Another off-the-cuff appearance, owing to the weather and the flu variously incapacitating the booked line-up. I saw on the facebook page that they were looking for volunteers to do five spots, so I stuck my name in. I’d already arranged to meet a friend tonight, so just told her to come down and catch some free comedy. As a result, though, we didn’t watch much of it (sorry guys).
A decent size of crowd, maybe thirty or so including comedians, most of them up for it. Chris Henry compering, the first time I’ve seen him in a few weeks, which might be actually about one week but feels like more on account of the sheer number of gigs/venues Pop-Up Comedy has nights at. Jamie Dalgleish opened, and I was up second. Had a good set, apart from one minor falter between the ‘hair’ bit and the ‘women/fish’ bit. I spiked my mohawk tonight, the first time since May, so everyone was commenting on that. A few people asked to touch it. Setchell kept rubbing my head telling everyone it felt like warm marble…a bit weird, but I learned long ago it’s less hassle to just let people touch me(!) than to refuse – cos then you’re a dick. Two lassies also told me in the street on my way to the pub that they liked my hair and asked “is it hard?” – some jokes are just too easy, and that’s a common one anyway. One day I might do a routine about the things people have said to me on account of my mohawk, which has been seven inches tall at some stages (haha, seven inches – see how easy it is, double entendre central).
But yeah, my set went pretty well and the “fish” bit got a massive laugh where often it attracts as much of a groan. There were people sitting round the corner tonight, so it was interesting trying to play to both sides of the bar simultaneously (the stage is in the corner, and the audience sit along the walls with the bar in the centre) – also had to try and avoid eye contact with my friend Lauren (who had arrived just as Jamie began) and Adam Struth who was sitting right in front of me. I try not to catch anyone’s eye while performing, maybe it’s a comfort thing (or the lack thereof), and certainly not that of people I know. Maybe I’ll become more confident with time and feel more at ease looking directly at certain punters though. One way to find out…
Scott Horner was up after me, followed by Adam himself, who did some specially-prepared Vicky Bar material before launching into some of his other material. It was well-received, and good to see him come across as confident this time – the last two gigs here haven’t gone so well for him, inasmuch as he cut both short. Tonight he was on good form.
Not wanting to talk through the acts, out of courtesy, Lauren and I moved through behind the bar in order to chat, and so missed the rest of the line-up (save for the occasional joke which filtered through). She has been living in NYC for the past few years, and we missed each other the past twice she’s been over, so I feel justified in prioritising her company over watching comedians who I have (mostly) seen before, some of them weekly. Sorry guys, but I’ll see you next time.
Did some catching up, when at some point Lauren mentioned Frankie Boyle. I asked if she’d seen Kevin Bridges, who she hadn’t heard of (on account of being virtually American now), and then asked if she’d heard of another brilliant Scottish comic I only discovered recently (though I knew her name for a while), Janey Godley. Turns out Lauren worked on one of Janey’s shows at the Oran Mor (which could be theatre or comedy, since Janey is a playwright too, and either as a designer or stage manager, since Lauren has both talents – forgot to ask.) Apparently Janey also knows (of?) Lauren’s mum, Sandra Brown, who has written a book of her own and staged a one-woman show based on the disappearance of a childhood friend. The world just got another bit smaller – like the time I watched Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe, and in the bit where he ripped into charlatan psychics he used footage of their program that featured…Lauren’s mum. Weird coincidences, but there you are.
Lauren’s mum on Psychic Detectives or whatever, as featured by Charlie Brooker. From 3m 10s in.
To round the night off, Setchell and Hobbit and I had a conversation about punk poetry, and how it rose to prominence at the same time as Alternative Comedy – not just John Cooper Clarke, but (says Will) Mark Lamarr, Phill Jupitus and Craig Charles were all socio-political poets when they started out. Will does an act called the Jazz Poetry Builder, and I mentioned I used to write poetry (lyrics) for my music project AudioTwat – I read him a couple, which he enjoyed and said I should use on stage. I had thought about it briefly, but I didn’t want to encroach on his territory by fusing poetry with comedy. He said it’d be good to get a scene started, so maybe I’ll use one to end on at some point and see how it goes. With talk of the electro-nonsense I created to go with it (the music didn’t fit the lyrics, or vice versa, so the project fell flat fast) he seemed enthused with the idea of us trying to deliberately do some performance-poetry type stuff using weird electro, played ‘live’ on unusual instruments, with lyrics over the top. As much as I’m not into being a performer as such (I’ve been onstage, and sought out a career behind it instead), I always wanted to do something with AudioTwat live, so maybe we’ll work something out. Also, at this point, I’m happy to try new things just for the experience – gong shows, car crash comedy, new act comps, and maybe this.
So a positive note to end on, with some new possibilities for next year and possibly a collaboration on the horizon. Enjoy Hogmanay and have a good new year y’all, no more gigs til 2011. As they say in Scotland, awrabest when it comes 🙂