Sam Freeman

Storytelling | Theatre | Arts Marketing

Gig #8 – Beat The Frog, Preston

It’d been nearly two weeks since my last gig and I was feeling kind of nervous about my next outing. Firstly gig #7 had gone so well I was wondering whether to give up on a high and also my previous encounter with Beat The Frog in Preston had been pretty hideous. So it was with trepidation that I boarded the train to Preston, with nerves jangling and a Beef and Onion sandwich purchased from M&S.

What to say. Well, it was busier than last time, nearly sold out I’d guess and for a pretty busy bar that’s at least 120 people, although I might estimate more. That made a difference to the vibe, less eerie silences and certainly easier for compere and acts alike. Again I didn’t beat the frog, but I bumped up my Preston BTF time to a new PB – 2 min 51 sec, which I was quite pleased with. It’s difficult at the best of times I think to do gong shows but as a story based act that is very wordy I’m not sure the format suits me in a way that it suits the one liner guys. I was on third following two brilliant acts who nailed it, I think part of the room went with me, but I lost the majority by not moving through the material quickly enough and getting the the meat of my act. At the last minute I cut my usual introduction (clapping) and started with relationships which seemed to work better, although I’m not sure I developed the section enough or pushed my ideas to their weirdest areas. I tried a bit of new material about bread that seemed to be received okay so that might stay for gig #9.

Not a total success – however I was reminded why i am putting myself through this – before the gig all the acts were sat around a table talking, some had come from Birmingham, others Salford, others closer by, but it was a lovely conversation, all of us bonded by a shared experience. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – 99% of the open acts I have met have been dedicated, brave, interesting, incredibly supportive and nice people and yet again that was proved true. Without them doing this would be really tough – but tonight, it made the 4 and a half hour round trip worth while.

One comment maybe – the gong show format is hard enough, so why do comperes build it up as if it’s a blood sport? Sometimes that can feel a little much and doesn’t build the supportive audience you need. Although, that said, it gives you much thicker skin and if the blood sport element gets people seeing live comedy then perhaps a good thing.

Meanwhile I’m very tired.

Night x