Sam Freeman

Theatre | Comedy | Marketing

Gig #6 – The Beech Inn, Chorlton

I’ve been inspired to write up some gig notes by Ste Price (click here for his excellent site) to evaluate the work I’ve been doing, how I’ve felt after gigs and where I need to develop.

Gig #6 was at The Beech Inn in Chorlton and was a really fun gig. I was slightly apprehensive when I arrived though. Just before Christmas I had performed my second Hot Water Comedy Club set using my original material developed on the course and, although moments were effective, I felt like I was giving a self help lecture rather than performing stand up. The opening of my set helped me talk to the audience and helped me improvise a bit to get my mind up to speed but the remainder of the material felt forced and, well, a little dishonest. It was all about growing older and while it does bother me, I didn’t really feel passionate about it and didn’t feel there was enough room to improvise around themes. I rewrote most of my set over Christmas, moving it towards more traditionally funny subjects (sex). A sense of structure is really important to me, I want each set I do to feel like a mini-Edinburgh set (how much of a pretentious prick am I!), so it had to develop logically rather than jump around, this also helps me remember what I’m doing and when and has helped me remember bits.

It was a small gig in the backroom of a pub and I was on first. I was slightly apprehensive about going on first – it always seems like a mixed blessing – on the downside the audience aren’t drunk enough, and aren’t warmed up so it can feel you have to put lots of energy into the room – on the upside it means that you don’t follow anyone vastly better than you (which takes a load of pressure off your shoulders) and means that, for me, a quite wordy act, they can keep up (i sound like such a prick right now).

So the set went well, I was strong with my opening (Clapping) and that helped me find pockets of the room and talk to people – I need to add more references to the audience later in the set to get a sense of callback more engrained in what I’m doing – great comperes do it and it endears the audience to them. The next bit (GF’s Exs & Insecurity) was ok, I pushed it further than I had while practicing but it wasn’t quite as eloquent as I was hoping for – my persona tends to use high brow words and I think I might have forgotten them all… The strongest moment was about the confidence of entering a bedroom comparison – it places me in a vulnerable position and physically works as a good moment, maybe needs work to pad out the movement into the room (at gig #7 I found talking to members of the audience, ideally butch males, as if they were my lover, tends to be very effective.) The ending was an idea I’ve been toying with a while and it didn’t quite work (as well as gig #7), where I make my set a disaster… People find it unnerving but went along with it, and I think, in combination with the clapping opening creates a rounded feel to the set.

I appreciate that reading this will mean very little to many people, these are more my notes than anything else – to help me analyse my act and make it good!

Gig #7 to follow soon!

2 Comments

  1. You did really well on the night, especially considering that this was only your sixth gig and it was all new material! You were really confident and comfortable when performing, and you got the audience involved. My friend, who was in the audience, was really surprised when he found out how few gigs you’d done.

    I wouldn’t worry about sounding too pretentious in your ambitions (although it’s the sort of thing I would apologise for on my blog). It’s important to know what you want to achieve in order to move forward. Ultimately, with time and experience, you might find that the type of act you end up being is different to the one you aimed to be, but that’s all part of the journey.

    It’s notable that you had way more than 10 minutes of new material for this gig, which is quite a lot to get through in one go. It might be worth breaking it up into chunks (if you can – I know it’s more difficult when your set has more of a narrative), and trying different bits in isolation to see how they feel. It’s also useful sometimes to do a strictly timed set (5 or 10 mins) when you’ve got more material than that, and working out what stuff you’re going to drop. I’ve found that a really nice way of evaluating my material. I remember I had one gig where I was originally going to do 10 minutes but was asked last minute to do 5 – I immediately knew what I had to drop. It was strange, but very useful.

    Looking forward to reading about Gig #7!

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