Sam Freeman

Storytelling | Theatre | Arts Marketing

Gig #19 – The Holly Bush, Dudley

I’ve not blogged for a couple of gigs and had no real intention of doing many more, however, after talking to a few comics at gigs who seem to read the shit I write on here I thought I’d continue. In a weird way I am taking pride from writing this pretentious drivel and knowing that in the north west (and Iran where I have a fan…) comedians brains are gradually turning to crappy slush. I’ve also become aware that I’ve been become a bit complacent and less nervous at gigs and not really analysing my performance, instead using that horror of a sentence, “it was the audience”. For reference it’s very rarely an audience comes to have a bad time, I’d suggest if they don’t enjoy it then it’s probably the bloke stood at the front under a spotlight with a microphone who is to blame.

Anyway, rant over…

So this was somewhat of an impromptu gig, Binty facebooked me at 11am asking me if I fancied going to Birmingham and, as I had the afternoon of work, I decided it would be a good idea. I have an upcoming gig in Liverpool I’m feeling a bit nervous about and I thought the practice would do me no harm at all. So the four of us travelled down (Binty Blair, Rob Thomas and James Oakley (AKA JoOakley)) to Dudley to perform at the legendary Holly Bush gig. I say legendary, I’d never heard of it, but then again I’d never heard of Louis CK (is that his name?) until another comedian mentioned him to me before christmas forcing me to proclaim that I was a big fan of his work despite the fact I’d never fuckin’ heard of him. Anyway… We had a nice drive down, I’ve noticed that the smaller the car travelling in then better the journey, there’s something about a group of tall lads in a small car that seems to spark good conversation. Anyway, we got there, James didn’t have a piss in the car, we bought battered chips (because sometimes frying isn’t quite enough) and went into The Holly Bush pub.

The Holly Bush is a shabbily endearing venue and I have to say, probably a venue I wish I lived near – it’s tiny, serves good, cheap beer, has a really comedy savvie crowd and has a real sense of warmth and community, yes, they heckle, but it feels comfortable and without malice (which you occasionally get).

And how did the gig go?

Well not great to be honest. I felt quite nervous before going on, I could tell because when I’m nervous my leg shakes and I become quite obsessive, checking my watch is set to stopwatch functionality (then failing to press go), reading the notes on the back of my hand (which I didn’t use) and checking my phone was on silent (always best to check 5 to 6 times to be on the safe side).

I don’t think I had a clear enough idea of which parts of my set I was going to do. I knew I wanted to do my ending (or get out of jail card) but wasn’t sure whether to go for the clapping section which I’ve not practiced for a while. I’ve found that compering and doing tough gigs (Bramhall) means that bits of my material feel a bit excessively used outside of the structure of my set. And I need to make a decision early on about what sections I am to do and how they all fit together. I also messed up by failing to pause, when I’m nervous I talk incessantly and I failed to get laughs. I think people enjoyed the set (they said so at the bar and when they came up to me) but as the wise Rob Thomas said, if you don’t pause you don’t let them laugh.

A bad gig for me (and particularly galling when the other 3 in the car share absolutely smash it (did well) but a good wake up call about the limitations of my ability. I wasn’t the worst act on that evening but was a long way from being in the top 50% which is not good.

So, lessons to learn:
– More pauses
– Recognise the punchlines
– Don’t half heartedly do a piece of material
– Make sure you know what bits you’re going to do.

My full set at the moment is 20-25 mins (i’ve recorded it at 35 though in my room). and consists of (PL in brackets):

  • Preston (Incest & Paedophilia)
  • Thanks for not clapping (Clapping at the end rather than front loaded)
  • Average applause (Sex Scale, Clapping Scale)
  • Clapping (part 1)
    1) Enthusiastic (Hitler, Stalin, Tom Selleck)
    2) Cynical (Impress me fucker)
    3) Angry (hate children, joy and Happiness)
  • Clapping (part 2)
    1) Liberal
    2) Labour (Clap recession)
    3) Tory (Taking advantage of Liberals
  • Show starting now…
  • Anyone in a perfect relationship? (across the street, twats)
  • Nice relationship (something missing, sex)
  • How was it for you?
    1) Words (it was alright)
    2) Excel, Charts, Graphs
    3) Sex Scale Callback (9)
  • Not a 9 (probably a 3)
    1) Facebook stalking (shagaluf)
    2) Ex’s list
  • Confidence is key
  • Clapping as indicator of confidence
    1) Enthusiastic – dive in (orgy but not knowing what to do – too many holes and no guide)
    2) Cynical (missionary only, occasionally doggy)
    3) Angry Lovers (exacting, precise, S&M)
  • Confident stroll
    1) Stroll one (kicks open the door naked)
    2) “Darling tonight we will make Love)
    3) Stroll two (gently molested)
    4) Brave comedian uses punchline “Gently molested”
  • Education, Jargon
  • Parents (Years of Councelling)
  • School (technical)
    1) Anatomical
    2) Condoms on Cucumbers (full cucumbers not half)
  • Learning from Friends at Uni
  • Joe (Guess who I’ve just eaten out)
    1) Grammatical Error
    2) 3 Part Joke
    3) Starter (fishy)
    4) Main (Bloody)
    5) Pudding (Creamy Moustache)
    6) Going down at it being horrible
  • Confidence takes a while to manifest, so decide to use my skills – don’t have a great body etc…
  • Sex noises (Um, Nu, Ah)
  • Louder and louder sex
  • That was a 10.
  • Not a big laugh to end
    1) Don’t clap
    2) Boo
    3) Fuck Off
    4) Slow Clap
    5) Leave it he’s not worth it.

So, how to cut it down and work out what to use.

That is Sunday’s mission!



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