We’re all selfish idiots.

The Sydney Comedy Festival is on right now, and I don’t think I’ve said anything that isn’t somehow a plug for my stand-up show in the last two weeks. Every tweet is a plug. Every Facebook post has a show link. We just had Mother’s Day and I bought my mum a ticket (Just one, Dad can buy his own).

Amid all this self centred-ness, I’ve got to try and remember to be a good and normal person. I asked myself the other day, “Have you done any good deeds lately?” And I couldn’t think of one. So this week, I set out to do a good deed for a stranger. Which made me wonder something else:

Do you ever do a good deed when nobody’s around to see it, and you kinda think – that was a waste of a good deed?

If I’m on the street and a charity guy asks me for $2 for the Childrens’ Hospital, and I’m with a friend, I’ll give $2. I might even make it $5. And my friend will say, “That was a good deed you just did, Cameron,” and I’ll say, “Children are the future.” And we’ll all agree I’m great.

Do you ever do a good deed when nobody’s around to see it, and you kinda think – that was a waste of a good deed?

If that same guy approaches me when I’m alone? He’ll get a very different response from me. Usually it’s eyes straight ahead, pretending I can’t hear him. Sometimes I hiss like a cobra, and scare him off. On one occasion I started my own charity that raises money to give kids diseases. And he said, “But children are the future,” and I said, “Let’s make them history!” And I lit up a cigarette and skateboarded away from him.

I had no audience for this week’s good deed. I found a man’s wallet in the back of a taxi. It was one of those ones with a money clip in the middle so you can show off the full extent of your cash every time you buy a Coke. It was actually a really cool wallet. And it was full of money! So I took the wallet. I didn’t steal it, I just took it before someone else could steal it. Then I contacted the guy whose wallet it was on Facebook, and he came and picked it up from my house. How’s that for a good deed?!

He was so grateful that I hadn’t just stolen his money. He even offered me a $50 reward for doing the right thing, which of course, I turned down. Because I realised something important: the real reward is bragging to all of you reading this that I turned down a reward. That’s worth way more than a measly 50 bucks. I hiss at 50 bucks. What I want is the creative elite of Sydney to think of me as a martyr.

Also, I gave him a flyer for my Comedy Festival show. Everyone’s a potential customer! Never stop hustling! Only the selfish survive!

Cameron James is a stand-up comedian. You can follow him on Twitter at @iamcameronjames, or in the streets.

What’s funny this week?

We are deep into Sydney Comedy Festival, and this week I’ve picked out some of the best shows you can see:

Cameron James – ’88
Factory Theatre, Thursday May 18 and Saturday May 20 – Sunday May 21, 9:30pm (8:30pm Sunday)
Yes, this is shameless. I’m owning that. I’ve toured this show all around the country, and I’m bringing it home for three nights only. Come hang with me.

Becky Lucas – Little Bitch
Enmore Theatre, Wednesday May 17 – Sunday May 21, 8:15pm (7:15pm Sunday)
Becky is my favourite comedian in the country. She’s an absolute natural onstage, with the hardest hitting jokes and an unparalleled point of view. This show will sell out.

Tom Cashman – Good
Factory Theatre, Wednesday May 17 – Sunday May 21, 8:15pm (7:15pm Sunday)
Tom is one of Sydney’s great up and coming comedians. This is his first ever show, and after doing a month in Melbourne as part of the Comedy Festival’s hand-picked Comedy Zone showcase, he’s match fit.

Guy Montgomery – Let’s All Get In A Room Together
Factory Theatre, Wednesday May 17 – Sunday May 21, 8:15pm (7:15pm Sunday)
Guy has a podcast called The Worst Idea Of All Time, where he and his co-host Tim Batt watch the same film every week for a year, and review it. If an unflagging commitment to silliness and effortless charm is your thing, you’ll love Guy.

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