So here I am again, writing up a gig, and my good performance average has gone up from 16% to 28%. Yes, nearly one third of the time I don’t die onstage in a long and lingering silence.
Gig #7 was at my comedy home (or the place I did my first gig), Hot Water Comedy Club in Liverpool. Some comedians I’ve spoken to have found it one of the tougher venues, and granted the audiences can be brutal and heavy drinkers at time, but I love the atmosphere that they get and even if the audiences are brutal they still come up to you after the gig, shake your hand and thank you, which you don’t get in many places, including Preston.
I was a little ill coming into the gig, and, 10mins before I was on felt properly faint and sick, not nerves this time, just faint. Anyway, Binty’s crisps (thank you Binty!) and the Mars Bar in my bag and lots of water got me over it and I went onto stage at about 70% my usual energy.
It was the second time out with my new material and it worked similarly to Gig #6, the clapping opening was okay, I perhaps rushed it a little and didn’t spend as much time as I’d have liked dicking around and pretending that they’d ruined it for everyone by forcing me not to start my set. I had a moment of panic where I fell off the stage and for a split second thought I may land head first in the condiment tray in front of me. Luckily I regained my balance and continued. I was shouting at some members of the audience, accusing them of being rubbish clappers and bad members of society, I was faced with the choice, go san-mic into the audience and make an example of them, or return to the relative safety of the stage. I chose the second option that I regretted – I would have loved to push it further to see what happened. I was also slightly undermined in assigning sexual practice to types of clappers because I’d been watching the show and slap bang in the middle of the section I usually label as “naieve, insecure and nervous lovers” was a woman who claimed to be a dominatrix… I played with that a bit to limited success and reminded myself that I need a bit of flexibility in my ideas and maybe should have moved my groups around the room a bit..
My second section, or ‘The bit about my sexual insecurity bit’ as I have now named it, is showing promise but isn’t quite there, a great comedian suggested it’s missing a step for the confidence section, I do my two sections a little too quickly and more emphasis is needed. I managed to choose members of the audience to play this to which seemed to help, maintaining the connection with the audience is so important to stop them from relaxing and going into automatic/turning off. I also added the idea of an “ex-librarian with benefits”, not sure where that came from but it got a laugh and will be staying.
I also need to pause occasionally for laughs. At the moment I plough through my set at hyperspeed and I like that, but maybe a moment for getting my breath neatly timed after a punchline would be good. I think I rushed because I wanted my set to be 10 mins, I suspect it was closer to 13/14 min, not too bad considering when rehearsing (admittedly to my lampshade in my room) it tends to top out at 24 mins…
The “eating out” section I developed further into gross out territory, initially the 3rd part of the three course meal I’d glossed over, but by really exaggerating it i think it helped build up the foulness of what I was saying – also I really enjoy pointing out the structure of the joke (perhaps a little too much), but I found myself trying to say those bits to the back of the room (where other comedians sit) and the sexual odd bits to the front of the room.
The ending, a development of what I did in gig #6, claiming I’d ruined the gig by failing to have a punchline is my favourite bit. I have to admit I feel like an arrogant prick, standing there, telling them what to do, that clapping isn’t permitted before orchestrating my own exit, but both times it’s worked surprisingly well and puts a different (and hopefully memorable) dynamic onto the end of the performance.
Biggest thrill of the night was a member of the audience coming up at the interval to shake my hand and telling me I was good – that was a great feeling.
I was really happy with this show and can’t wait for my next one – which was due to be Mon at Beat the Frog in Manchester – unfortunately I’d been hit by Louise’s illness in full force and was sent home from work. So on the trail of more gigs now, I need experience, 7 gigs is still a pitiful amount, but I want to be doing 10 – 15 min slots rather than gong shows as my material and stage persona don’t work in those formats.
That’s all for now, other than to say I’ve just built myself a new desk which is motivating me to write this and thank you to all the comedians who were performing on Sunday, genuinely the nicest bunch of people around – supportive, constructive and funny people – can’t wait for my next gig (if you’re reading this and want to offer me one then please do!).
p.s. as always this blog is for my personal record only, so it may be pretty incomprehensible, but I want to write stuff down to ensure I’m progressing and learning from my vast numbers of mistakes.