My first ever gig, for which I’d spent the previous three weeks writing and learning some material. Kind of. I’d written it, anyway, and thought I’d learn (and time) it closer to the day. The week previous I won tickets to see Alice Cooper on Halloween, and meet him after the show, so my weekend before the gig was taken up somewhat by an 800-mile round trip to London, with little sleep, on crowded trains (standing room only on the way down, thanks for that Virgin).
The day of the gig, I practised my set over and over aloud, working out how much (or rather, how little) of my six-page routine I could do in five minutes. I got the basics down, wrote myself a ‘cheat sheet’ of reminders, and copied it onto my hand in time-honoured tradition.
I was placed second in the second half, by which point the audience numbered forty or so, and followed Malky, the promoter and co-ordinator of Pop-Up Comedy. Now, given the nature of his material and style, the other comedians were cheering the stock jokes he’d been doing for a few shows now and hurling occasional abuse. A lassie came in at this point, thought it was the norm to shout at the guy onstage, and so as soon as I started she joined in. And kept fucking going. I made the point that I was new early on, that started her off, and then there was no stopping her. I’m told one of the other comedians on the circuit (not performing that night) had a quiet word and told her to “give him a chance”. Naw. I’d written half a dozen heckler putdowns, but hadn’t learned them since the New Act Night is introduced by the compere saying “It’s a new act night, so heckle me but not them.” She missed that part. I used the one I could remember, and just reacted naturally for the rest – a fair few comedians have since said I handled it well, which was nice of them.
Anyway, I got through what I could remember, having taken advice on the Scottish Comedy Forum to film my first spot, firstly as adrenaline would mean I forgot most of how it went, and secondly as a reference to refine and hone my material. Which I’ve since done. For posterity, though, here is the video of my first EVER stand-up comedy spot, compered by Chris Henry, filmed by Matthew Cowan at The Halt Bar in Glasgow, with thanks to Pop-Up Comedy for the spot.