Cover of Dungeon of Dread

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Dear Nick,

What you are about to do is not important.

It may feel like a nerve-wracking ordeal devised especially to torment you, but it isn’t. Your every waking moment might be filled with the dread of imminently having to stand on a stage whilst people watch you and laugh at you. Or, even worse, watch you and not laugh at you. But, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that important.

It is five minutes. In the middle of other people doing their five minutes. Even if it all goes horribly wrong, if the only reactions from the audience are yawns, gasps of horror, or wheezes of despair, it’s not that important.

You won’t be ruining anyone’s life. You probably won’t even be ruining anyone’s evening as there will be lots of other comedy to watch. To you, this is an experience that can consume your every waking moment. To the audience, you’re a brief distraction from the problems in their lives and their own ever-present dread of mortality.

So, relax. Take it easy. I’d suggest that you take a chill pill if it didn’t sound highly illegal, and exactly the sort of thing that caused all that trouble for that nice Dr Shipman.

Relax. Drink the experience in. You don’t get to spend much of your life being silly in front of people. Even if they don’t like it, so what? It’s not like they don’t like you. Unless they do.

And, even then, so what? What does it signify, at the end of the day? That you and some other people met for five minutes, discussed some ideas, and didn’t come to any mutually satisfying conclusions.

Relax. It’s not that important. No one’s life depends on it.

Except in your case, of course, as you’re doing it for charity. The fundees of the Comic Relief charities are directly dependent on your success for life-saving treatments, in some cases.

So don’t relax too much.

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