By JEREMY TEO
It all started with a phone call inviting me to be a part of A Christmas Roast of Kavin Jay.
Initially, I was excited because I thought it was an invite to a turkey dinner that was being held in honour of my radio co-host.
But after asking about whether or not I needed to contribute drinks or maybe bring some pasta, it was explained to me that this wasn’t a traditional roast.
It was a comedy roast.
And I would be doing it with actual professional comedians.
A roast is an event where a guest of honour (in this case, Kavin Jay) is subjected to jokes made at their expense.
Basically, it’s a passport to make fun of a friend. Except it would be held in front of a live audience that bought tickets and expected to be entertained.
Now, aside from watching the occasional stand-up gig, I have zero experience with comedy. I am also pretty sure that horrendously bad puns do not count towards my comedy cred.
Almost instantly, I wanted to turn down the offer. What if I fell flat on stage? What if instead of laughing at my jokes, the audience started laughing at ME? There were a million reasons why this was a bad idea.
But I agreed to do it.
It wasn’t just because I didn’t want to give in to my fears; I also knew that if I managed to pull this off, I would be extremely proud of myself. And more importantly, I needed a story to tell for this column.
The thing about doing something new is that you’re almost guaranteed to be taken out of your comfort zone. At home or with your friends, your failures are just a story to laugh about.
With the threat of public embarrassment looming? It becomes mortifying.
With the roast coming up in a few weeks, I had to prepare. One does not simply walk on stage to do stand-up comedy without any idea of what he’s going to do. So I turned to Kavin Jay for help.
It was an easy choice to make. Not only was he the guy that we were roasting, he’s also one of the best stand-up comedians I know. I was pretty sure that he would be able to give me advice that would set me on my path to roasting excellence.
The result were gems like: “Just be yourself”
“Do what you always do when you make fun of me”
“You’ll be fine lah. We wouldn’t ask you to do it if you couldn’t handle it”.
Obviously, he wasn’t very helpful.
I needed actual practical help. So I did what anybody who needed info would do – I googled videos of celebrities getting roasted, which led me to spend way too much time watching videos for “research”.
But it wasn’t completely for nothing, because I learnt that even though roasts can feel mean-spirited, it is also about honouring an individual.
After all, if the person getting roasted were unpopular, nobody would organise one for him/her.
So I knuckled down and thought about what Kavin was all about. His marriage, hobbies and work were all aspects that could be ‘honoured’, and I didn’t worry too much about hurting his feelings because I knew he would be a good sport about things.
Then the night of the roast arrived.
I was a bundle of nerves as I waited for my turn to go on stage. To paraphrase Eminem, my palms were sweaty and if I could, I probably would have puked spaghetti all over myself. And before I knew it, it was time.
The experience itself was surreal. I don’t really remember how it went down, but it didn’t turn out so bad. I told some jokes about my friend and people laughed.
And yes, I just did what I always do when I make fun of him.
Most importantly, I felt proud of myself for trying something new.
Jeremy is an expert at being a noob. Is there something new you want him to try? Let us know at email@example.com, or tweet us @thestar_rage.