It was 19:50 on a Thursday evening and my friends and I were walking to see the storytelling show called SH#T HAPPENS at Stenkrossen in Lund. The event was hosted by The Melting Pot, an English stand-up club in Lund.
When we reached the venue, the MC of the evening, Rob Allen, met us at the door with an apologetic glimpse. ”I’m sorry guys, it’s sold out!” There was only one seat left, and my friends insisted that I should not miss out and go watch it without them. We said goodbye, and I took a seat in the small venue next to a crowd of around 50 people.
Rob Allen welcomed us and introduced the concept of the evening. He explained that a diverse set of comedians were going to tell us their most embarrassing stories. But before we greeted the five storytellers, Rob wanted us to think about awkward incidents that might have happened to us and tune in to that feeling of humility and recognition.
The first storyteller of the evening was Loren Mayshark. His embarrassing story was about him and his friends getting too intoxicated on a wedding night. ”After I’ve been in a church, I always feel the need to get really fucked up.” Although I felt that Loren’s delivery was missing a red thread, he gave several memorable one-liners. ”I have that type of friend that doesn’t even like to be called an atheist because it has the word ”-theist,” which still signals some sort of belief.”
Next up was Joel Alexander Andersson. He also had an embarrassing drunk story, but his managed to involve a failed suicide attempt (jumping from one meter) and accidentally wearing a Nazi shirt when flirting with a black girl. Joel also had several poignant one-liners, but his delivery was also missing a comedic red thread that I was expecting.
The third storyteller of the evening was Elvira Gullberg, also known as ”prostate girl”, in her medical student environment. She began her story with ”I look like Alice from The Wonderland, and we all know that she liked to experiment with holes.” This statement set the tone for the rest of the tale. Elvira’s story was about a failed tinder date, and the climax of the anecdote (or lack of climax), was so embarrassing that she had to sing it with the help of her ukulele. Elvira’s delivery had the perfect balance between being unapologetic yet awkward.
After the intermission, it was Birk M Anderson’s turn to disclose his embarrassing stories. Birk’s persona embraced the awkward guy you couldn’t help but to like. He read some Haiku poems he had written about real-life experiences and told us, ”If you have low expectations, this might be funny.”
Last up was Tomas Kaminski, and I believe he stole the show. 14-year-old awkward Tomas had heard a rumor that his older 18-year-old brother’s nickname was that of an Italian pornstar. When he then accidentally walked in on his brother having sex, he fully comprehended why. Riddled with the same teenage angst and insecurity, Tomas had to continue his 14-year-old life, knowing he lived in the same house as the Italian Stallion, Rocco Siffredi.
When the show was done, and the applause filled the room, a sense of admiration flowed through me. Sure, I was expecting more classic comedy from the event, a suspenseful build-up with a can’t breathe punch line. Yet, I appreciated the storytelling twist of the comedic evening. Our embarrassing stories can either become poisonous or nourishing. It all depends on if we are willing to share the shame and isolation we felt when we messed up and let our laughter heal our wounds. I admire those who not only dare to share these stories with loved ones but also with strangers. Marcel Duchamp has a quote saying, “Not everyone is an artist, but everyone is a fucking critic”. And these storytellers, they chose to be artists.