This was another last-minute gig, arranged this very afternoon. Promoter Alan Anderson/HaHa Comedy advertised on the comedy forum, advising that (as it’s the end of the festival) the late show would be open to all – anyone who wanted to do a spot would be given one. That being true, it was remarkably quiet on the turns front, and I can only presume that people missed the announcement, had plans already, are too far away to do a Glasgow gig that kicks out at 1am, or are fatigued after four weeks of festival gigging. I, however, enjoyed myself enough that after being in a downer of a mood this week I feel able to post this summation of my feelings now:
I arrived just before the end of the early show, to find the room two-thirds full and the audience a group of smile-and-nodders rather than laughers. I was happy to watch Michael Manley’s set again though, I really liked his gig last week. After a quick turnaround, the room filled up for the second show. Eddie Cassidy opened, but quickly encountered an obnoxious heckler sitting right up the back. She interrupted seven or eight times, at least, to point out that Hunters are a brand of wellington boot(?) – an utterly irrelevant point that, beyond the word ‘hunter’, in no way relates to the subject matter Eddie was discussing at that point. The audience were on his side though, and he did much better than he thought. Headliner Graham Mackie later warned us that there was no point addressing her, since she was so loudly self-important that she’d just see it as an invitation to converse. His advice was to talk about her, but not to her. As it transpired, she left at the break and we got a new idiot for the second half. More on that in a bit. Paul Alcroft followed Eddie and kept the laughter going, the pair still on a high from their three sell-out gigs this past week.
Asim Ali opened after the break. It’s been a while since I’ve seen him, but he has a funny routine about circumcision that was good to hear again. He was followed by Darren Connell, who was (by his own admission) pretty drunk. Having seen him twice in the three gigs he’s just done with Eddie and Paul, and knowing that he was personally requested as the support for Des Clarke’s solo show, tonight wasn’t his best gig. Funny and very well-received though, nevertheless. Maybe I just didn’t find it funny that I had to follow him…
In allocating us positions on the bill, Anderson had finished by giving me “Three, or four, or five – I don’t know how long you’ve got. Or if you’re funny.” Darren immediately told him that “aye, he’s funny” – cheers bud, appreciated. I haven’t timed my set, and was anticipating that I’d have time to do at least five – I suspect it’s closer to seven or eight minutes long, especially as I’d added in a new joke I just came up with today.*
* By which I mean my wee cousin posted on facebook about something her sister said to her and I saw the potential to twist it into something funny that would sit immediately with the material I’m already using, and asked her permission to do just that. She kindly agreed. 🙂
Anderson had opened the show, as compere, by using and over-using the word “cunt”, and I thought all of my stuff would go over well once again. Unfortunately, having run the gig in his absence last week, I knew that the show had to be done by 12.45am for a 1am curfew, enforced by the licensing board. I didn’t take the stage until half past midnight and, since he’d also initially suggested a mere three minutes when trying to gauge how long to give me, I felt obliged (and felt it sensible) to jettison that material tonight, since the headliner had still to follow me. Losing it was an easy way to cut nearly a minute off my act without affecting the flow.
“Jesus” got a laugh, but also a few gasps, and so (as last time I played here) I asked if it was “too soon?” From there I went straight into Gladiator Plumbing, all of which went really well. After engaging a couple of times with a very drunk guy – our new idiot – sitting just in front of me (he announced that he liked one of my jokes and I thanked him for his approval, and then he later applauded another of my jokes – so I told him he was right to clap.), I went from there into the “hair” stuff, having accidentally missed four jokes out (I realised this immediately, but didn’t see the need to go back – time being a priority). That segues into all the pseudo “relationship” stuff, and I also added in my new joke. Which got a decent response for it’s first time out. It distracted me enough that I forgot the usual penultimate joke that I’d planned to keep in, so I just ditched it and went into the “Fish” bit. It all flowed together well, and while I don’t know for sure how long I did I think it was about four minutes. So that was a good experience, working out what bits I could cut. The only down-side was that when I got my massive half-laugh half-groan I said I’d end there, and no-one took that on board and so I left the stage in silence – they didn’t applaud me off until I was halfway across the room. Admittedly, it’s not much of a complaint, more a lesson in the need to end unequivocally.
I could hear (and see) Anderson laughing during my set, loudest of all during my joke about chucking a girlfriend [no elaboration, sorry – I’m not about to write my best jokes online] – this drunk prick laughed loudly too and said “I like that, I’m using that!” I said that “I’d rather you didn’t, since it’s mine. Actually, I don’t think I need to worry about you remembering it. Or any of this.” He later stood up during Graham Mackie’s set and told him he was shite and that he’d rather have a cigarette. Mackie politely invited him to fuck off, and he later reappeared right on the use of the word “wank”, a fact which was pointed out. Haha. 🙂
I was slightly apprehensive about following Darren tonight, but at the same time am confident enough in my material and in the difference between our stage personas that I felt I could follow him. Not to put him down or to big myself up, it’s just that at this point, at this gig, I felt we would complement each other and that either of us could have kept the audience warm for the other. He’s naturally funny, while my set is comprised of all the material that consistently gets the best laughs, at a reasonable pace. It was a great relief to find that Anderson enjoyed my set – I just found out yesterday that he’s only seen my first gig and none of my others. I did his gong show too, early on in my ‘career’, but lasted a mere minute and six seconds so that’s pretty forgettable. He told the audience tonight that he’d seen my first gig in November “and he was shite,” before publicly congratulating me on how far I’ve come in just four months. Paul also told me he really liked the Gladiator stuff, and that that’s the best he’s seen me, and so it’s again gratifying that people are noticing improvement, especially when they’re kind enough to say so. After my crisis of confidence this week tonight was certainly the encouragement I need to keep going. Peaks and troughs. “This too shall pass.”
The drunk heckler prick, clearly thinking himself something of a wideboy, joined us post-gig, the gig having ended seconds before closing time.. He told Darren he didn’t like him, before starting an argument with Paul about the definition of the word “objective” (I think it stemmed from the fact that humour is subjective, and guess someone said as much to him). He liked me too, but I thanked him without managing to get involved. He told Mackie that he was “shite” and Mackie defused potential conflict by simply agreeing and saying he wouldn’t do that material next time. These could prove handy tactics to learn. Gauging the level of this guy’s inebriation, I leaned forward and said to Darren “I bet you could take your glasses off and he’d tell you he hated the guy with the specs.” This led to something so fundamentally beautiful that it wouldn’t look out of place in a Marx Brothers film. Darren walked past the guy and up the few stairs into the main bar. He removed his glasses, immediately stuck his head back into the room, and said “Make your way outside please, ladies and gentlemen.”
The drunk guy said “no bother”, and left straight away, passing Darren as Darren thanked him for coming. I’m so, so glad I saw that 😀
And that’s that – another night, another gig, another learning experience. Happy with how it went, happy with how it was received. Had an epiphany last night about a whole new act I want to do. I’d hoped it would come before the Gong Show last week, but instead it came while I was talking about that gig with Chris Henry. I outlined an idea, articulated it better than I have previously, and he seemed to think it might work. Then on the three-mile walk home I thought of a few angles I can take on it. I’ll try and make time this week to write it all down and expand on it.
No clue when the next gig is – in my last blog I said it’d be early May, and then I got this gig two days later. I’m hopeful that I’ll get more gigs with HaHa Comedy now Mr Anderson has seen what I can do, and might get some with Malky too when he starts his post-festival booking. Essentially, watch this space or check out my facebook or twitter for up-to-date announcements. Cheers y’all, see you soon 🙂