Aisling Bea reveals her top stand-up tips for Red Nose Day appeal

Lizzie Edmonds
Smile: Aisling Bea with her red noses: Alex Lentati

Aisling Bea has revealed her top tip for stand-up — “lose the filters”.

The 8 Out of 10 Cats star said the world of social media makes us try to look “as nice as possible” — but comedy is about stripping it all away and having no inhibitions.

The comedian, who shot to fame after winning the So You Think You’re Funny award at the Edinburgh Fringe four years ago, said: “Don’t be afraid to look silly, you are only holding yourself back if you are afraid of looking silly or failing.

“In this modern world where we have filters to make us look as nice as possible it’s good to take off the filter and go, ‘I could look stupid here.’ You’ll learn something and be better for it.

Fundraising: Aisling Bea is throwing her support behind Red Nose Day (Alex Lentati)

“People who succeed in my job are people who are not afraid to look silly. And you are looking silly for a very good cause. It might open up your personality, or make people at work see you in a different light. Go for it.”

Other tips included keeping eye contact with an audience: “You can’t foster confidence if you don’t have it. These are tricks to fake confidence.”

Bea, 32, insisted that just because she is a professional stand-up it doesn’t mean her sets have never gone wrong. “Once it becomes your profession it doesn’t mean you are good at it forever. You just get better at dealing with the failure,” she said. “I have had jokes that have bombed. Every stand-up comic dies [on stage] once a month ... or every two months.”

The Irish star, pictured, a regular on Never Mind The Buzzcocks, urged Londoners to “face the nation’s biggest fear and tell a joke in public” this Red Nose Day. She said the capital must step up to the challenge and host a jokeathon or a sponsored stand-up in the workplace or at home as part of our Evening Stand Up campaign.

“It seems to be people’s greatest fear, speaking in public. Jerry Seinfeld has a gag about people’s biggest fear being death followed by speaking in public.So I’d say challenge yourself. Do a joke, do the worst joke you can possibly think of. Even the worst comedy lightens the mood. I would call on Londoners to face the nation’s greatest fear and tell a joke in public.

“Make a rule that everyone has to clap and laugh even if it’s dire. A joke-athon is a great way of getting your dad jokes out of your system. A great opportunity, if you like being funny in front of your friends.”

This year the Standard has again partnered with Comic Relief, which in recent years has donated £5 million to our Dispossessed Fund helping London’s most vulnerable people.Bea said that with the world becoming more “isolationist ... we can help each other by giving outwards.

“We can help others by doing things that do not necessarily help us. When you see people getting involved in Comic Relief, especially in tough times or times of recession, that’s very positive.[Comic Relief’s funds] help people that are not immediately involved in our lives, which is better for us as a society.”

To order your free fundraising pack, please log on to rednoseday.com.


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