Tonight was a bit of a weird one. A fundraiser being held for the social centre, so they can find their own premises, held at Garnethill Multicultural Centre. For the fiver entry fee, punters got food provided by the People’s Kitchen, comedy, and live bands. The weather forced half the comedians to pull out, and so there were only five of us on the bill.
Arriving at half five, we didn’t actually go on until 7.30pm – which at least gave us the chance to sit and shoot the shit for a bit: I’m in this as much for the social aspect as for the chance to vent/try and entertain.
The evening was opened by one of the organisers reading a “speech” which ran along the lines of “We don’t tolerate racism, sexism, homophobia, religious intolerance, class divisions, etc etc…now here’s the comedians!” – Essentially he seemed to be preaching an unachievable ideal, and of course while it was impossible to fault the sentiment it seemed unrealistic that EVERY single -ism/division will ever be ‘stamped out’, except perhaps within the realms of their membership.
I was on third, more self-conscious than ever before about swearing: this was no pub or club, but a place where people were sitting down to a meal, and the dynamic was quite different. Even though the crowd were young-ish and open-minded, I still feel uneasy about being the one to lower the tone. Thankfully, the comedian before me said ‘fuck’ and set the bar for me, though they didn’t seem to take too kindly to my use of the word ‘cunt’ (I’m Glaswegian: it’s a term of endearment)
I was happy enough with my set, standing in front of a giant silver bacofoil backdrop in a corner of the room, facing rows and rows of tables end-on while others stood at the kitchen-hatch bit. It went about as well as I could expect, some jokes hit and some missed, I got a few groans and a big laugh or two. Afterwards, I spoke to Ross Main about the middle initials bit, which I think I might replace altogether. After my first gig, I drew a comparison between signing middle initials and going to school with a broken arm, as I felt it needed something else that the audience could relate to. Whether they relate to it or not, no-one ever laughs at that bit.
Ross said maybe it’s the comperes, rushing the latter part of my name in the intro – running it altogether as they gather momentum. If it’s not clear that I have them, and what they are, no wonder the jokes don’t work. It made me think, maybe I should make more of a point of repeating my name before I go into that bit, so it’s clearer what they are. I even dropped my reasons for signing them, and what they stand for, so really that bit is very short now. Having already reworked it twice, by changing it and then curtailing it, I think I’d rather drop it altogether for now and try something else.
So that was the big revelation of the evening. The rest was fairly unspectacular – four open spots followed by Pearse James headlining, who was very entertaining, and we were done by 8pm. Given the time, I decided to head up to Uisge Beatha (or Dram, now) to see Alan Anderson’s comedy night since it was free entry for comedians (and wannabe comedians, like me).
I caught sets by Charlie Ross (whose name I know from the Forum) and Paul Alcroft (who runs a gig that I’d coincidently enquired about just the day before), before seeing Janey Godley. I’ve known the name for a while, and have seen her mentioned on Twitter by the likes of Simon Pegg, so I was glad to finally see her perform. Very, very funny, and I’ll definitely try and make a point of seeing her again. She has a weekly podcast she does with her daughter too, which I need to check out – and you should too.
Other highlights of the evening were seeing Anderson threaten to, then follow through with, biting the baws of an uncooperative drunk punter, and him finding out, onstage, that the person he was slagging off was actually his second cousin from Skye. Definitely an eventful night, filled with lots of comedy. It was good, too, having a chat about my material with someone who’s seen it two or three times now, and I think after tomorrow’s gig at the Laughing Horse competition I’ll definitely change my act and drop the stuff that never gets laughs, specifically the middle initials stuff.