The Art of Self-Deprecation
james loveridge

Stand-up James Loveridge talks seeing the funny side in your own weaknesses and mistakes, and how not taking yourself too seriously makes life all the sunnier

When I was 10 I once went with my Mum whilst she was getting a haircut at a fancy new hairdressers in town, something she’d been looking forward to for some time, I later found out. Despite being a loud child I was prone to bouts of shyness when around new people and this place was no exception.

Everyone seemed so loud and confident that when I needed to go to the toilet I was too shy to ask anyone and my Mum was having her hair washed so I didn’t want to bother her. After 10 minutes my fear and bladder got the best of me and I ended up wetting myself in the middle of the salon.

I thought the whole incident had gone unnoticed until seconds later a hairdresser walked past me and slipped over and landed in my shame puddle. Everyone froze to see what had happened until the woman shouted, “Is this… piss?” and I cried and ran out of the salon. My Mum ran out to get me and once she got me, just kept running. We never went back, instead we drove home in silence, both my Mum’s head and my crotch soaking wet.

Now you might wonder why I’d share such an embarrassing memory, to open myself up to being called ‘Pissy-Pants-Loveridge’ again (dads can be so cruel), but in reality, that moment is now mine. I own it, I put it in print and there’s a chance a few people smiled when they read it, which to me is a win.

Life is a series of embarrassing memories and poor decisions but the ability to laugh at oneself is not only disarming but also therapeutic.

As a comedian, self-deprecation is twofold; not only do we benefit from using embarrassing stories to fuel our material, but we also turn ammunition that could be used against us into ammunition of our own.

For instance, this year my show contains a memory involving sand, that I’d suppressed for two decades, that is so cringe worthy that I genuinely felt sick when I remembered it but in an effort to turn it into a positive I’m going to share it and have people laugh at it (and me) for a month.

Do you have an embarrassing memory that still haunts you? Well this is your chance to own it. Come down to The Hanover Tap at 8:45pm in August and share it with me and a room full of strangers. If you don’t feel better afterwards, I’ll refund your ticket.

American inventor Douglas Engelbart once said, “The rate at which a person can mature is directly proportional to the embarrassment he can tolerate.”

Which is true; however, considering Douglas was a pioneer in the early stages of the internet, I don’t think he considered how his work would ultimately limit his own philosophy.

I’m all for sharing but I doubt there’s a person on this planet mature enough to tolerate the embarrassment they’d feel if their internet browser history were made public. Some things just need to stay buried!

James Loveridge – Castles in the Sand, Laughing Horse @ The Hanover Tap, 20:45 (21:35) 4th – 27th (Not 15), tickets