Sam Freeman

Storytelling | Theatre | Arts Marketing

50 Gigs In

It’s 10 past midnight and I can’t sleep. This I suspect may be for one of two reasons. The first is that I woke up at midday today and as a consequence my body thinks that it’s 9pm, the second is that it is from the adrenaline of doing my fifty third (I think) gig.

It doesn’t seem two minutes since I was standing next to Binty, peeking through the curtain at Hot Water and wondering whether, when I stepped onstage I would have made quite a grave error. In fact the first 50 gigs have seem to have come and gone so very quickly I genuinely wonder what has happened. I certainly never expected to be still doing standup, a year on.

My original intention was to do one gig, just one, for confidence. I’d had my confidence knocked as a performer a few years prior and had never quite recovered, if anything, I though, it’ll help with my presentation skills.

After ten gigs it felt like a hobby, a nice hobby, which involved evening jaunts to slightly crap yet strangely likeable Northern towns with 6 hour round trips. There were the gigs where I “smashed it” (one laugh from the audience constituted smashing it) (fuck it, who am I kidding, still does), and the ones which were “character building”. But a nice hobby nonetheless that meant I could hang out with nice people talking about comedy, form and structure, bitch about the entire world and compile lists of “dream line ups”. It was like Sex and the City, I was Carrie, relentlessly blogging about it all with a slightly long face.

Now after 50 it feels like a nice addiction, not one of the nasty ones with needles, teeth falling out and a need to ask for “27p mate” (very specific), but maybe an addiction to Dairy Milk Fruit & Nut (DMFNs – ask Adam Rowe) – where you keep having them but ultimately know it’ll lead to you putting on weight and in the long term diabetes and maybe death but fuck it you only live once.

The question is where next? I’ve just done my first paid gig and while I enjoyed it (although i had to leave early so missed the other acts which I was gutted about) I don’t know if this will change the dynamic for me, it felt more pressurised (or maybe it was me adding pressure on myself).

As for the gig, it was nice, a quite quiet audience (about 110 in I think), but lovely and listening nevertheless, the opening turned filthy very quickly which is a little unlike me (a horrendous orgy joke) and I tried to keep the audience interaction ticking over. I was, however, very conscious that I’m not really ready to open gigs – I wasn’t as calm and collected as I needed to be and sometimes didn’t react quick or well enough – also my material relies on people getting that introspective analysis of the material presented which can put people off and be a bit confusing and not as laugh heavy for non-comedians. I needed to mix my two sets which don’t really go together as one is storytelling and the other is unbridled filth – I think there’s a way to unify them but I didn’t find it tonight.

I have a lot to be grateful for to standup. It’s helped my confidence, not only onstage, but creatively too, it’s an outlet that means I can test ideas – it helps quash doubts about what I do, who I am and what I can do while creating a whole load more, mostly related to my funniness and the quality of British public transport.

Anyway, need sleep, just a quick update into my standup as I’m conscious I’ve become rather lax in reporting it all – back to playwrighting tomorrow, I have an idea for 3 shows (ideas are like buses) so will be making a start on those tomorrow hopefully and I’ll maybe blog about them if they turn into anything good.

Night all Xx

P.S. I set up a facebook page for myself – it’s for standup, writing and directing, but there’s a like button that you can please feel free to click (if you want) – I’ll update when I have gigs or shows on and probably put pictures I find funny there too. Also I set it up ages ago and noone joined so I look like a loner.

P.P.S I have a e-mailing list too which 2 people have joined. To be honest, it’s probably not worth the effort as I’ve never sent an e-mail out, but, y’know, channels to keep in touch.

P.P.P.S If you are a standup wondering how to do this sort of stuff then read my last blog post or drop me a comment and I can offer advice.