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S2E3:
Chelsea Birkby

Originally not aired on ??/??/????

Once I finish writing this podcast, things are gonna be good for me.

 

That’ll be one more to add to the collection of podcasts I’ve done. One more that will help me get to the next level; one more that increases my reach on social media; one more that develops my brand. I’m really starting to build up a nice portfolio for myself, aren’t I? Eventually I should be able to get famous people on this show, like Graham Norton for example. I’ll be on the Graham Norton Show; he’ll be on my show. Stuff like that. Proper big time.

 

It’s the same with my stand-up. Sure, right now I’m playing small, sweaty rooms to small, sweaty people. But if I keep smashing it, soon I’ll be playing big, well-ventilated rooms to big, well-ventilated people. It’s all gonna happen in the future, and I’m excited about it.

 

“What’s next for you then, Chelsea?” Was my opening question on today’s episode of everyone’s favourite legitimate podcast, Comedians In Edinburgh Getting Chai Lattes.

 

“Well, I’m probably gonna flyer for my show after this and then—“

 

“No, I mean: what’s NEXT? Like where do you see your career going after this?”

 

I stared at her very intensely after saying this. I guess I wanted to see the stars in her eyes. The dreams she has. The life-story she’s given herself that helps her get out of bed in the morning.

 

“Oh, like I’ll probably book in some more spots when I get back and just take it as it comes, really.”

 

“You’re not getting it, mate,” I said to the 28-year-old from Oxford (I’m bad at slipping in details about the guests in the show). “What will you be doing in a year’s time, two years’ time, 5 years’ time – where’s it all going?”

 

This is where, for the first time, the interview got interesting. It turns out that before Chelsea ventured into stand-up comedy, she had another dream, arguably one more pathetic than telling jokes to strangers in dingy pubs.

 

“Eric, this is something I don’t like to talk about a lot, but I used to be a plate spinner in the circus,” she told me.

 

“Okay… What has this got to do with anything?” I asked, because I wasn’t quite sure what it had to do with anything.

 

“Well, ever since I was a kid it was my dream to be the most famous plate spinner in the world. I tried and tried, trained every day, and in the end I just felt like a failure.”

“What happened?” I asked.

 

“To put it bluntly, Eric,” she said, “the plates kept smashing.”

 

“Oh, that’s not good.”

 

“And now I realise, the reason it was so difficult was because the whole time I was spinning an extra plate, called ‘Expectation’.”

 

“Why were you naming your plates?”

 

“No, it’s like a metaphor,” she explained.

 

“Oh.”

I didn’t understand what she meant at first, and I know the vast majority of my readers haven’t studied English, or indeed have any formal education at all, so I think it’s best I clarify here. I think what Chelsea is trying to say through her overly complex metaphor is that the pressure she put on herself to be successful actually undermined her ability to do the thing she wanted to do.

 

“Spot on,” Chelsea confirmed, looking over at my laptop to see what I was writing.

 

“So now,” she continued, “I just take everything as it comes. Focus on the thing I’m doing right now, it’s much more fun, and the opposite approach just drives you crazy.”

 

It’s a message I need to bear in mind. I think I’ve been getting carried away with my future, and I’ve neglected the present. All I should be doing is making each episode I write and each stand-up set I perform as strong as possible, then see where it goes.

 

When I get Graham Norton on, I’m gonna ask him what he thinks.

See you next time! x