Sam Freeman

Storytelling | Theatre | Arts Marketing

Gig Report: Warrington Albion

I’ve not written about any gigs for a while so I thought it’d be probably worthwhile writing something up, not least to force me to adequately assess my comedy life / life and decide what to do. Also because i genuinely think your lives are probably empty enough to want to read this. Only kidding. Honest. Ahem.

Anyway, so I’ve had a run of odd gigs, I’ve been trying to stop doing my storytelling set, partly, and I know this sound incredibly arrogant, because it always works. It’s just got a little boring and tedious. There’s nothing worse for me than saying something and getting the perfect response each time, takes the excitement out of it – I think if I thought I could be pro it’d be different but as it is I gig for me mostly. Anyway, with that in mind I’ve been trying to find a voice.

Comedians, all artists i guess, go through this, trying lots of things until something sticks or feels natural. I was lucky in that I found two sets (sex life set and storytelling) that pretty much worked really well straight away. However neither feels like my voice necessarily – I’m not as confident or loud as the sex life set suggests, not as clever and self referential as the storytelling set. Doing new bits of material has been interesting – finding bits that work and bits that die in pretty much equal measure.

The problem seems, however, to lie in the fact that my set is strongest and material strongest when I ad lib and push away from the material. I’m a massive fan of Ross Noble and always imagined I’d give it a go at some point. Unfortunately that’s absolutely terrifying, – what if you blank, or die, or get silence, or all three? I’d love to go on stage with absolutely nothing and see what happens, maybe have an opener and a closer and fuck all in between. Using the audience and compering a set, that takes in imagination. Pretty risk heavy I imagine and something that needs lots of practice. Listening to Ross Noble on the Comedian’s Comedian podcast he talked lots about compereing, and I absolutely love doing it, it’s lots of fun, allows you to work with an audience and in a nice room is really affirming. Problem is finding a regular gig where I can do this. I did it at Pros & Coms for a long time but need to find somewhere else to grow I think.

Anyway, the gig tonight was new material mostly. Well, almost. My conventional Preston opening with new stuff in the middle and the eating out ending. It lacked structure horribly, but a couple of bits stuck and a couple of bits are me talking rather than anything that’s fundamentally funny. Lesson learnt. The gig was nice if noisy and compered by Kenny Mills, who never seems to lose on stage. I’m a big fan of creating silences and the gig wasn’t ideal for this because of the background noise. It started well, quite free form, talking to the audience, but as soon as I dropped into material my delivery became dull and I was a bit crap. I need to decide my energy level I think and settle on it – it seems to vary between weary (Jack Dee), aloof (James Acaster) but then sometimes i’m a mega bag of squirming energy (a la Mark Watson) but none seem to really suit me.

The gig was hard but good fun, it’s a nice venue, unlike it’s predecessor, stripper free and incredibly friendly. Even if my material didn’t land, I felt like it was a supportive night which was really nice.

I drove to and from the gig which was a first for me with Eddie Fortune, my driving’s getting better although it did feel like somewhat of a quest on the way back.

Right, enough from me, it’s midnight and I need sleep.

Night x