Stage time is notoriously hard to come by, and with reference to advice on the Scottish Comedy Forum, I’ve decided to not turn down any gig. So, when the Scottish Comedian of the Year Gong Show announced it was open for entries, I put my name forward. The premise is simple enough, and follows the format of what constituted primetime television entertainment in the Seventies: every act gets a minute’s grace, and in the four minutes after that he can be gonged off at any point if two of the three audience gong cards are held aloft.
I arrived first, having braved the snow in the hope that the weather would have put off some of the competition. Of course, eleven other comics all turned up with the same hope. Some faces I knew, some I had seen or spoken to previously, but this was the first chance I had to spend some time in ‘comedian’s corner’ with them, waiting to go on. And therefore, also the first time some of them got to see me perform. I say perform…
In truth, I was up sixth or seventh (names were drawn from a hat to establish the running order), and got maybe five or six jokes out before the gong came. I lasted, if memory serves, one minute and five seconds. But, for all that, I was happy that I’d managed half a dozen laughs in that time, and Alan Anderson (the organiser and compere) had the decency to take the heat off by explaining to the audience after my set that it “was only my third or fourth gig”.
I’d deliberately cut the bulk of my “middle initials” bit, and thought about rearranging the order of my material – should I do the one-liners first, but maybe lose them after my minute’s grace? Or do the longer stuff first before they got the chance to gong me, but then maybe lose them before I got as far as the one-liners? In the end, I did as much of my set as I could in the same order as I did at The Buff Club a few days previously, because these things are impossible to predict anyway so I figured I’d stick to what I know. And ultimately, I was only doing it for the experience.
So I haven’t dwelled on it too much, I got some decent laughs and some stage time, met some people and some people met me, and saw some funny comedy. Ed Cassidy went through, as did YouTube sensation The Wee Man – both lasted the full five minutes, and in the cheer-off it was impossible to gauge an outright winner. I was glad to see Richard Gadd and Asim Ali again, both of them entertain me greatly, and I very much enjoy Ross Main’s “Dave Reaper” character/song. It was also good to put faces to names I know from the Scottish Comedy Forum, and so overall I’m glad I took part. Good luck to all the contenders in this week’s final.