Gig 29: Beat The Frog @ Frog & Bucket, Manchester – 23rd January 2012
January 24, 2012 5 Comments
The last time that I tried a gong show was at Beat The Frog in Preston, way back at the end of September (Gig 12). It didn’t go well; out of 8 acts, 6 lasted the full five minutes, one lasted 3:40 and I lasted 2:09. In retrospect, there were lots of reasons why I didn’t do well: it was only my twelfth gig, I hadn’t done a straight stand up gig for two months and I was completely taken aback by the size of the venue and the brightness of the lights on stage. Oh, and I performed 3 jokes about Dragons’ Den where the joke was that the jokes weren’t very funny. Not the wisest choice of material under the circumstances.
So, I’ve decided to give it another go, and, even ignoring now badly it went last time, I’m more than a little concerned about it. The conflict with the gong show is that you want to always want to stick to your ‘artistic vision’ (just to make me sound like a complete wanker), but there’s the pressure of having to change it in order to meet the instant approval required. It’s only natural that you really want to last the distance, so what do you do?
I’ve decided to try and stick to my own style, but have cut out anything too obtuse, especially at the beginning of the set. It will be interesting to see if my increase in experience and confidence as a performer will bear fruit or whether the pressure will get to me.
I genuinely have no idea how I’ll do, so I guess there’s only one way to find out.
POST-GIG: Let’s cut to the chase, I ‘beat the frog’ and lasted the full five minutes, I got one card (out of 3) held up and I didn’t win the contest. I’m more than happy with how it turned out.
My set list was essentially the same as Gig 25, only I changed the opening joke for my “stretched cat” one. I managed to get as far as “Scooby Doo” before my time was up. While I was undoubtedly nervous, I was also looking forward to giving it a go, and the difference in confidence and stage presence to my previous attempt was like night and day. The opening joke went down well – I was getting laughs just from how I approached the set-up and was confident enough to take my time with it – and most of the stuff went down well from there. I was even able to throw in a few of the elusive ad-libs that I’ve been searching for.
The point where I got a card against me was at the “Controversial-Incomplete Joke”. I’ve done this bit since Gig 2 and I’m very fond of it, even if it doesn’t get that much of a laugh (seeing that sentence written down, does make me wonder why I’ve stuck with it for so long). I set the “joke” up by saying that it is controversial, but incomplete and I fully deliver on that promise (well, the incomplete part, at least). I think it’s really funny to leave it unresolved (that’s the actual joke, in my mind), but I was aware enough to know that I should have a way of addressing it for a gong show. I did this by then pointing out that I knew it wasn’t funny (that bit was ad-libbed) and then telling them the way that several people had suggested I could resolve it (this bit was planned) – 3 separate people have genuinely suggested the same tag line to me – and this got a big laugh. Although, I’d prefer to leave it unresolved, this experience has made me think about how it could be tweaked, so that I can keep it.
Although it would have been nice to win (since it secures you an 8-minute non-gong spot), I’m really pleased to have done the full five minutes. At least I know now that I can do it, so that if I try something in the future that gets me gonged off then I won’t feel so bad about it.