Not quite sure how to describe last night, but it was a cross between a car crash and a mass comedy suicide.
Pop-Up Comedy is running a new night at the Victoria Bar on Glassford Street, which began last night in front of an indifferent, disinterested audience, and one very attentive heckler. Chris Henry compered, getting up and chatting to various punters. He asked one Irish guy what brought him to Scotland, to be met with a gruff “I’ve been here longer than you.”
So it began, as the first two comedians both cut their acts short in the wake of audience apathy. Being situated next to the door, people coming in or going for a smoke managed to ruin a couple of punchlines and set-ups, while the attentive heckler made himself known by joining in during every act. He was sat two tables back, with long hair tied back and an earring of the style that creates a hole in the lobe. He’d obviously had it a while, since he’d a good two-inch diameter (which Tony Hilton later threatened to coat in vaseline and shag).
Malky went up third, and did a full ten minutes – none of it really appreciated – but at least he enjoyed himself. Now we were running short, Tony Hilton went up to close the section (rather than open the next), and ended up doing some ad-libbing and singing for the crowd in order to keep their attention. The section closed, and some food was laid on – I was now in the unenviable position of both opening the second section and of following the food. You can see the video of my spot below. While the food was served, our heckler got up and stood in front of the stage and played a couple of tunes on the bagpipes he had with him, and so we tried to collectively think of some putdowns we could use based on that fact. I used a couple of my own when I got the chance, although he was strangely quiet during my set.
I have to say, I lost my fear before going up – ordinarily, I run through my set in my head in the break/act previous, but by this point it was clear we had nothing to lose, and so I decided to just get up and enjoy myself. Which I did, so much so I volunteered to play here again in a fortnight. When they heard that, both openning acts also asked to be put back on that bill – it should be a good laugh. Fuck it, we’ll just do the same material there every week til they fucking listen! 😀
Darren Connell, whom I personally think is brilliant (first time I saw him he got more laughs, more often, than anyone else I’ve seen on the circuit) also cut his act short – it’s quite disheartening playing to a room full of people ignoring you. Julia Sutherland got a big laugh from us when she lost heart halfway into her set, but delivered the line “Strap-on dildo” louder and clearer than anything else she said just to provoke response. Nothing from the crowd. Malky went up and did a second ten-minutes, since they didn’t care, and barely managed to capture their attention – except briefly when he just said “Celtic” into the mic.
Finally, headliner The Wee Man managed to capture their attention, based on his popularity via his viral YouTube videos. He managed to even get some audience participation, and finally they paid some attention. Well, some of them did. When he started grooming them.
So, it was a bit of a downer but we all kind of expected as much – we were playing to regulars, not a comedy audience, and it was the first ever comedy night there. Hopefully in time we’ll win them over, and get some silence (if not laughter…) during the acts. That said, I did my set in full (and faster than I realised), and got a few laughs. Like I said, I felt I had nothing to lose, and I enjoyed myself regardless. The 15th is my next gig, back there, so it’ll be interesting to see if they’ve warmed to us any.