Sometimes you do a gig, a gig you expected to be amazing, a gig you thought would lift you on to a higher emotion, artistic and comedic level, where you prepared new material that was crafted, analysed, road tested and developed to near perfection, and then you perform it to an audience who you think will love you, your material and what you stand for and they’ll go, “no”.
They’ll go “no, that’s just shit, now fuck off”.
In case that’s not clear I had a bad gig the other week, well, if I’m honest two bad gigs. I’ve also lied in that first paragraph, I didn’t prepare, craft, analyse or road test material to near perfection, instead I shoved some crap together and rather arrogantly thought my ability would carry me.
It didn’t. It dropped me about nine, maybe ten seconds after reaching the stage.
I’ve become overly conscious about writing some new material, I’ve reached a point where I have two sets that both last about 10 to 15 mins which is great, but they are completely unrelated. One is storytelling while the other is traditional filthy minded stand up. Both haven’t failed me since I started doing them so I assumed my new stuff would be the same.
Instead it was a painful lesson in how preparation is key to everything. The gigs that have been good with new material are where I’ve practised obsessively prior to it and then developed it as a result of that – I think the truth of those bad gigs is a) the material wasn’t as good as I thought it was, b) I wasn’t prepared, I muddled through and was vague and blagging it rather than precise and c) I was a little arrogant when I went onstage, and then when the laughs didn’t come crumbled.
However every cloud has a silver lining and I found myself reassessing the material, crossing out everything shit and reworking it. Finding a voice is difficult in any art I think, and I think maybe the tone and content was wrong for the type of comedian I am and want to be. After one of the gigs where I took freshly-made pies to win the audience over and promptly died on my ass, a girl came up to me afterwards and said “I enjoyed your pies but you were a bit shit”. That’s now entered my compereing set, as has some of the other material, but in a lighter way – I am less aggressive when talking about killing prostitutes.
I’ve been lucky enough to car share quite a lot recently and do some much nicer gigs too – performing at The Queens outside Manchester with Mike Newall (who is one of my favourite comedians since I saw him smash Rawhide 2 years ago) – a lovely gig in Northenden where the audience response made my skin tingle and a fun trip to Leeds with Mike and James for a torturous night in a basement bar followed by a trip trying to escape Leeds.
I increasingly realise that stand up is more social for me than a potential career – without it I think I’d probably feel quite lost and not sure what to do with myself. I also feel really uncomfortable about applying for paid gigs too, it changes the dynamic, I don’t want to have a shit gig and let people down y’know? I’ve set up a facebook page if you want to know where I’m gigging by the way (people from gigs were asking to be my friend) so please join but don’t tell anyone else about it.
Anyway, a short update, if you have anything specifically you’d like me to write about then let me know!
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