Under pressure

High expectations: burden or spur?

Last week, I nipped over to Budapest with comic genius Alex Teubner to do a slapstick-meets-standup gig at the Hungarian capital's newest comedy venue. It was a fairly casual affair - we thought - and we agreed to do it "just for fun".

It turned out, however, that the local organiser Kinga had done an excellent PR job, and expectations were running high. Imagine my surprise when we step off the plane and see my ugly mug staring at us from the masthead of one of the city papers. Gulp! (Side note: Alex is far prettier - if rather hairy - but he doesn't have my excellent photography. There's a free PR lesson right there...)

Now, even if this wasn't the biggest newspaper in town, that sort of thing can be a lot of pressure for a performer. We certainly felt it as such.

We didn't panic, thank goodness. Well, we only panicked as far as the next bar. And although it would be tempting to tell you that the prominent publicity filled us with a steely resolve and cool professionalism, that would be an exaggeration. Instead, I personally felt that, since we had been labelled as stars we had better earn the moniker.

The result? We rehearsed perhaps a little more than we would have otherwise. Not much, but some. I certainly sweated some more. And I think we got extra-specially focussed on giving our best, as these pics show....

Before and after:
As it turns out, the show was a bit of a hit. Now some of that will be the result of our talent, our material, and our, erm, natural good looks and charm. A lot of it can be chalked up to the excellent local team. But a little bit, I think, can be directly ascribed to super-savvy Kinga (who had never seen us perform) telling the whole world "Dang, these two are good!"

I've written about star performers before, here. Such people always need the freedom to give their best.

And for some of them, sometimes, pumping public expectations can push them just that little bit further towards a true star performance. So tell the world about your stars, folks.

(PS 03.jun.07 - There's an image video with bits of the gig here.)

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