A Day In The Life Of…Tiernan Douieb
Beginning today, a guest comedian will be writing an article for Giggle Beats every month entitled ‘A Day In The Life Of…’ This month’s feature is by stand-up Tiernan Douieb. Enjoy.
My day starts later than everyone else’s. During the obligatory monthly moan about the job with another comedian, I still lauded the fact that ‘I get to sleep in everyday’. It’s one reason it’s the best job ever. (It’s not the only reason.) I just can’t do mornings anymore even if I try. As a full time comedian, myself and the AM have become arch rivals. I once embraced the early hours much like a good friend, skipping arm-n-arm with it, sun-a-shining, birds-a-singing when heading to school or work. Until I got there that is. Actually being at school and work received a much less enthusiastic response.
However, now things are different. Morning has become like one of those friends you used to have lots of things in common with but over time you’ve moved on, yet they’ve stayed the same. Plus you’ve realised they are a massive twat and were all along. I very much agree with the term that morning has broken. Until it’s fixed I will happily sleep through it and begin the day at 10-11am. I do have a good excuse for this as my body clock is now irreversibly set to GMT+comedy. Most nights I don’t return from a gig until at least 2 or 3am and even when I’m not gigging habit insists I’m wide awake until then anyway. So up at 10am is perfectly reasonable, don’t judge me. At least that’s how I justify it to myself anyway.
You are never not working as a comic. Or at least never not feeling guilty about not working. I don’t miss my old 9-5, but back then weekends and evenings were your own, whereas now, every moment not spent actually gigging is spent writing, booking gigs or generally working on my career in some way (or, much more likely than any of those, finding new ways to procrastinate). Recently I have upgraded from banal procrastinations, like tidying, reading or Twitter, to making animals out of objects in my room and then putting the pictures of the creations on Twitter. Sigh.
To ensure I get some work done I write a daily blog, which I started at the end of 2008 and have written nearly every day since. Theoretically, this will start me writing and get my brain into gear for further work. What usually happens is that I’ll finish it, decide that’s enough work for one day and go back to building a horse out of pillows, a table and a light-saber.
I gig between 7 and 2 days a week, depending on the time of the year. January is always less busy, while Oct and Nov are relentless. January has the highest suicide rate of any month, I would arrogantly assert that these two facts are related and people should get out to more comedy that month. It would cheer them up, and also stop me living on post-Christmas scraps until February and staying indoors until I get rickets.
During the busy times my car becomes a second office, filled with gadgets to keep me entertained as well various crisp packets and empty Diet Coke bottles. I do quite a lot of miles per year and I’d hate to think what sort of carbon footprint I have. Like if Godzilla wore clown shoes, I assume.
Even though leaving later means I get more time at home, I always set off early if I can, to avoid rush hour mayhem. I really like driving but traffic is one of the few things in life that can make me actually angry. I’ve learnt to curb this by shouting my road rage insults to the tune of whatever’s playing on the radio. Trust me, expletives set to song is relatively inoffensive.
Music affects my driving without me realising and I’ve learnt to not have on my iPod Wu-Tang Clan or (worse) the theme from 24 in case I race through red lights shouting, ‘You’re gonna have to trust me’ out of the window.
I’m often the compere at gigs, which is something I’m trying to change. I really enjoy compering, and there is nothing more satisfying than getting a crowd laughing, with nothing but improvised banter. However, after years of doing it, and two solo shows in Edinburgh, I miss the enjoyment of structuring a set, and, on a far lazier level, being finished after 20-30 mins rather than working all night.
Gigging has got better and better the longer I’ve been going though. As an open spot I remember several comics advising me that experience was the best way to get better, how eventually you work out how to make bad gigs ok, ok gigs good and good gigs great. This was the best advice I’ve ever been given – far better than ‘fight fire with fire’ which just resulted in casualties and homelessness.
I’ve been a stand-up for 7 years now and full time for nearly 4. Gigging is still fun and I’m sure it will be for a long time to come. Not that I’d be able to do anything else. I can’t imagine handing my CV over to a potential employee and having to explain that the 4-year gap has been spent telling stag-dos they are a bunch of bell-ends.
Realistically, I wouldn’t want to do anything else. The comedy circuit is filled with fun people and the novelty that I earn a living from making people laugh for an evening is not going to wear off anytime soon. Besides, I get to sleep in everyday.
If you want to keep track of what Tiernan’s up to 24/7, you can visit his website here.