Thursday, December 15, 2005

Showers Of Shite

It's hard to know where to start today. I feel like I have something to say about my gig last night, I'm just not sure what. Maybe starting with the basics will help. It was in Coventry, and I travelled up with iszi Lawrence and Jon Richardson, who are both lovely company. The drive was uneventful. I'd been to the Earlsdon Cottage before, but they had not. That's no excuse for me getting lost though.

Anyway, I feel that this is going to become another moan about audiences. Or more specifically, areas of audience that have come along to support their friend doing an open spot. This seemed to upset the dynamic of the room, because the regulars were on one side enjoying themselves, while the supporters were on the other, generally just being a bit rude. One man in particular felt the need to whisper loudly to his friend every time he didn't understand why a comedian wasn't saying stuff he found funny. The reason, it turned out, he didn't find this stuff funny, was because he was a racist, as evident by his two entries in the joke competition. Then the open spot came on, did many many minutes of other people's material, and got little or no response, even from his friends. After that, they got a lot more accepting of the other acts.

Unfairly, I reaped the most benefit from this. Having to directly follow him, it seemed like the audience really just wanted a beer break, but we didn't have one, so I had to compete with a few trips to the bar, which isn't always easy to deal with. But they seemed to go with everything a lot more readily than they had previously, which was in no way down to me. It was simply the fact they had seen their mate do his stuff. Not well.

So, what did I learn? I learnt that people in matching denim outfits and Beatles haircuts are annoying, but laugh when you cheekily intimate you're going to piss all over their stupid head. I learnt that ad libbing during a new bit can reap some lovely new laughs. I learnt that there are some audiences you just don't care one jot about how much they enjoyed your set.

Monday, December 05, 2005

What A Big Bastard Bunch

Is it wrong to be rude to people from behind a microphone? Not cheeky, with a knowing wink, but just downright rude? Ordinarily, I would think so, but every now and again, you are faced with people who clearly have no manners. Last night, a whole table of persistent talkers (not whisperers), who were there to watch their friend do his second gig, just would not shut up. It was beguiling.

In fact, I don't think I have ever left the stage feeling so irked, disappointed, or despondant. It's frustrating because you know they are talking because they don't feel the acts they are watching deserve their attention, basically because they cannot hear the other audience members laughing. Trouble is, as a comedian, you feel you have to deal with such behaviour, and so, instead of getting the momentum from your material you know works, you're focusing on them. It's a vicious circle. Most of the audience are there to watch and enjoy, but they are losing out because of that one table.

I eventually shut them up. But only just. I got some big laughs and some applause for stuff, and I managed to reduce them to whispering, which only I could hear. But what's the point really? I'm reminded of a scene from Comedian, in which you hear the line, "I'm making these idiots laugh, so fucking what?".

The only positive thing from the evening was that a new bit about my Dad's illness seems to work, and certainly engages people's attention. It's been in my head for a while, but I've been wary of doing it on stage because it seems a bit too personal, and therefore, in my mind, self-indulgent, but as is always the case, that wasn't true when it finally got aired.
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