The bar was packed from the off tonight, but felt like it went quite quickly considering comedians’ corner extended halway into the room. It felt like it went more smoothly than the last time, although since that was at Christmas and I was first on maybe everyone WAS rowdier and I didn’t just imagine it. Tonight also benefitted from having more sensible topics (Elephants, psychopaths, bawbags, Gaddafi, cartoons and comics, drugs etc), whereas last time people were made to talk about “modern interpretive dance” and other off-kilter topics.
It’s very easy to be in the audience and feel you could do better on a given topic, but could you really? As last time, a lot of people found it to be far harder than it looks when you’re actually up there trying to be funny about a topic you’ve just been handed. Tonight, five people beat the maximum five minutes – Obie (again), Darren Connell, Rob Kane, Teddy, and [it’ll come back to me, sorry!]. All of them got up and had to do a minute each on the same topic – poetry – with Darren winning overall. He’s definitely one to watch.
I got the topic of “The Stargate Franchise”, as submitted by Matthew Cowan, director of Revision. He’d been picking the names all night, and my cousin Laura had taken abuse for sitting next to him stoney-faced, so I tried making a joke about that before starting – which was a mistake cos I got the first warning before I’d even tried to address the topic in hand. I’ve never seen Stargate, but ascertained it’s something to do with wormholes (“sounds like something your dog would get and you’d need to take him to the vet”), and then looked around the stage trying to find a wormhole to escape through. I used that as a running gag/get-out clause when I felt myself stalling. I played with the concept of franchises, and tried to tie it to McDonalds and Star Wars, talking nonsense about finding a wormhole in McDicks and ending up in Burger King going ‘what the fuck just happened?’. I also played with the ideas of asking Darth Vader for a Big Mac, or being in the factory chopping up cows with a lightsaber. There was probably a deeper seam I could have mined if I had the presence of mind. As it was, I don’t think I did too badly. I fell down when I asked who was in it, and someone kept shouting “MacGyver”(?) at me, which made no sense at all. Eventually someone said Robert Carlyle’s in it, and I’ve got a silly, untold one-liner about him from three years ago when I was trying to write sketches, but it had taken me so long to get past MacGyver I got my second, final warning and ‘crashed’ before I could tell it. So it goes.
In hindsight, I remember a friend telling me it’s shite, reviewing it with the line “he must have needed the money.” I’m not into sci-fi much, don’t have a TV or broadband, so the chances of me seeing it are slim. Still, I’m happier with tonight’s effort than I was with my last time – not sure how long I lasted but suspect it was around three minutes or so. I also managed to stay on, or call back to/tie in to the original topic, so I’m content with that. Although my continual use of the word ‘fucking’ as a verbal comma has been noted – as compere Gus Lymburn said when I left the stage: “I’ve never heard the word ‘fucking’ used so many times in such a short period.”
Here’s Stephen Fry on The Joys of Swearing:
Malky went up after me to talk about “Indie Films”, and after his first crash sound/warning he said there’d be an Indie Film showing at the GFT called “Malky dies on stage.” I yelled “Seen it” and got the biggest laugh of his spot. Normally I wouldn’t ever heckle a fellow comedian, but Malky is happy to set himself up as this slightly sinister persona and have jokes directed at him, so it’s fair game. He also, as you’ll know from previous blogs, runs both the Halt and Victoria Bar gigs – amongst others – under the banner of Pop-Up Comedy.
Finally, special mention has to be made of Ross Main and Chris Henry. Ross pulled the topic “The Halt Bar”, put on his guitar, and was interrupted by Chris storming onstage saying “If anyone’s going to talk about the Halt, it’ll be me.” We were suckered in, and they did a rehearsed and reworded version of Tenacious D’s song Tribute, which was pretty astute and very funny.
So that’s that, another gig done, another kind of experience, playing to a packed room. Malky has asked me to do the Victoria Bar tonight, so I’ll be down there doing comic poetry with Obie headlining, if you’re free tonight from 8.30pm. After that, it’s my first date at The Stand next. So yeah.