Sunday, February 27, 2005

Being Fretful About Being Forgetful

That was an odd sensation.

Another gig for a room full of students, this time a little harder to work, and so ultimately more satisfying when I did well, but I totally forgot my set. That's never happened before. Maybe the odd line, but not the whole damn thing. It didn't last that long, and actually helped the initial few jokes, but totally discombobulated me. I love that word. A tramp on a bike used it to describe his mood last week, so I think he earned the pound I gave him.

That's not exactly relevant, but who cares. I felt very professional on stage tonight, aside from the forgetfulness. I worked a subdued room, woke them up, quickly got them laughing harder than they had been and felt good about myself. Soft furnishings, low ceilings and carpets meant that laughs died quicker than they rightly should have, so momentum was harder to sustain. I even managed to ad lib a new line in an old bit of material, which was good, and with a tweak or two will make a joke where there really was no joke before.

Friday, February 25, 2005

An Improv-ment

I had a lonely jaunt across the Severn Bridge in high winds last night, on my way to The Wharf in Cardiff. It's an odd thing travelling to a gig on my own, it's not something I've done much of recently. As always, I got hopelessly lost, because the Welsh town hates me.

Anyway, it actually went quite well, especially compared with the last time I was there. I got spontaneous applause for a gag I had come up with moments before I walked on stage. The logistics of the room make it a conundrum to play, but I think I've figured it out now. Unless you know the setup there, there's no point in trying to describe it, so I won't bother.

On Wednesday I did my second night of Improv. Now, this is something I really love doing, even though I am still making amateur mistakes, such as telling people the things they are miming don't exist, but unless people tell me that, I'll never know. It's just a big old chance to show off, and tone up the acting skills. I think it'll be good for the stand up, as well as for my jaunt to Edinburgh.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Students ... Bag O' Shite

I had a good gig last night, but I feel empty. It was back in the Mandela Bar at the Bristol Student Union, this time for the inaugural Comedy Society gig. It was full up with people, they had to bring in extra chairs, and they were extremely up for comedy.

Standing on stage, I faked an excess of confidence, riffed with some rugby players on the front row, then launched into my material. Everything worked, exactly how I thought it would. There were no surprises. I even put down a friendly heckle the same way I had done in my head earlier, knowing full well it would be coming. Where's the fun in that?

I learned nothing.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Off The Cuff Comedy

I took my first saunter into organised improvised comedy tonight. I've always wondered how good I might be at it, so it was inevitable I would try it at some point, especially given as I've found somewhere I can do it.

The first warm up game I played was probably my most successful. It's called Pandora's Box, and you ask someone what's in the box, they tell you, and you mime it. Then you ask them again and again, ad infinitum. My mime skills have always been pretty good, and I don't often get a chance to use them, so getting laughs seemed fairly easy. I ended up inside the box, inside a suitcase.

I floundered a little more on the verbal and acting games, but that was a lack of confidence more than anything. What I think I'll gain most from it is the feet thinking ability it will exercise, and that will be damn useful on stage for the stand up.

It was a little annoying that I didn't get the chance to do the live performance a bit later, but then I wasn't expecting to do that anyway. I have a tiny bite mark on my arm now, from the improv bug.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Diminishing Returns

I usually like student gigs, and I was pretty confident about the one I was at tonight in Newport. That is, for some reason, up until about ten minutes before I went on, when I suddenly started to doubt everything in my set, and question whether they would get any of my references.

I managed to milk my opening laugh for all it was worth, which boded well for the rest of it. I reckon I had them laughing for ten to fifteen seconds, and the laugh came in three distinct waves. All I did was stand and wait for them. It was fun. But from then on, it went downhill. Each new punchline got less and less of a response, until I could do no more with them. So I cut it short and left with my tail between my legs.

Thus, the only real plus point of the evening was meeting Mr Jim Tavare, who remembered me from some sketches I had written for The Sketch Show. Which was kind of flattering.
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