Thursday, December 30, 2004

Bah Humbug

Christmas was fun. So was Boxing Day. I now own far too many episodes of The West Wing, and want even more episodes of Quantum Leap. So it came to pass that I did a return gig at Hilarious in Dudley last night. A huge crowd with literally standing room only. And they were really up for it.

Except when I was on.

I'm not even sure why I didn't do well either. I had bags of confidence, which showed in the way I milked laughs out of jokes that died - so I guess I didn't do too badly, just in comparison to everyone else, who blew the roof off. I puffed away some ash in a tray outside in the other bar.

Met Okse and Ryan Gough again, who are nice guys, as well as meeting Steve Best for the first time. He too is a nice guy and well up for a chat, which is great when you want to take your mind off a bad gig. Karen Bayley and I seem to be on the bill together quite a bit recently, and she had a very good gig. I didn't get a chance to chat to Markus Birdman, whom I followed, but the roof was only settling back onto its rafters as I went on.

Anyway, I am getting offered a few more gigs these days, so the diary might be a bit more full if I really get off my arse and book some more. In my mind right now though, all I can think is that I need some nicer clothes to perform in. Maybe a trip to the sales is called for.

Friday, December 17, 2004

The Inverse Travel Distance Versus Performance Equation

Two gigs in two days couldn't have thrown up two more disparate performances. The first one, in Dursley, for Mirth Control, is probably the most local gig I have ever done. It's so close to my house, I got really excited and looked at the AA website to see exactly how little I'd have to travel. It's eleven miles. That's as happy as I ever got about the whole experience, save for one thing.

Arriving at the venue (I say venue, I mean village pub of course), it occurred to me that such a local gig might mean lots of faces in the audience I recognised. Luckily that didn't happen, but the thought of seeing one of my Dad's mates, or one of my old teachers in the crowd certainly did nothing for my confidence. Other factors worked to dent it even further, not least the utter brilliance of the performance by the compere. That said, he gave me what I think is the nicest introduction I have ever had, describing me as "quirky, original and intelligent", three wonderful adjectives that may now work their way onto my CV somewhere.

That they didn't work their way into my set or performance that night is not surprising given the lack of confidence I imbued from the moment I stepped on stage. I kind of gave up halfway through too. Not a gig to remember in any way shape or form.

Now, Lydbury North is 111 miles from my house according to the AA, and I despised the fact I had to drive all that way. I moaned and harrumphed all day about it. But when I got there, I couldn't have been more pleased. The room was cosy, beautifully set up, had a sold out audience and we were even fed a plate of curry. For some reason, I had confidence in spades when I stepped up to the microphone.

Ironically, a lot of the people in the audience were the same people I had performed to in a hippy commune in a field in the summer. Luckily I hadn't done my set for them, I'd just bantered, and so the material they heard was fresh for them. And it worked. Very well. I had to use an awful lot of crowd control, even to the point where I had to quieten their laughter down to calm them for a punch that needed their attention. I felt very professional, and it might sound arrogant, but I think I turned the room on for the other acts too.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Kumsnot Comedy

That title isn't some barbed critique of the lovely Owen Niblock's nice gig in Atherstone (Kumquat Comedy), which was very fun to do last night. It's just a rubbish pun on the fact that I had a stinking head cold when I performed, which oddly disappeared for the 15 minutes that I was on stage. It's back now though, twice as strong. Very strange.

Aside from the sniffles, the gig went well. A tiny audience unfortunately, but they seemed perfectly content to sit and be entertained. There was even a Pool Competition at the other end of the pub, but luckily it didn't interfere one bit. From a performance point of view, I seemed to naturally fall into a slightly slower and quieter rythmn which played well, and after some feedback from another act, I am aware again of how much I move about at the start of my set. I knew this from before and had been consciously trying to stop doing it, but it's slipped back in recently. So, I need to plant the mic stand down, turn round and plant my feet down for the first few beats of my act.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Thigh Slapping

I sometimes find myself in situations I couldn't possibly have imagined I'd ever partake. One time, at band camp, I ended up in the Plymouth Theatre Royal watching Five Guys Named Moe, and I am no fan of the musical. Another time, I ran blindfolded through a convent clutching a javelin, and emerged with a Nun Kebab. But last night, I watched a student panto at the Bristol Student Union.

It was called Goldilocks and the Three Bares.

I settled down, not knowing what to expect, and for the first few minutes I was mightily snobbish about the whole thing. But the trouble with puns and popular culture references, mixed with ironically homophobic jokes and blokes in dresses, sprinkled with as much innuendo as you can stomach, is that it's quite infectious. At points I booed, I hissed and I even he'sbehindyoued.

It's a very nice little auditorium there too. They should get some comedians on.
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