Home News STAND-UP RUNDOWN: Overcoming Anxiety In Comedy

STAND-UP RUNDOWN: Overcoming Anxiety In Comedy

British stand-up comedian Tom Davis discusses his battle with crippling anxiety, offers means of overcoming the disorder.

by Chuck king

DELRAY BEACH – British comedian Tom Davis doesn’t seem to fit the profile of a person who suffers from anxiety.

He’s a personable big man who makes a living performing in front of audiences. What does he have to be anxious about?

But anxiety, society is learning, can affect everyone – and Davis is no exception. His anxiety grew so bad that he stopped performing stand-up for more half a decade. Now he’s talking about the disorder, and some techniques he’s employing to overcome anxiety. Increased physical activity seems to help the most. Before going on stage he also reminds himself that people are there to see him, so he must be doing something right.

When Applause Break launched a few years back we were surprised by how many South Florida comedians battle some sort of anxiety. Hopefully Davis’ story proves beneficial.

Today’s Stand-Up spotlight also includes a quick feature on South Florida stand-up comedian Orlando Leyba, who’s currently appearing on America’s Got Talent. There are also a few reviews of Bert Kreischer’s new movie “The Machine,” which aren’t exactly glowing.

Now, let’s make Hump Day a funny day.


Comedian Tom Davis was scared off stand-up for six years with crippling anxiety

STAND-UP RUNDOWN:Larger than life at 6ft 7 inches, it’s hard to believe that anything would stop Tom Davis in his tracks.

Best known for playing Detective Inspector Sleet in Murder in Successville and the head of a working class family in sitcom King Gary, Tom has now revealed he was forced to give up performing for years because anxiety got the better of him.

“I stopped doing stand-up for about five or six years, questioning whether I was good enough, which wasn’t just an hour or so before the show, it would take over the whole day,” says the 44 year-old.

This Is Why the Hilarious Orlando Leyba Looks So Familiar


In February, Leyba was even on The Tonight ShowSTAND-UP RUNDOWN:, where he’s performed a number of times. His bit focused on Yellowstone, the Kevin Costner series and the actual National Park, which he recalled visiting for his friend’s wedding. A self-described “city guy,” he talked about seeing bison (“bougie cows”) and Old Faithful.

Leyba used the same material for his AGT Act.

The Machine review: Mark Hamill is the engine that makes this so-so comedy run

STAND-UP RUNDOWN:Shirtless, un-PC, and sporting the daddiest of dad bods, Bert Kreischer feels like the natural outcome of a Simpsons episode in which Homer Simpson, while drunk, shirtless, and screaming in public, accidentally becomes a popular stand-up comedian. While in college, Kreischer was the inspiration for the 2002 comedy National Lampoon’s Van Wilder, though he looks less like Ryan Reynolds and more like a cross between Home Improvement’s Tim and Al. Now playing a version of himself in The Machine, he finds himself in family therapy, where it turns out that a lifetime of comedy based on a party animal persona can be hell on the wife and kids when you live the gimmick.

‘The Machine’ Review: Bert Kreischer’s Action-Comedy Delivers Thrills But Lacks Laughs

STAND-UP RUNDOWN:I was first introduced to Bert Kreischer’s “Machine” bit during my Thanksgiving break in college. My friend poured shots of authentic Russian vodka and while we were lounging around, he decided to show me and another friend Kreischer’s bit. I’d always been fond of stand-up comedy, but Kreischer’s way of telling stories and making me laugh was really something special. The next day I watched the two specials Kreischer had out on Netflix and I very quickly became a fan of his. For those unfamiliar with the legend of The Machine, the story is that Kreischer partied hard alongside the Russian mafia while he was an exchange student, which resulted in him robbing a train with a gang of mobsters.

Bert Kreischer’s Drunken Anecdote The Machine Stumbles as a Film

STAND-UP RUNDOWN:Bert Kreischer’s shirtless stand-up comedy stylings do not translate into a laugh-out-loud feature film in Peter Atencio’s clumsy and clunky The Machine. Writers Kevin Biegel and Scotty Landes adapt Kreischer’s unbelievable viral story about robbing a train with Russian mobsters into a retrospective on the comedian’s tumultuous history with excess—a tonal misfire of fantastical absurdity clashing against emotional confessions. Kreischer’s larger-than-life international anecdote becomes an introspective crisis as the storyteller wrestles with Family Man Bert and Bert The Machine, which lands with weaker authenticity than Kreischer’s podcast conversations or his Netflix self-help show The Cabin. That’s less a knock on Kreischer’s commitment and more about Atencio’s struggles to control this gruelingly overlong, almost two-hour battle between an outlandish anti-action-hero journey and Kreischer’s put-to-screen demons.

The Machine review – standup comedian makes for limp movie star

STAND-UP RUNDOWN:If you’re going to put a standup comedian into a big, climactic fight scene, it better be really funny. That’s just one of many rules you may not realize were in place before watching The Machine, a feature-length extension of standup comedian Bert Kreischer’s most famous routine. It’s a story about how the former Florida State University frat boy and prolific partier took a college trip to Russia, where he bumbled into confidence with the Russian mob and wound up helping some gangsters rob a train. It sounds enough like a set piece from an early-2000s studio comedy that the impulse to make a long-form version makes sense – at least on paper.



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