Gig 63: Comedy Night @ The Beech Inn, Chorlton – 12th June 2012
June 13, 2012 1 Comment
Some of you may remember that a few weeks ago, one of my gigs got cancelled due to lack of audience (NOT Gig 59), and subsequently all comedy gigs were abandoned at that venue. Well, local impressario, Sir David Turquoise, is not a man to be deterred by such setbacks and last night’s gig was the first in the night’s new home at The Beech Inn in Chorlton.
The original gig was going to be my first performing a 15-minute spot, so it was great to be asked to do the replacement gig to give me chance to finally break that particular duck. Luckily, this already meant that I had a set list that I could use, all with existing material, so it would take relatively little practice to get prepared which was useful when I had done two gigs of completely new material in the previous few days (Gig 61 and Gig 62). Somewhat surprisingly, this was going to be my first straight stand up gig for just over a month (Gig 55), but I’ve been performing pretty regularly, so I didn’t feel too worried about being rusty. For a free night, the line up was amazingly strong: Rob Hallam, Eddie Hoo and Seymour Mace headlining. I guess I could have found this a bit intimidating, but I was more focused on seeing if I could pull off a 15-minute spot. My set list was:
“This really shifty bloke came up to me…” followed by joke book variant: “these are definitely jokes” – This is a combination I first tried at Gig 53, where it felt like it really worked. The joke book bit really benefits from this particular conceit as it allows me to do really strong asides, which get better laughs than the actual jokes. I went with 8 jokes – I usually do 5 – basically in an attempt to use up a bit more time (I wasn’t sure I would have 15 minutes when I first put the set together). I should probably have stuck with 5 jokes.
Stretched Cat – It felt a bit weird not doing this as my opener, but I was able to tie it into the first two bits in a way that I liked.
“Can’t fight the Moonlight”
Personal Bit + Personal Bit 2 – As I mentioned in my NOT Gig 59, I’d tweaked this section quite a bit as it’s been an inconsistent performer. Unfortunately, there was a particularly chatty audience member on the front row and she spoiled one of the early (and usually most successful) punchlines. I struggled a bit to think how to continue, and I eventually said outright that she’d ruined the joke, and then kind of moved over it. She continued to pipe up throughout this section and it put my timing off. I’ve not really had to deal with anyone being so disruptive before, and I tried to handle it by not having a go at her, as it’s not my style and really wouldn’t help me in getting back onto my material. I think I perhaps just about got away with dealing with it, but it certainly affected the rest of my performance. It also meant that I still don’t have a handle on this bit of material and still think it needs re-writing.
Telephone Books – I checked my watch after this bit (yes, I’d remembered to start it…but only after I had already got on stage), and had already done 12-13 minutes. I decided to go with…
Jacob’s Cob – I like reading these sort of stories out, to give a different feel to the set, but it didn’t really work tonight. With hindsight, the performance of them really has to be spot on to get the laughs, and I think the earlier encounter had thrown me off just enough that I didn’t emphasise in the right places, and didn’t do enough asides. By the time I had finished it, I was 15 minutes in, meaning that I had to skip some bits.
Fergie Swap + “So she lost her job…” + Political Poem + Peter Andre – All skipped for time.
One Day in Liverpool – Even though I was over my time, I didn’t want to end on the slight damp squib of the story, so went with the short play. It seemed to work, except that the girl on the front row again messed up my punchline at the very end, leaving me with a slightly odd feeling at the conclusion.
In the end, I did 18 minutes, and it generally went OK. I got some good feedback afterwards, so at least I wasn’t completely out of my depth. It felt like a big deal to finally do a longer set, and hopefully I’ll get chance to do it again soon.