalist, a business founder and communications consultant.

Michelle is a keen supporter of young entrepreneurship initiatives across Scotland and writes a weekly column for Scotland on Sunday, focusing on the challenges and rewards of being an entrepreneur and issues affecting SMEs.

Pam Lyall is Director of Mediation Services at Core Solutions.

Core is Scotland’s leading provider of high quality independent mediation and facilitation services in the private and public sectors. They work throughout the UK and beyond, helping businesses, organisations and individuals find prompt, constructive and creative solutions to difficult problems or disputes.

Pat Elliott is an inspirational speaker.

Pam is also creator, designer and developer of web-enabled bio-medical software for stress compliance in organisations and stress management and prevention for individuals. Pat is also an author of many articles and books.

You can get involved and support our debut stand ups and help us to raise money for this great charity by coming along on the night.

Ticket price is just £20, which includes fun, a pizza and glass of wine!

In order to keep admin costs to an absolute minimum we wish to avoid the costs involved when booking on-line so we are asking that guests pay at the door on the night. We do, however, need to order enough pizzas :0) so please e-mail to book your place.



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