Tonight I stood on stage in front
Of a thousand, and they laughed
For me. The cameras ran.
I celebrated the greatest triumph of my career,
A television host shook my hand.
Now I am sat in a Chinese restaurant
With my notebook open before me.
The restaurant is quiet, aside
From an old man drinking soup and
Soya sauce crossing my plate.
Somehow a bad comedy evening is
Easier to bear than a poetry one;
At least you can get drunk.
Poets are so much nicer,
At times they grab each other’s shoulders
Out of pure delight.
Comedy is rougher – it takes all sorts
And has strong elements of a brawl,
Its agents are like boxing promoters
Talking their guys up.
And yet despite this roughness and
Poetry’s exquisite charm,
In the belief it makes a difference
I choose comedy.
After the show
There is always one act of comedy
Who doesn’t do so well,
The gentle kid or one-time champ
Who is beginning to coast. The consolation is –
Nothing. All the faces know it,
And the only remaining option’s to be funny while you drink.