Gig 59: The Bernard Bananas Cabaret Show! @ Lass O’Gowrie, Manchester – 23rd May 2012
May 24, 2012 2 Comments
As soon as Peter Slater announced the 5-night run of The Bernard Bananas Cabaret Show!, I knew I’d be going along to watch. Pete – one of the creators of SAS Comedy – is one of my favourite comedians. He fits into the genre of comedy that I like to call “acting daft”. It’s a genre that might not actually exist, but it’s one that really appeals to me as an audience member and as a performer. For me, daftness equates to pure joy, and it’s something I hope I can inject more into my own act(s). Anyway, you can imagine how pleased I was when Pete asked me to do a guest spot on the middle show of the run. (In case you’re not sure, the answer is “very”.)
I decided to go with Den Kodd for the show. Part of me would have liked to have given a run out to Gary Barlow, as it’s been ages since I’ve ‘done’ him, and feel like he needs an outing. In the end, I stuck with Den\Terry because I’ve had a busy few weeks and, since I’ve done this act in my previous two gigs (Gig 57 and Gig 58), I wouldn’t have to cram anything new into my head. I also wanted to do it again because Gig 57 felt a little off (I was trying new material) and Gig 58 was a total death, so I wanted to make sure I could still make it funny. I arrived at the Lass at 8 o’clock and for about 20 minutes, it looked like my new status as the Jonah of comedy was going to persist as there was no audience. Luckily, some good folks (6 of them) did show up, so it would at least go ahead. And, as Pete mentioned, it’s quite usual for Edinburgh audiences to be in the single figures, so if you can make a handful of people laugh then you’re probably doing something right.
The show lasted just over an hour and I came on about half way through and was scheduled to do ten minutes. I’ve mentioned previously that I usually forget to set my stopwatch, so don’t know how long I’ve done. This time I just looked at the time before going on and that (obvious) strategy (unsurprisingly) worked. I used the same set as Gig 58, only I threw back in my joke about a recently deceased celebrity, even though in my gig diary I claimed that it felt like something I shouldn’t do. Weirdly, a second celebrity died this week who was tangentially referenced in another one of the jokes. I had the idea of doing the first joke, claiming not to want to make fun of someone who had just died and then immediately launch into the second joke. This seemed to make the act of telling the joke the joke, and this got me over any distaste that I may have felt. I was probably over-reacting, anyway, as neither of these jokes references the deaths or makes fun of them. I also ad-libbed a few bits that I really enjoyed; in particular I kept repeating the punchline to my Sean Connery joke, with Terry hoping that this would make the audience “get” it. Overall, I had a lot of fun with the act, but, perhaps partly due to the small audience size, I never really felt like I had them completely won over.
I seem to be going through a period of fairly indifferent gigs at the moment, and it’s a little dispiriting. I’m objective enough to understand that I will go periods like this as I develop as a performer, so I don’t let it get me down too much. I think the hardest thing to deal with is that in my first couple of outings as Den Kodd it worked really well and with the mediocre\terrible reactions that I’ve had in the last couple of weeks, I find it almost impossible to work out where it’s going wrong. With the material largely the same (with some new jokes, but of the same variety), have I changed the emphasis in my performances without knowing in what way? I genuinely don’t know, which is the problem.
In a recent post (see here), I mentioned that I sometimes expect too much in terms of lessons learned following gigs. I think my only option is to keep going, keep working at it and hope that this will lead me to a breakthrough.